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One of the most unpleasant sights for Utah homeowners is the backup of a drain or a toilet. Besides the bad odor, sewage backup can pose significant risks to your health and your property – plus your business if you operate from a home office. So, when it happens, you must act fast and clean up as quickly as possible. Efficient cleaning starts with understanding the reasons behind sewage backup, so let’s start from there.

Common Reasons for Sewage Backups

Home sewage backups can occur due to one of the following reasons:

  • Clogged drains

Homeowners often take their drains for granted and treat them like second trash cans. However, putting plastic and solid debris down the toilet can result in a clog and eventually cause sewage backup.

  • Tree roots

Tree roots can bring a number of problems for your sewer lines – roots can grow into pipes and bust, pinch, or divert sewer drainage. They may even wrap around your main line and crush it, which might require a complete replacement of your sewer line. Even if there are trees in the area directly above your sewer line, roots from a neighboring yard can cause a sewage backup since roots can travel a good distance from trees.

  • Old or broken sewer lines

Based on your home’s age, your sewer line might be made of clay, Orangeburg, or PVC. While all of these materials are durable, they do not last forever. Clay and Orangeburg have a lifespan of 30 to 60 years, while PVC pipes can last for a century. Pipes can also crack unexpectedly, leading to a host of problems include a sewage backup.

  • Flooding

Even if water doesn’t come into your home, it can affect your sewer line. And if the pump station gets flooded, the whole section of your residential area’s sewer system can overflow. The problem is even worse if a power outage occurs during a flood. Many sewer plants rely on power to keep return valves sealed – when they stop functioning, all kinds of waste can flow back up the pipes.

Signs of a Sewage Backup

There are a few telltale signs that your home might be experiencing a sewage backup:

  • Running a faucet leads to a backup in another room
  • Your yard smells bad or appears soggy
  • Multiple fixtures are draining slowly
  • Bubbles are coming up through your toilets and drains
  • Wastewater is coming out of your cleanout pipe

Health Risks of Sewage Backup

Here are some of the health damages that can occur if you don’t deal with sewage backup immediately:

  • Mold growth: All that dirty material and water can result in a mold outbreak. What’s worse is that the outbreak can occur within 24 hours of the backup.
  • Breathing issues: If you have asthma or similar breathing problems, a sewage backup can make the issue worse.
  • Sickness: If the sewage backup enters your body through an open wound or your mouth, you can become ill with diseases like E. coli, hepatitis A, and encephalitis.

Cleaning Up After a Sewage Backup

Here’s a checklist of the necessary steps to take after a sewage backup:

1) Unclog the drainage system

The best way to do this is to use treatment options that contain enzymes instead of chemicals. Harsh chemicals can damage your sewer lines and pipes and make the problem worse. Look for enzyme solutions with BioClean as they contain enzymes with the ability to move freely through the pipes.

2) Remove as Much Water as Possible

Water can spread throughout your home before you know it. The longer you wait to remove it, the more things it can damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to begin the cleanup process immediately. You might be able to do DIY cleanup if the contaminated area is small. However, if a larger part of your home gets flooded with sewage water, it’s best to leave the matter to a professional.

There are Layton clean up specialists, Morgan clean up specialists, and clean up experts in other Utah cities who can pump out contaminated water in no time. Get in touch with one of our professionals to take care of the job.

3) Dry the Area Out

It’s critical to thoroughly and efficiently dry out the contaminated area – the odds of developing health issues increase the longer sewage remains in contact with your furniture and surfaces. If the problem occurs during humid conditions, you need to act even more promptly, as a moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Using dehumidifiers, running fans, and opening windows will speed the drying process.

Pro tip: As you do this, avoid skin contact with any sewer or sewage, especially if you have an open sore. Make sure to cover any wounds or cuts you may have with a bandage, and wash any sore that comes in contact with contaminated water immediately. Wearing long gloves, eyewear, and boots before starting the cleanup process will significantly reduce your exposure to sewage water.

4) Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect

Disinfectants help destroy or prevent the spread of harmful microorganisms. Clean and disinfect the walls, floors, and other areas that have been affected by sewage backup. Look for chemical disinfectants with 1 percent quaternary ammonium compound. Two popular options are Jasol Green Pine and Accent.  Just make sure to adhere to the vendor’s instructions.

When disinfecting, make sure every area is properly sanitized and cleaned to prevent your household members from contracting a disease. Also, make sure to get textiles properly cleaned.  Upholstered furniture or carpet may have to go.  However, you may be able to save things like clothing and draperies.  Just make sure to clean them according to the instructions on their respective tags.

A sewage backup can damage your valuables, cause serious illness, and even lead to appliance malfunctions. Thorough cleanup of your home can minimize the negative consequences arising from a backup. In the case where you don’t have the equipment and materials to perform a cleanup quickly, contact a sewage and flood clean up specialist.  They’re trained to deal with the attendant risks and to restore damages so that you can more forward quickly after your plumbing problems.