A sewage backup in the house can cause a lot of damage to your belongings and your property. Aside from the financial damage, your health is at risk too. Raw sewage includes a number of bacteria and viruses that can cause a wide range of diseases, such as hepatitis, meningitis, typhoid fever, bacillary dysentery, and many others. The way you can contract those is by ingesting food that has come in contact with the sewage, for example when you wash your fruits and veggies, or simply by touching the infectious water.
The sewage backup occurs when the wastewater does not drain away from your home, usually because of an obstruction or damage to the sewer lines. As the drain pipes and sewer lines fill up, the wastewater eventually ends up back in your house. The usual culprit is a clog in either your sewer lines of the city sewers.
Sewage backup in shower
The toilet and the shower drain systems are connected. This means that if there is a problem with that connection, both systems are affected. When there is an obstruction in the sewer line, the wastewater from your toilet can back up in your shower.
While you wait for the plumber and the water damage restoration company, here is what you need to do:
Shut down the main water supply. You do not want the water to rise in the shower drain, flooding your bathroom.
If you have a drain snake around, you can try unclogging the line. Unscrew the drain cover in your shower and push the drain snake into the pipe below. Spin clockwise when inserting it and counterclockwise when pulling it out. This will clear the initial cause of the clog.
Sewage backup in basement
Heavy rain or a pipe break can cause a major flood in your basement. While that is horrible, when there is sewage water involved, the damage is even greater. The contaminated water destroys your belongings and property a lot faster and puts your health in danger due to all the bacteria and viruses it contains.
It is highly important to get your basement properly dried and disinfected to prevent further damage. While you can try and mop the water, the contaminants will still be there, posing a great risk to your family’s health. This is why it is important to have the sewage backup handled by a professional restoration company.
While you wait for the water damage experts to come, you can start with these actions:
First steps after a Sewage Backup in Basement
- Shut off the main water supply. In case the sewage water is covering the valve, leave it alone.
- Wear protection equipment or, better yet, avoid touching the contaminated water altogether.
- Turn off the electricity. You need to avoid any other health hazards, so safely turn off the electricity and unplug the appliances you have access to without touching the water.
- Open the windows to let the intoxicating odors out.
- Do not use any other water appliances, such as faucets, the shower, the washing machine, etc. This will put even more pressure on the pipes and cause further damage.
How to prevent sewage backup in house
- Be careful what you flush
The kitchen drain, toilet or even shower drain can easily get clogged when you dispose of the wrong things. Only flush toilet paper, water, and human waste down your toilet. As for your kitchen sink, do not dispose of food waste, fat or hair. In time, they build up residue and clog your drain, causing a sewage backup.
- Replace Cracked Sewer Pipes
It is best to inspect your sewer lines every six or ten years to make sure there are no cracks or clogs. Most sewer pipes are made of cast iron, clay, PVC or Orangeburg. They are all durable materials but do deteriorate with age. Of course, if there is any broken pipe, you should replace it immediately. Otherwise, just have them examined once every 6 to 10 years.
- Do not connect your gutters, downspouts and sump pumps to the sanitary sewer line
Sanitary sewers will not hold the high volume of water from gutters, sump pumps or downspouts during heavy rain or snow melts. This will only increase the chances of a sewage backup, as the wastewater cannot flow through the sanitary sewer properly. If you cannot connect your gutters to the main sewer line, have them discharge the water at least six feet away from the foundation of your house, above the ground.
- Clear the sewer lines
Some municipal water departments offer this service for free, as it is the main factor in preventing sewage backup. You should have your sewer lines cleared every three to five years to remove any solids from the line.
Sewage backup Health Risks
It is crucial that you understand the health risks of raw sewage water. The contaminated wastewater is full of pathogens that cause very serious diseases, such as hepatitis, diarrhea, respiratory infections or dysentery, amongst others. You can get these diseases by using anything that has been in contact with the sewage water. Even touching the infected items will cause skin irritation.
Who Do I Call For a Sewage Backup in house?
A sewage backup is a type of water damage. Unlike the usual flood, it is imperative that this health hazard is handled by professionals. Even if you dry the basement, bathroom or kitchen, there is still the matter of contaminated areas. A water damage restoration company will not only properly dry your property to avoid mold growth but will disinfect and sanitize your home.
Sewage backup in New York
iFlooded Restoration is licensed to handle any type of water damage. We use professional drying equipment to make sure you do not have mold problems in the future. We work directly with the insurance company, so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. With more than 30 years of experience in the restoration industry, our team is available 24/7 for any type of water damage, serving all 5 boroughs of New York, Long Island, and Westchester.