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How to Clean Up a Sewage Backup Safely

As a homeowner, one of the worst things that you may have to deal with is a sewage backup. There are warning signs, but if you missed them and you don’t get regular plumbing inspections, a sewage backup is an unpleasant surprise. This mess generated is bad enough, but there are also serious health consequences for anyone living in or near the home. In this article, we will show you how to deal with this situation safely and prevent it from ever occurring again.

12 Steps to Clean a Sewage Backup Safely

There are twelve important steps to take as soon as a sewage backup occurs; they are:

  1. Remove children, seniors, and pets from the home. They cannot return until the area is cleaned, repaired, and safe to use again.
  2. Ensure your own safety as you work by wearing protective clothing, such as rubber gloves, eye protection, a face mask, and rubber boots.
  3. If your distribution panel is still above the dirty water, switch off the power using a dry wooden stick and rubber gloves to avoid a nasty shock.
  4. Locate the shut-off valve and turn off the water supply to the home.
  5. Do not use any water in your home for drinking, washing, cooking, and bathing because it may be contaminated.
  6. Contact the utility companies and ask them to turn off the supply to your home if you cannot do this safely yourself.
  7. Open up all the doors and windows in the home to improve air ventilation and don’t run the HVAC system because it will spread contaminated air throughout the entire home.
  8. Remove any items from the home that are still dry and uncontaminated.
  9. Add small volumes of chlorine bleach to any areas with standing water to begin the disinfection process.
  10. Get in contact with your insurance company and let them know what happened. Take plenty of pictures of the damage caused as proof for the upcoming insurance claim.
  11. Don’t try to unclog the drains.
  12. Prepare to clean the sewage spill.

3 Key Things to Bear in Mind

Once a sewage backup has occurred, you need to keep your family safe, prevent more damage, and keep the insurance company informed. Here are three key things that you need to remember as you deal with this crisis:

  1. Keep any receipts of tools, materials, and professional help that you need to get the sewage backup under control. Along with the photos that you take, these will be needed when you make your insurance claim later.
  2. The affected areas must be isolated from the rest of the home wherever possible. Keep internal doors shut to prevent the spread of contaminated air to rooms in your home that may not be affected.
  3. It’s tempting to use store bought chemical cleaning products to clean your drains and pipes. This is a bad idea because these products contain harsh caustic chemicals that can cause further damage to your plumbing system. If you want to get your pipes clean again, contact a local certified plumber.

8 Ways to Clean and Sanitize Safely

As discussed earlier, you need to be wearing some protective equipment if you plan to tackle the cleaning without professional help. If you’re not sure about working in this way, it’s probably a better idea to seek help from a local plumber. They will have the skills, knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to handle the cleanup for you. Let’s take a closer look at eight ways to clean and sanitize the affected areas safely:

  1. You can use a pump or natural draining to get rid of the sewage and backed-up water in the area. It’s important to contact the authorities because you need to know where you can drain this material without creating a health hazard in your community.
  2. Once the sewage and water have been removed, you have a better view of the area. Now you can start to clean away the debris and dirt from any surfaces that came into contact with the sewage backup.
  3. All floors, walls, and hard surfaces need to be cleaned with hot water and a low-suds detergent. Using a low-suds detergent is necessary because you need to see where you are cleaning.
  4. All washed surfaces must be rinsed with warm water, and you may need to repeat this washing and rinsing process a few times.
  5. All surfaces must be sanitized with an appropriate solution.
  6. Open up all windows and doors in the affected area to air out the room and improve drying times.
  7. During the cleaning, don’t contaminate other rooms by walking around wearing dirty shoes that are contaminated.
  8. When the cleaning is finished, dispose of the protective gear and take a long hot shower.

5 Ways to Prevent the Sewage Backup

The old adage “Prevention is better than the cure” is true for many aspects of life, and anyone that has dealt with a sewage backup will recognize its importance. The best way to deal with a sewage backup is to ensure that it never happens again, and taking the right kind of action is essential. Let’s take a look at five ways that you can prevent a sewage backup in your home.

  1. Having a regular inspection of your plumbing system is a great way to ensure that everything is running correctly. A professional plumber can evaluate your plumbing and inform you if there are any minor repairs needed before they develop into larger problems that cost more to fix.
  2. Avoid placing chemical cleaning products in your drain and out into the sewage system. As we mentioned above, the caustic chemical can damage your plumbing pipes and drain lines.
  3. Avoid flushing any materials other than toilet paper in your toilets because they can cause drain clogs.
  4. Don’t pour grease in the kitchen drain because it can harden in the pipes and cause a drain clog.
  5. Don’t plant trees in your yard near the sewer line that runs under the surface. The roots seek out sources of water. They can intrude on your drain line and break the pipe open, causing a blockage and damage that’s expensive to fix.

If you’re worried about a future sewage backup in your home, contact a local certified plumber for expert help and advice today.

As a homeowner, one of the worst things that you may have to deal with is a sewage backup. There are warning signs, but if you missed them and you don’t get regular plumbing inspections, a sewage backup is an unpleasant surprise. This mess generated is bad enough, but there are also serious health consequences for anyone living in or near the home. In this article, we will show you how to deal with this situation safely and prevent it from ever occurring again.

12 Steps to Clean a Sewage Backup Safely

There are twelve important steps to take as soon as a sewage backup occurs; they are:

  1. Remove children, seniors, and pets from the home. They cannot return until the area is cleaned, repaired, and safe to use again.
  2. Ensure your own safety as you work by wearing protective clothing, such as rubber gloves, eye protection, a face mask, and rubber boots.
  3. If your distribution panel is still above the dirty water, switch off the power using a dry wooden stick and rubber gloves to avoid a nasty shock.
  4. Locate the shut-off valve and turn off the water supply to the home.
  5. Do not use any water in your home for drinking, washing, cooking, and bathing because it may be contaminated.
  6. Contact the utility companies and ask them to turn off the supply to your home if you cannot do this safely yourself.
  7. Open up all the doors and windows in the home to improve air ventilation and don’t run the HVAC system because it will spread contaminated air throughout the entire home.
  8. Remove any items from the home that are still dry and uncontaminated.
  9. Add small volumes of chlorine bleach to any areas with standing water to begin the disinfection process.
  10. Get in contact with your insurance company and let them know what happened. Take plenty of pictures of the damage caused as proof for the upcoming insurance claim.
  11. Don’t try to unclog the drains.
  12. Prepare to clean the sewage spill.

3 Key Things to Bear in Mind

Once a sewage backup has occurred, you need to keep your family safe, prevent more damage, and keep the insurance company informed. Here are three key things that you need to remember as you deal with this crisis:

  1. Keep any receipts of tools, materials, and professional help that you need to get the sewage backup under control. Along with the photos that you take, these will be needed when you make your insurance claim later.
  2. The affected areas must be isolated from the rest of the home wherever possible. Keep internal doors shut to prevent the spread of contaminated air to rooms in your home that may not be affected.
  3. It’s tempting to use store bought chemical cleaning products to clean your drains and pipes. This is a bad idea because these products contain harsh caustic chemicals that can cause further damage to your plumbing system. If you want to get your pipes clean again, contact a local certified plumber.

8 Ways to Clean and Sanitize Safely

As discussed earlier, you need to be wearing some protective equipment if you plan to tackle the cleaning without professional help. If you’re not sure about working in this way, it’s probably a better idea to seek help from a local plumber. They will have the skills, knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to handle the cleanup for you. Let’s take a closer look at eight ways to clean and sanitize the affected areas safely:

  1. You can use a pump or natural draining to get rid of the sewage and backed-up water in the area. It’s important to contact the authorities because you need to know where you can drain this material without creating a health hazard in your community.
  2. Once the sewage and water have been removed, you have a better view of the area. Now you can start to clean away the debris and dirt from any surfaces that came into contact with the sewage backup.
  3. All floors, walls, and hard surfaces need to be cleaned with hot water and a low-suds detergent. Using a low-suds detergent is necessary because you need to see where you are cleaning.
  4. All washed surfaces must be rinsed with warm water, and you may need to repeat this washing and rinsing process a few times.
  5. All surfaces must be sanitized with an appropriate solution.
  6. Open up all windows and doors in the affected area to air out the room and improve drying times.
  7. During the cleaning, don’t contaminate other rooms by walking around wearing dirty shoes that are contaminated.
  8. When the cleaning is finished, dispose of the protective gear and take a long hot shower.

5 Ways to Prevent the Sewage Backup

The old adage “Prevention is better than the cure” is true for many aspects of life, and anyone that has dealt with a sewage backup will recognize its importance. The best way to deal with a sewage backup is to ensure that it never happens again, and taking the right kind of action is essential. Let’s take a look at five ways that you can prevent a sewage backup in your home.

  1. Having a regular inspection of your plumbing system is a great way to ensure that everything is running correctly. A professional plumber can evaluate your plumbing and inform you if there are any minor repairs needed before they develop into larger problems that cost more to fix.
  2. Avoid placing chemical cleaning products in your drain and out into the sewage system. As we mentioned above, the caustic chemical can damage your plumbing pipes and drain lines.
  3. Avoid flushing any materials other than toilet paper in your toilets because they can cause drain clogs.
  4. Don’t pour grease in the kitchen drain because it can harden in the pipes and cause a drain clog.
  5. Don’t plant trees in your yard near the sewer line that runs under the surface. The roots seek out sources of water. They can intrude on your drain line and break the pipe open, causing a blockage and damage that’s expensive to fix.

If you’re worried about a future sewage backup in your home, contact a local certified plumber for expert help and advice today.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.