Flooding From Sewage Backup Can Damage Your Home & Your Health

4 May 2016
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Flooding from sewage (wastewater) backup can cause a great deal of damage to your home and its contents as well as pose a health risk. It contains bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, many of which are disease causing, so when it enters your home, it can be an extremely dangerous substance. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the hazards that sewage can present, especially for the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems.

What Causes Sewer Backup?

Wastewater comes from your washing machine, shower, dishwasher, toilet, and sinks. There are primarily three causes for sewage backups:

  • A clog. If you notice that water is backing up in only one location, such as the sink or toilet, it may just be a clog in the drain. But, if there is a backup of sewage each time you flush, it is most likely due to a clogged sewer line.
  • Tree roots. One of the most common causes of sewer backups is tree roots. Even if you do not have any trees near the main sewer line, the roots from your neighbor's yards can find their way into the sewer and cause a backup in your home.
  • Broken, cracked or collapsed sewer lines. if you live in an older home, the sewer backup may be caused by collapsed or cracked lines. Older homes were often built using clay and/or cast iron piping that may break down over time and cause sewer problems.

Dangers of Sewage Backup

One of the most important reasons to hire a professional flood damage repair and  restoration company to clean up water damage caused by sewage backup is the risk of illness from the bacteria, viruses and parasites found in wastewater. Companies that specialize in flood damage repair have been trained to wear appropriate and protective clothing and to correctly remove the wastewater. Some of the most common illnesses associated with handling wastewater include:

  • Viruses. Viruses such as rotavirus, Norwalk virus, and adenovirus can cause gastroenteritis, which is commonly mistaken for the stomach flu. Hepatitis A may also be found in raw sewage that is caused by flood damage. The poliomyelitis virus is also a risk, which can cause temporary or permanent paralysis if left untreated.
  • Bacteria. One of the most common forms of bacteria is E. coli, which can cause kidney failure or even death, if it is not properly addressed upon the initial infection. Salmonella is also a common form of bacteria found in sewage water.
  • Parasites. There are several parasites that can infect raw sewage, including cryptosporidium parvum and giardia intestinalis, which cause cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis, the two most common water borne diseases in the United States.

Mold is another problem that can be the result of wastewater backup. Mold can begin to grow in about 48 hours after the area was contaminated by the dirty water, which can lead to additional problems. For the health and safety of your family, flooding from raw sewage backup should be cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible after the event. Contact a flood damage repair company like All Care for more information.