Here at Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver, we want to share what you need to know about sewage backups just in case you have the misfortune of having it happen in your home. Sewage backups happen more often than you think. They can be highly inconvenient and even severely disruptive to your day-to-day routine.
Causes of Sewage Backups
There are three main reasons for sewage backups in both septic and sewer systems.
- Clogged line: One of the most common reasons for sewage backups is clogging somewhere along the line. If one sink, toilet, or tub is problematic, then usually the clog is related to the adjoining drain. If multiple drains seemed clogged or if every shower or flush is causing a problem, then this means you have a larger problem.
- Growing tree roots: Trees around your home look attractive, but trees too close to your sewage line can cause serious issues. The roots of trees can and often will grow through sewage lines. The roots can create holes, block the pipes, even crush them.
- Damaged lines: Sewage lines don’t last forever and in older homes, in particular, lines may crack, break, or collapse simply due to age. Often these pipes are cast iron, which degrades and rusts over time. Newer lines are made using plastic which seems to hold up better over time.
Preventing Sewer Backups
What you need to know about sewage backups is that prevention can help you avoid a large majority of potential problems. Here are a few helpful measures to follow:
- Regularly maintain and inspect your valves and pipes.
- Do not flush inappropriate waste down the toilet. Some inappropriate items include diapers, paper towels, napkins, and feminine hygiene items. Even those “flushable” wipes can be problematic, especially if you have older pipes.
- Plant trees far enough away from sewage lines to avoid problems. Relocate or remove existing trees if necessary.
- Ensure the sump pump in your basement is functioning properly.
- Install a backwater valve, if needed, on the lowest drainage line and ensure you can access the sewer cleanout easily.
Steps to Take During a Sewer Backup
In case of flooding caused by sewage backup, it is important to move quickly. You can save yourself trouble and limit damage, especially mold growth, by working through the following steps immediately.
- Stop using your water. This includes not flushing toilets or trying to drain anything.
- Keep your children and your pets away from the area.
- If it is safe to do so, shut off the power. If it is not safe, you will probably require professional assistance.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals. Enzymes are a safer method for clearing clogs.
- Be sure to wear protective clothing. This includes rubber boots, gloves, glasses, and a face mask.
- Open windows to provide ventilation.
- Use a sump pump to begin water removal.
- Call a professional, such as Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver.
Using a professional can help you stop further damage quickly and effectively. Additionally, professionals have experience and all the correct equipment needed. Using a professional service can actually save you money in these situations. Professionals can help with repairs, sanitization, and odor removal.
What you need to know about sewage backups and flooding is that if the problem is not addressed properly, it can be a serious health hazard. Sewage often contains bacteria and viruses that can be harmful. You can get sick if the area is not properly sanitized or if you consume contaminated food or water. Gloves are recommended for handling anything that has been exposed to sewage for your safety and protection.
Potential Fire Danger
If water has reached any electrical outlets, plugs, gas burning equipment, or extension cords, contact a professional immediately. The risk of a fire is actually very high.
If your electrical equipment is safely above water, turn off your power immediately. Doing this safely should be your primary concern. Wear rubber boots and stand on a dry area. Be sure not to touch anything made of metal and use a dry wooden stick to switch off the main.
Bottom line, what you need to know about sewage backups is that sewage water flooding can cause a devastating amount of damage. The longer your property is exposed to it, the worse it will get. If your insulation and flooring have been soaked in sewage water, they will need to be replaced. Mattresses, along with personal items, will no longer be usable if the sewage backup has damaged them. Items that can be salvaged will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Professional Clean up
We highly recommend using a professional for sewage cleanup services, particularly if a sizeable amount of your property was involved. We recommend this because a professional will help you determine how best to clean, depending on the surfaces involved. We can also recognize when the damage is not apparent on the surface and whether you will need to consider mold remediation in addition to repair.
After the sewage water has been removed you should take the following cleaning steps if you choose not to hire a professional:
- Be sure to work from the top down for any area.
- Be sure to wear protective gear, depending on the level of damage.
- Clean all floors as quickly as possible. Floors that have been penetrated must be replaced to avoid health hazards.
- Sewage soaked items will likely need to be discarded unless they can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. In many cases, such items are not really salvageable.
- Carpeting that is soaked will also need to be discarded.
- Remove any wet insulation and drywall.
- All surfaces should be sanitized using a bleach solution and you may need to repeat the process more than once.
Because the cleaning process can be intense and slow going without the appropriate tools and know how, you may want to consider a professional company. Knowing what you need to know about sewage backups, call us here at Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver if you have a sewage backup problem.