Sewer backup is a troublesome incident that causes a lot of hassle and disruption to daily life – it may not be as destructive as a fire or a tornado, but it presents a variety of health hazards and sanitation issues and may result in considerable property damage and serious personal injury. Sewage backup needs to be taken care of quickly and efficiently – in the event of a sewage spill in your home, you have to evacuate everyone, turn off the power and water supply to the building, and call a `plumber and a cleanup specialist to fix the problem.
What to Do After Sewage Backup
No matter if you intend to use professional sewage cleanup services or not, there are some important precautionary measures to take as soon as you notice the problem:
- Evacuate children, seniors, and pets and do not allow them in the affected area until it is restored to a safe condition;
- Contact the utility companies that service your area and have them shut off the electricity, gas, and water supply to your home. If the spill is small and there’s no danger to you, you can turn off the power and water supply yourself (only if the power distribution panel and main water valve are safely above water!) – just make sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment;
- Open windows to ventilate the area;
- Take any dry, uncontaminated items away;
- Add small amounts of chlorine bleach to standing water – this will ensure some disinfection and prevent bacteria from spreading;
- Notify your insurance company that there has been a sewage backup in your home and make sure you take several pictures of the spill, as well as the water damaged items and materials before the cleanup process begins.
Do not attempt to unclog drains at this point – the sewage water must be removed before the cause of the spill can be addressed.
When to Call for Professional Help
While professional sewage backup cleanup is always the best solution, it is absolutely necessary if:
- The spill is not confined to a single room of your home;
- The backup occurred more than 24 hours ago (or has been sitting for an unknown number of hours) – bacteria and viruses will have already spread by this point, posing severe threats to your health and making it very risky to deal with the sewage;
- The spill is caused by a sewer or septic tank backup;
- There’s any possibility that sewage water may have come in contact with your home’s air-conditioning system (in this case, professional duct cleaning will be required to ensure the good air quality in your home);
- You or a member of your family have health concerns that may be aggravated by the contaminants in the wastewater.
Keep in mind that the longer the contaminated water sits in your home, the greater the risk of disease and water damage.