The danger of sewage backups
Water damage can come from a variety of sources. One place in your home water damage can come from is the sewage pipes. Sewage back-ups in your home can be as dangerous to your health as they are to the items and structure of your home. Sewage can contain a variety of disease causing pathogens and should only be handled by professionals.
Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups and how to handle the situation with caution:
- Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic - disease causing - fungi, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
- Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
- It is not safe to stay in a building that's flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
- Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper, or even fabrics that can; be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation, and several other structural materials too. There's simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
- Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a "third party" indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or "Clearance testing" to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.
Dealing with a sewer backup in your home? Give us a call! 616-647-4300