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Is it safe to stay in a house with sewage backup?

May 24, 2024

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Is it safe to stay in a house with sewage backup?

Waking up to a house full of sewage is a nightmare no one wants. But in over 18 years, experts have learned that acting fast is key. Sewage backups bring in dangerous bacteria, viruses, and waste. This poses a big risk to your health. It can cause problems like stomach bugs, skin issues, trouble breathing, and allergies.

If your house is not safe because of sewage, get out right away. Call professionals for cleaning up. This is very important to protect your health. Water with bacteria can be very unsafe, especially for kids, older people, and those with weak immune systems. Remember, the water might be dangerous even after a flood. Also, remember to turn off electricity and stay away from the sewage to avoid getting shocked.

All-Clean USA is there for you in emergencies. They offer help 24/7 and can be at your place within 60 minutes. With their tools and knowledge, they make sure your house is safe again. They are experts in handling sewage and water damage. Their goal is to make your home healthy and livable.

Key Takeaways

  • Sewage backup introduces harmful bacteria, viruses, and waste into your home, posing severe health risks.
  • Immediate professional cleanup is essential for home safety sewage to mitigate health hazards.
  • Vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of infections from sewage contamination exposure.
  • To prevent electrocution and further hazards, turn off electrical power and avoid contact with contaminated water.

What Is Sewage Backup?

A sewage backup happens when wastewater can’t go where it should. Instead, it flows back into the home through drains, sinks, and toilets. This can occur when there’s a problem with the home’s wastewater system, sewer lines, or septic system. It’s not only gross but also very dangerous for those living in the house.

Definition and Mechanism

Imagine wastewater starting to flow the wrong way due to something blocking its correct path. This can be due to various issues like stuff that shouldn’t have been flushed down, a lot of rain, or broken equipment. All these can cause a sudden flood of dangerous water into the living spaces of a home.

Blockages usually come from people flushing down the wrong things, like grease and sanitary items. When there’s too much rain, sewers can fill up and overflow. And, if the pumps that are supposed to manage waste stop working, it’s a recipe for disaster. Buildings and homes can face serious damage and health risks if not fixed quickly.

Causes of Sewage Backup

Several things can lead to sewage ending up where it shouldn’t be:

  1. Blockages: Items like grease, hair, and sanitary products obstruct pipes, leading to a sewer system backup.
  2. Heavy Rainfall: Excessive rain can overwhelm outdated systems, especially those with pipes laid in the early to mid-1900s that are nearing the end of their 75 to 100-year lifespan.
  3. Tree Root Infiltration: Roots may grow into sewer lines, causing clogs and breaks.
  4. Septic System Issues: Poor maintenance can lead to effluent pump failures.

To reduce your chances of a sewage backup, get your sewer and septic systems checked regularly. The American Society of Civil Engineers believes that our wastewater systems are not in very good shape, giving them a D+. So, we really need to work on making them better.

The Health Risks Associated with Sewage Backup

Being near sewage backup is very risky for your health. The waste carries many dangerous things like bacteria and viruses. It also releases harmful gases. These dangers mean it’s important to act fast to keep people safe.

Bacteria and Viruses

Sewage backup carries a lot of bacteria and viruses. For example, E. Coli that’s in sewage can make you very sick. It causes major problems like diarrhea, pneumonia, and in the worst cases, death. Then there’s Salmonella, which can cause a disease called salmonellosis. If not treated, it can be deadly. Being around sewage also increases your chance of getting viral hepatitis, a life-threatening disease. Plus, there are other bugs in there like Acanthamoeba that cause bad infections. Getting diagnosed early can make a huge difference in getting better.

Skin Infections

Exposure to sewage can cause problems on your skin too. It can lead to things like irritations, infections, rashes, and more. Even your eyes and ears can get infected. Symptoms might include redness, pain, and itching. If you come into contact with sewage, you could develop serious skin issues. It’s crucial to avoid touching sewage to prevent these troubles.

Respiratory Issues

Breathing in sewage vapors is risky. Some of the gases, like hydrogen sulfide, can hurt your lungs. They might even harm your brain. And don’t forget about carbon monoxide – it’s dangerous. It causes headaches and dizziness and can be fatal. If you’re breathing in these harmful fumes, you might cough, wheeze, or have a hard time breathing. People with asthma need to be extra careful. These respiratory problems show why we must deal with sewage issues as soon as they come up.

Common Symptoms of Sewage Backup

Sewage backups are bad for both your place and health. Knowing early signs of sewer backup helps stop big damage and health risks fast. Here are some key sewage backup signs to keep an eye on:

Water Backup in Other Drains

A main sign is seeing water back up in drains or fixtures not in use. For instance, the sink’s water might flow into the bathtub. This shows a likely blockage in the sewer line.

Foul Smells

Bad smells from drains mean sewage problems. These odors hint that waste isn’t leaving as it should. This can expose you to dangerous germs like E. Coli and Salmonella. They can make you very sick.

Slow or Still Water Around Drains

If water drains slowly or stands around sinks, it could be a sewer issue. This happens when the sewer line is blocked. The water may be dirty and carry harmful bacteria, posing health risks.

Finding these signs early and getting help is crucial. It stops more damage and health threats. If not fixed quickly, problems could grow. You might face big repairs and danger from gases in sewage, like hydrogen sulfide.

Immediate Steps to Take During a Sewage Backup

If there’s a sewage backup, acting fast is key to keeping everyone safe and reducing damage. These backups are dangerous because they’re filled with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxic chemicals.

Evacuate and Avoid Contact

The first thing you should do is leave the affected area. It’s risky to touch or be near this water. You could get sick from diseases like E. coli, Salmonella, and Hepatitis A. Leaving right away helps dodge these dangers and avoids breathing in toxic vapors.

Shut Off Utilities

Turning off the electricity and gas in the area is important. Water in the sewage might conduct electricity and lead to a shock. Doing this also cuts down on hazards and lowers the chances of fire or explosion.

Call Professional Cleanup Services

Getting professionals to handle sewage backups is a must. Hiring pros not only thoroughly cleans the area but also helps with insurance claims.

Following these steps of getting out, stopping utilities, and getting help from experts means you are doing all you can to deal with a sewage backup. This way, you protect yourself and your home.

Is it Safe to Stay in a House with Sewage Backup?

Sewage backup is a serious issue that puts the health and safety of residents at great risk. It brings with it harmful contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and toxic chemicals. This can result in various health problems such as stomach illnesses, skin issues, and breathing difficulties. Diseases from E. coli and other germs can even be deadly.

If you find sewage in your home, it’s best to leave immediately. This is important not just because of health dangers but also to protect your home. The dirty water can damage your house’s foundation and encourage mold. Mold can make breathing problems and allergies worse. Also, having water and sewage around raises the chance of getting shocked by electricity.

After leaving a sewage-filled place, the cleaning up is tough but necessary. Experts use special equipment to remove sewage and water. They then sanitize everything, dry it thoroughly, and fix anything that got damaged.

Long-term Effects of Exposure to Sewage Backup

Exposure to sewage backup’s long-term risk involves health and property. Inhaling gases and touching sewage water can harm you. It can cause serious and long-lasting health problems like respiratory issues and skin infections.

Chronic Health Issues

Inhaling sewage gases is risky. They contain things like hydrogen sulfide and can cause respiratory problems. It’s crucial to get medical help right away if you feel sick after being near sewage.

Acanthamoeba infections are rare but very dangerous. They might not be found early, which could be deadly. Dangerous bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella are a big threat to seniors and young kids. Immediately seek help if you have symptoms like nausea or diarrhea after sewage contact.

Structural Damage to the Home

Sewage staying in a house for too long can damage its structure. Sewage water is very dirty and can ruin the home’s materials quickly. This leads to mold and rot. These issues make the house less livable and need costly fixes.

The damage can go deep, affecting the house’s value. Repairing the home’s structure is expensive and may require a large investment. It’s important to fix sewage issues fast to avoid these problems.

Getting professional cleanup help right away is key. They know how to properly clean and fix sewage damage. Also, take steps like installing backwater valves to prevent future problems.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Sewage Backup

The amount of backed-up sewers is climbing about 3 percent every year. So, it’s vital to take steps to prevent sewage backup. Homeowners can lower the chance of this happening by following a few important steps.

Install a Backwater Valve

Installing a backwater valve is a key step in avoiding sewage backup. This valve stops sewage from returning to your home when it rains a lot or if there’s a problem with the system.

Regular Pipe Maintenance

There are over half a million miles of sewer lines in the nation, and they’re usually more than thirty years old. So, it’s critical to keep the pipes maintained. Homeowners should have their plumbing checked every year. This helps ensure pipes are taken care of properly and lets you quickly deal with any problems like blockages or damages.

Often, tree roots cause sewer line cracks and issues with service pipe joints. This makes it vital to regularly check these pipes.

Proper Disposal Practices

Having the right disposal practices is very important. Homeowners need to be careful about what they flush or throw away. Certain things lead to big clogs. For instance, fat, oil, and grease (FOG) clogs are very common. Also, avoid flushing paper towels, disposable diapers, and certain feminine products.

Educating your family about the correct ways to dispose of things is key. This education helps a lot in preventing sewage backups.

By taking these steps, homeowners can protect their homes from the problems and dangers of sewage backups. Preventing sewage issues is not only about saving your house. It’s also about keeping your family safe and healthy.


It’s smart to call in pros like AOA Cleaning & Restoration in this situation. They clean up everything, making your house safe to live in again. Although their service can cost from $500 to $2000, it’s worth it. Quick clean-up stops more damage and keeps you healthier. Call AOA Cleaning & Restoration today at (201) 848-8600 for professional sewage backup services.

To avoid this happening, handle sewage carefully, check your place often, and maybe put in backwater valves. These steps help lessen the chances of sewage backup, especially in heavy rains. Early actions prevent big problems later, keeping you and your home safe.”

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