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The Saga of Sewage

When water damage strikes your basement, or any part of the home, you panic a little. But it isn’t too bad as long as it isn’t too deep.

But when sewage strikes, that’s an entirely different situation. Raw sewage can’t be as easily removed and cleaned as a typical water intrusion, such as from a storm or pipe that has broken.

The first order of business is to find out whose sewage it is. Did it come from your own home because it couldn’t drain properly? Is it a simple overflow from the toilet? Or is it from the sewer system backing up from the street?

There’s a big, big difference dealing with your own poo and the poo of all your neighbors.

The small jobs

As mentioned, sewage can occur from a simple toilet overflow. Those dirty jobs are easy to handle. Put on rubber gloves, preferably rubber boots, and other protective gear so there is no skin contact. A wet/dry vacuum is a handle tool for picking up raw sewage, since you are dealing with just one overflow and the amount is small. After removing the waste, use a powerful disinfectant on the floor to clean the last of it up. If you have carpet, that might need to be replaced.

The big jobs

Some sewage backups occur because of a failed sewer system, not just a simple overflow of a toilet.

A common issue with sewer issues is when your sewer line is attacked by tree roots. Over time, roots can work their way into the sewer line, as they search for water. The roots grow into the line, expanding and eventually plugging up the line completely. Then your normal household use of the plumbing system backs up into the home.

The worst type is a backflow from the public sewer system, where gallons — or even hundreds of gallons — of raw sewage from all types of sources can enter your home. There are various causes of this, but the bottom line is you now have contaminants that are very hazardous to your health.

When this happens, it’s time to protect yourself. Don’t attempt to go into the basement and clean it yourself, even if you have face masks and skin protection. The biological hazards are too great.

This is one of those times you must call a professional water damage company, one that specializes in sewage issues. After all, it pays to call a pro!