Sewage Backup Cleanup: When To Call The Pros

Sewage Backup Cleanup: When To Call The Pros

Ever noticed a floor drain installed in some random corner of the basement? It’s not random. That drain serves an essential purpose: it helps unwanted water drain out of the home. Basements tend to flood, after all. But this little floor drain and the rest of the home’s plumbing can become hazardous to the occupants and belongings. How? Sewage backup.

What Is Sewage Backup?

A sewage backup is a hazardous phenomenon that occurs when a sewer’s contents flow backward into the home. Home insurance does not generally cover sewage backups. Most plans won’t cover sewage backflow or another flooding event without a special rider attached to the plan. Sewer lines connecting the home to the sewer main are the direct responsibility of homeowners. This little-known fact causes quite a few headaches annually: most homeowners are unaware of their sewer maintenance obligations, and most people assume that home insurance protects against flooding automatically. 

How Does Sewage Backup Happen?

Sewage backups aren’t typically spontaneous events. Usually, several factors join together and create the perfect storm for sewage backup. 

Sewer Main Problems

When the sewer main that is controlled and maintained by the city experiences problems, often the surrounding home sewer lines do too. Clogged and overrun sewer mains cannot handle additional home-produced loads, resulting in backflow to the lowest point in the house: the basement. 

Increased Groundwater

Sewer backups are more likely to occur after heavy rains or the melting of large amounts of snow. Anytime there are copious amounts of groundwater (think puddles and mud), or during a period of flash flooding, the risk of sewage backup increases. 

Damaged or Clogged Pipes

Damaged sewage pipes and home plumbing pipes can also increase the risk of sewage backup. When lines are damaged, they are prone to clogging and leaking, depending on where the damage is. Sewage can seep out of damaged pipes or become stuck inside a clogged sewer line. Grease, tree roots, trash, and solid waste are common causes of clogs that contribute to sewer backup. 

What To Do When Sewers Back Up?

When sewers back up, the first and most important thing to do is call a professional water restoration company like Central Coast Casualty Restoration, Inc. (CCCR Inc.). Once you know a water restoration specialist is on their way to the house, follow these steps and advice:

  1. Do NOT attempt to clean up sewage. Wait for the professionals to arrive.
  2. Before touching anything to do with the sewer, plumbing, or electrical, call your insurance company. They may not cover the flood damages, but they should start the claim process for any damaged belongings and provide advice on the next steps.
  3. Call the city or municipality managing the public sewer and notify them of the flood.
  4. Shut off electricity to the area. If the flooding reaches any outlets, live electrical outlets pose a risk for electrocution.
  5. Shut off the waterline to the home. This helps prevent any additional water from adding to the current flood situation.
  6. Stop using the sinks and toilets for the time being. Again, the use of plumbing will only make matters worse until the professionals arrive.
  7. Avoid going into the affected area. Sewage poses a health hazard to anyone working in it. If you have to go through the affected area, wear rubber gloves, waterproof boots, a face mask, and respirator.
  8. Evacuate the home if possible until the professionals arrive.


Why Is Sewage Backup NOT A DIY Job?

Sewage backup may seem like an easy clean-up with some bleach and a mop, but the reality is that only a professional water restoration company like CCCR should handle its removal. Why? Because sewage, or blackwater, is hazardous. Human waste, chemicals, bacteria, and other toxic or dangerous materials make their way down the sewer drain. When introduced to the home, they can cause health problems. Additionally, most of the materials in sewage require specific chemicals to remove pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. Bleach does not always cut it. 

Aside from the health hazards involved with the sewage, the job itself is laborious and hazardous. Sewage backup may increase the risk of electrocution and often requires special protective gear to keep the restoration experts safe from sewage materials and electrical injury. 

Additionally, improper cleanup and DIY jobs result in more long-term risks for the home. Professionals use a variety of high-tech equipment to kill bacteria and pathogens in the air and on surfaces, use air movers to dry out space, and utilize shop vacuums and other equipment to remove any sewage from the house. Not cleaning or drying out an affected area correctly allows bacteria, pathogens, and mold to thrive in that space, resulting in another severe problem that will need addressing later on. 

On a final note, working with a professional water restoration company ensures the safety and health of the home and makes prevention easier in the future. Why? Because a water restoration specialist can work with your local plumbing experts to identify the cause of the sewage backup and fix it so that it doesn’t happen again. 

Don’t take unnecessary risks with sewage backflow; let the experts at Central Coast Casualty Restoration, Inc. take care of it for you. We’re here to help 24/7 every day of the year. Our licensed and certified experts have the training to handle any water damage situation that comes their way. We’ll work with your insurance to make the entire experience as stress-free as possible for you. Give us a call today!


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