Cleaning Up After a Sewage Backup: What You Need to Know

Sewage backups are unforeseen incidents no homeowner wishes to experience. It happens when an obstacle in the sewer line or damage to your draining system prevents wastewater from getting to the septic tank or the municipal sewer system.

Even though a sewage backup may not be as bad as a storm or a fire, it still poses serious health and sanitation risks and can cause a lot of damage to your property. In the event of a sewage spill, neglecting the situation due to its disgusting nature will do more harm.

The longer you leave the sewage water in place, the greater the risk of significant structural damage. This blog will walk you through the practical steps and processes when a sewer backup occurs.


Sewage Backup Cleanup Process

Below are the complete process in addressing sewage backup;

Step #1: Turn off the Gas and Electricity Supply

Safety is essential when undertaking any DIY task, and sewage cleanup is no exception. Ensure you switch off the gas and power supplies to the affected areas. If you don’t know how to go about it, have a professional electrician assist you.

This step is critical, especially if the sewer backup occurred in a confined space or your basement. Appliances exposed to sewage water in affected areas may put you at risk of electrocution. Therefore, switch off the power supply before you begin cleaning.

Remember to close doors between contaminated areas and the rest of your home to keep the damage from spreading and stop airborne contaminants from getting into other parts of your home.


Step #2: Remove the Water

Water removal is the best way to start sewage cleanup. The water level will determine whether you need a wet or dry vacuum or a sump pump. Sump pumps are best if you have a significant quantity of standing water in your home.

Before you begin, clear out everything affected by the sewage spill. Remove all possible obstacles and other movable items from the contaminated areas for an effective cleanup. If the affected area is small, you might be able to DIY it.

Otherwise, consider hiring sewage cleanup and restoration professionals to remove the contaminated water and make your home safe and livable again.


Step #3: Clear Out the Sludge

After removing the sewage water, you’ll have to deal with the residue on your floors. Use a garden hose to execute this stage. After blasting, use a wet vacuum or sump pump to extract the excess water. Perhaps you don’t have a garden hose; use a push broom to move the sludge, debris, and other solids on the floor.

Shovel the sludge into plastic bags and dispose of them immediately. Keep in mind that you must sanitize surfaces contaminated by sewer water. Consider bagging salvageable items and storing them for sanitization.


Step #4: Scrub and Rinse Surfaces

Prepare a bucket of cleaning solution to wash the walls, floors, and other surfaces contaminated by sewage water. Have another bucket containing clear water on the side to rinse surfaces after. Add chlorine bleach to the cleaning solution for better results; add a cup of bleach to every gallon of water for effectiveness.

Start with the walls and work your way up. Consider starting with the walls farthest from the door to cover more area quickly. After doing the walls, use the same cleaning solution on the floors, and lastly, use a wet vacuum to remove the water from rinsing the walls before doing the floors.


Step #5: Dry Out the Area

With sewage spills come unpleasant odors. It’s essential to dry out the contaminated area after a thorough cleaning. If you live in a humid area or had a sewage backup when it was humid, drying out is very important because mold grows in damp places.

Open all the windows and doors to allow air circulation and exchange. Use humidifiers, fans, or your air conditioner to speed up the drying process and keep the humidity at the right level.

Pro tips:

  1. Put on protective clothing as you go about sewage cleanup.
  2. Avoid skin contact with raw sewage, particularly if you have an open wound.
  3. Bandage any sore or wounds and wash up contaminated body parts with antibacterial soaps.


Step #6: Sanitize the Affected Area

Sanitization and disinfection help kill and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Disinfect and sanitize walls, floors, and other surfaces affected by sewage backup. Now would also be a good time to sanitize the personal items you stashed while handling water removal.

After completing this stage, head to the shower for a hot bath using an antibacterial soap to wash your body thoroughly; don’t forget your nails.


What Are the Causes of Sewer Backups 


Clogged Sewer Lines

Homeowners often pay less attention to their drain pipes, with most treating them like alternative garbage disposal options. Flushing plastic and other solid waste down your drains is a recipe for disaster. Plastic wrappers can clog or slowly slow down your sewer lines, which can cause sewage to back up.


Old or Damaged Sewer Lines 

Sewer pipes are often made of clay, cast iron, wood pulp fibers, or PVC, and these materials have a life expectancy. No matter how durable a sewer line’s material is, it can’t last forever. If your sewer line is damaged or getting close to the end of its useful life, you may have a sewer backup.


Tree Roots

Tree roots are one of the culprits in sewer damage. As trees grow, their roots extend in search of water. Roots growing in the direction of sewer lines can cause significant damage to your drain pipes.


Let Environmental Control South Colorado Assist You With Our Sewage Cleanup!

Sewer backups can be disgusting, and most homeowners shy away from the cleanup, but we don’t. Environment Control South Colorado offers specialized services in Colorado Springs to clean up, fix, and restore damage caused by sewer backups.

Our team of restoration experts is well-equipped with the latest techniques and knowledge for addressing sewer problems. We are also available 24/7 for any emergencies! Give us a call today or visit us online for more information and a free quote!

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