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The Risks of DIY Sewage Cleanup

Know the risks before you attempt any sewage cleanup yourself.

Know the risks before you attempt any sewage cleanup yourself.

Sewage backups often result in a big stinky mess. But before you fetch your plunger, bucket, and mop, make sure you know the risks involved.

Sewage often carries contaminants and even viruses that can make you, your family members, and your pets sick. The best way to mitigate the damage from a sewage backup is to call your local property restoration company to manage any sewage cleanup properly.


What are some of the causes of sewage backups?

Sewage backups can occur in basements, through floor drains, or from toilets overflowing. A sewage backup can commonly occur due to:

  • Clogged or burst drain pipe
  • Heavy rainfall or flooding
  • Damaged sewer line from tree roots or other obstruction
  • Main sewer line backups
  • Aging sewer systems


What happens when sewage seeps into a building?

While some sewage overflows are pretty noticeable and can occur suddenly. Other signs that you have a sewage problem are if you detect:

  • Puddles of gray or black water near drains or pipes
  • Sewer gas smell, best described as rotten eggs
  • Toilets, bath, or sinks that are slow to drain
  • Excessive mould growth on walls, ceilings
  • Wastewater puddles in your yard if you are on a septic system
  • Persistent rodent and insect infestations


What are the risks of raw sewage?

Besides the damage that sewage backups can cause to your home, there are also significant health risks due to harmful microorganisms in wastewater and raw sewage. Risks include:

  • Pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, mycobacterium, and Giardia Lamblia
  • Viruses such as rotavirus, papillomavirus, Hepatitis A, norovirus
  • Protozoa such as such as ciliates, flagellates, and amoebae, or even small metazoa


What should you do if you have a sewage backup?

It is essential to protect your family from harm by following these steps when a sewage backup occurs:

  • Avoid any direct contact with the contaminated area.
  • Evacuate the area immediately.
  • If possible, turn off the water supply and electrical power to the affected area.
  • Do not attempt sewage cleanup yourself. Instead, contact a property restoration company to handle all sewer damage and cleanup.


Learn more by reading How to Handle a Sewage Backup on a Commercial Property.


Proserve DKI’s professional biohazard cleanup team has the protective equipment and knowledge to remove all contaminants and repair damage with thorough sewer cleanup in Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo. Contact us at 1-780-791-3663 for 24/7, 365-day emergency disaster relief.