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Sewage Backup

Common Questions About Sewage Backup

Written by Professional Restoration on July 03, 2019. Posted in Sewer Backup.

Sewage backup is no easy task to deal with, and it’s more common than you think. A backup occurs when sewer water overflows from the drains in your home, like the sink, toilet, shower, and tub.

When dealing with sewer backup, it’s important to take the necessary steps to handle the mess to ensure that your personal items and space are properly sanitized; failure to do so can lead to greater damage and health hazards in the future.

Below are some commonly asked questions about sewage backup, plus, solutions to ensure your family’s safety.

What Causes Sewer Backup?

Various factors can contribute to sewage backup, but the most common cause is a clog in your sewer line, which typically occurs when solid material builds up over time.

The Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool lists some common causes of clogs or sewer failure:

Can My Family Safely Inhabit the House After a Sewer Backup?

It’s definitely not safe for your family to stay inside your home after a sewer backup. The contaminated water is considered hazardous to your health, as it may contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.

It’s important to ensure that your home is as sanitary as possible before re-inhabiting it. In many cases, property owners are not equipped to handle effective cleanup and professional mitigation and sanitation may be required.

What Hazards Are Commonly Caused by Sewer Backups?

Sewer backups can lead to hazards other than damage to your home, property, and possessions. If the area affected by the sewer backup goes untreated, it can lead to the spread of disease-causing organisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

It’s important to avoid contact with the sewer water and anything it has been in contact with. The contaminants found in sewer water can cause painful irritations and rashes when they come in contact with the skin.

Ingesting contaminants can lead to nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and even hepatitis A. Inhaling airborne microorganisms can cause respiratory infections and allergic reactions as well.

Can I Clean Up The Mess Myself?

Although property owners are responsible for dealing with the aftermath of a sewer backup, you should only clean up the mess yourself if you’re knowledgeable of how to clean and sanitize effectively.

If your home has only experienced minor damage and you’re able to clean the area on your own, it’s recommended to take precautions by wearing rubber boots, protective gloves, goggles, and a facemask to minimize your contact with contaminants.

If your home has experienced major sewer backup (or if the water has been in contact with any electrical outlets), we recommend consulting an experienced professional before you begin cleaning up the mess—water is highly conductive of electricity.

Can I Use Bleach to Clean it Up?

It’s not a good idea to clean up the mess yourself if you’re not an experienced professional or without at least consulting with a professional first.

Bleach also isn’t a good solution for extensive cleanup because it does a poor job of eliminating the contamination left by standing sewer water. Although bleach is a common household disinfectant, sewer backup is much more harmful than common household messes and should be cleaned up with stronger disinfectants.

How Do I Know If Everything has been Appropriately Sanitized?

After the sewage backup has been cleaned up and you’re able to reenter the property, you can go through your space and assess what still needs to be cleaned (e.g., personal belongings, furniture, and surfaces). Some cleaning can be performed on your own; for everything else, Professional Restoration can handle it.

If, for example, you want to appropriately sanitize the surfaces of your home affected by sewage backup, mix one quarter cup of bleach with one gallon of water and use this solution to clean all hard surfaces. Leave it on for at least one minute, and rinse the area with soapy water.

For carpets and fabrics that weren’t damaged or touched by the waste water, you can sanitize them with Lysol or another less abrasive ammonia product, rinse clean with soapy water, and repeat as needed.

Can I Keep Any Household Items After Sewage Backup?

With the exception of hard-surface items that can be properly cleaned and restore, you shouldn’t keep anything that came in contact with the sewer water. These items could have absorbed hazardous waste materials.

Sewer water is highly hazardous, so you wouldn’t want to risk you or your family’s health, no matter how badly you want to keep a personal item.

Is Sewer Backup Covered by Insurance?

In some cases, property owners are responsible for a sewage backup bill. That’s why it’s important to purchase homeowners insurance, and make sure sewer backups are covered in your policy, as it can provide thousands of dollars in coverage.

If you’re renting a home, be sure to discuss any issues with your landlord and/or property manager. Property owners are typically liable for this type of damage, but renter’s insurance may provide additional coverage as well.

Sewer backup can be stressful to deal with on your own, so it’s important to stay informed on all the necessary precautions needed to handle the situation.

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Professional Restoration specializes in supplying Denver, CO clients with exceptional care and dependable restoration practices. Our decades of experience have enabled us to tend to a wide variety of projects with the knowledge and expertise our clients deserve. Our services include a wide range of restorative work, from water and fire damage to mold remediation, sewage maintenance, and structural repair. When the time comes to invest in a high-quality restoration company, look to Professional Restoration to supply you with skilled staff members, reliable techniques, and courteous customer service.

Call Professional Restoration Today!

The Professional Restoration team’s specialty is in offering complete, in-house restoration services to address any type of property damage. Through our decades of experience, we are able to help with everything from the restoration of water or fire damage, to mold removal, and reconstruction services.

We understand that living and working through the restoration process with a remediation and water restoration company can be an incredible headache. That’s why the team at Professional Restoration will be at your side every step of the way, including dealing with your insurance company to ensure the process is manageable and equitable for you. Our staff has decades of experience navigating the intricacies of insurance claims and we’re prepared to put our expertise to work for you. When you’re ready to look for a commercial restoration company, consider Professional Restoration for our reliable processes, certified staff members, and superior customer service practices.