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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.

How quickly should I report sewage damage?

You should report sewer damage immediately as exposure to the hazardous chemicals and particles in the water can cause cross-contamination in your home or building and pose a threat to the safety and health of your family or residents. You should evacuate the premises immediately and call a sewage damage specialist.

How quickly will you respond to my sewage damage call?

Flood Services Canada is an emergency response team that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have teams of technicians on standby that are certified, knowledgeable and equipped to mitigate the damages and restore your home.

What are the hazards with sewer backups?

Sewer damage releases disease-causing organisms, can contaminate skin, and can cause undesirable side effects such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sewage water exposure can also pose risks of respiratory infections and allergic reactions caused from inhaling associated airborne microorganisms.

Can I just clean up a sewer backup myself?

No. Choosing a professional water damage restoration company can help you avoid any of the previously mentioned risks. Also, a professional team is better equipped and experienced in the best ways to clean up sewage at minimal risk.

Can I just use bleach to clean up a sewer backup?

Bleach is not a good solution for sewer backups. It may remove stains well, but it does not make the contamination of black water disappear. Though the label states that it kills 99% of common household germs, sewage water does NOT fit in this category.

Can other areas of my home/office become affected?

Yes. Cross-contamination is very common in cases of sewage damage. To prevent this, the area must be properly contained and ventilated by a professional team. For most situations, only sewage damage specialists are able to handle such a procedure. The risks of cross contamination include seepage, toxic fumes, and exposure to airborne viruses and bacteria.

What can I keep after a sewer backup?

Unfortunately, anything that possibly or definitely came in contact with sewer water needs to be disposed of unless they are hard-surfaced items that are non-porous. Considering the serious health hazards of sewage damage, it is best to throw out items that you are unsure of.

How do I really know if everything is cleaned up?

The only way to know with a guarantee that the backup has been restored is to have it tested. A certified industrial hygienist separate from the water restoration company should be called to test the area so you have an unbiased and reliable report.