It goes without saying that a sewage backup is unpleasant. Wastewater stinks, is filled with things best left unmentioned and poses significant contamination and biohazard risks in addition to all of the other problems that can be caused by regular flood waters. Even more so than normal water damage, sewage backups need to be cleaned up and their damage restored as soon as possible, regardless of whether it is a toilet flooding or a septic backup.
Due to the unique dangers posed by basement sewage flooding, prompt action is needed to minimize damage, drain the waters, and decontaminate and clean the affected areas.
Category 3 Water Damage: Black Water
The reason that sewage backups are such a big deal is because they often involve what the industry refers to as “black water”, the third and most severe classification of flood water. Black water is highly contaminated and poses significant risk of illness or death if consumed by humans, but it can also make people sick by simply breathing in particles in the air or through other avenues of exposure. In addition to sewage backups, black water can come from rising floodwaters that spill into basements or when groundwater begins to flow into your property.
Some examples of Category 3 water damage are sewage, flooding stemming from rivers or streams, water from the toilet bowl that contains feces, toilet overflows from beyond the toilet trap, and even standing water where microbial growth has begun.
Drain & Sewer Backup Health Risks
- The diseases and septic backup illnesses you can contract from black water include:
- E.coli, which can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhoea and occasionally death;
- Acanthamoeba, which causes eye, nose, throat and ear infections;
- Helicobacter Pylori, which leads to increased chance of ulcers;
- Hepatitis, which causes liver infection and liver failure;
- Leptospirosis, which creates muscle aches and vomiting; and
- Salmonella, which causes abdominal cramping and diarrhoea.
Why Do Drains and Sewers Back Up?
Sewage backups are a form of (usually) basement flooding that happens for one of two broad reasons: either a sewage or septic line becomes clogged so waste goes the other way, or some structural element is allowing the water to enter your home. Within these two categories include the following causes:
- An improper object has been flushed down the toilet.
- Pipe blockage or leakage.
- Foundation flaws that allow for water infiltration.
- Weather-induced flooding around the home.
- Defects in the septic system or structure.
How to Clean Up After a Sewage Backup?
While it may be possible to handle an overflowing toilet on your own, more serious forms of sewage backup require professional remediation in order to avoid jeopardizing the health of yourself or others. At Flood Services Canada, our 24/7 Sewage Clean-up and Restoration teams are ready to provide quick-response action to minimize damage to our clients’ property. Once we arrive on the scene, we immediately begin our sewage cleanup process.
The black water must be removed before anything else can be done. We use tools such as pumps, wet/dry vacuums, heaters, dehumidifiers, industrial-strength fans, and other tools to get rid of every last drop of water. Even pockets of contamination that might hide from sight can’t escape thanks to our moisture detectors. During this process, we also clear up any “waste products” that may have been brought up with the sewage water.
The black water may be gone, but bacteria and fungi can remain. The decontamination stage is a full-scope disinfection and cleaning of any affected areas and materials. Non-salvageable items and building materials will be properly disposed of, but everything else is going to get scrubbed, disinfected and more.
As you might imagine, a sewage backup can leave quite the lingering odor. We take the time to make sure that offensive smells and bad air are eliminated—not just covered up. You deserve to be able to go back to your home without your nose constantly reminding you of what you’ve experienced.
Air can allow contaminated water droplets to resettle in other rooms and workers going in and out of the site can track contaminants with them despite the best precautions. Consequently, the cleanup process ends with a final sweep of the property that eliminates any debris that may have escaped the flood site.
Our Services Areas
At Flood Services Canada, we serve the Toronto, Oakville, Ajax, Whitby, Georgina, Barrie, Mississauga, and Lakeshore areas. We stand ready to provide 24/7 quick-response sewage and flood cleanup services and will use the best techniques, personnel, and technology to ensure your home or business is clean, safe, and dry as soon as possible.
Sewer Backup And Clean-Up Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe for my family to be in here after a sewer backup?
No. Sewage water needs to be treated as a health hazard, so your family should not stay in the house in such a situation. The IICRC classifies sewage water as black water (Category 3), it is grossly contaminated and can contain toxic, pathogenic, and other very harmful and dangerous agents.
Who is going to solve the problem?
If the stoppage is related to your non-public sewer line, you should call a professional water restoration company immediately.