Sewage Spill Cleanup

Quick Summary

Sewage spills caused by toilet overflows, backed-up septic tanks, or sewer system backups create a hazardous environment for your family. Acting fast in these situations helps protect your family and your home.

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Sewage Cleanup

sewage-truck-cleaning-sewage-spillWhen a sewage backup happens, you need to move quickly. Evacuate young children, elderly, people with asthma and weak immune systems first.

Then contact a plumber or restoration specialist to address the sewage problem you are having.

Sometimes you can manage small sewage spills without professional help. Small spills are typically confined to a bathroom or part of a kitchen. Major spills, however, require professional help. Sewage is a natural delivery method for disease and infection.

You should get professional help if:

  • Sewage has flooded multiple rooms
  • The spill is caused by a sewer or septic tank backup
  • The spill happened more than 24 hours ago
  • You or your family have health concerns that increase risk of infection

Hiring a Sewage Cleanup Specialist

Sewage cleanup companies can do more than deal with a disgusting mess. They can clean carpet and upholstery, decontaminate your home, and perform water damage restoration throughout your home. If a sewage overflow saturates carpeting and/or soaks into drywall, these materials have to be replaced.

Specialists use equipment like dehumidifiers, air scrubbers, and steam cleaners. Sometimes specialists can salvage a carpet by cleaning and disinfecting it.

Another benefit of hiring a specialist is speed. Professionals can quickly restore your home or business to normal, preventing further contamination and letting you get on with your life. Oftentimes, insurance may cover the cost of hiring professional help.

Professionals that can help include:

  • Cleanup specialists have all the tools to promptly help you with your situation. Cleanup specialists can completely clean, disinfect, and restore your home. Depending on how severe the sewage spill is, these specialists can cost between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • Septic specialists can fix your septic tank and prevent more sewage from backing up into your home. Your septic tank may need a new pipe, total replacement, or maybe it just needs to be pumped. The average cost of pumping and cleaning a septic tank is about $370, according to HomeAdvisor.
  • Plumbers can handle simple clogs in your home. If you have a serious toilet overflow, a plumber is the best person for the job. Plumbers, however, may not perform cleanup services.

Any problems with sewers overflowing should be handled by the city at no cost to you.

Health Concerns

Sewage cleanup requires handling infectious waste. You must take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your family from disease. The longer the sewage is in a building, the greater the chances of it spreading disease.

Protect other areas from the overflow to avoid further water damage. Water damage from a sewage spill can lead to mold growth. Mold creates more issues for your family’s health.

Sometimes overflows happen when no one is home. If the overflow has been sitting for an unknown number of hours, consider hiring a specialist. Bacteria and viruses have spread at this point, making safety gear and breathing apparatuses a must.

If a sewage spill hasn’t been properly decontaminated, your family could still get sick.

Cleaning Up a Small Sewage Spill

If you decide to start cleaning up, you could prevent further damage to your home. Early cleanup prevents bacteria from spreading, creating foul odors that won’t be easily removed from your home. The spreading bacteria in the sewage can also make your family sick if it isn’t dealt with.

DIY Sewage Cleanup

Step 1 – Open windows to air out your home

Step 2 – Shovel up solids. Use heavy plastic bags if possible. You can also use buckets.

Step 3 – Use a pale to remove liquids

Step 4 – Soak up remaining liquid with paper towels or rags. Throw rags away.

Step 5 – Vacuum remaining puddles with a wet/dry vac

Step 6 – Put rugs, curtains, furniture, and other wet items outside

Step 7 – Mop and scrub area with a 1:1 solution of bleach and water

You should only consider beginning the cleanup process in cases of minor sewage spills. Minor sewage spills have just happened and are confined to one area of your home.

“Decontamination, which includes water extraction, cleaning, and disinfection, can be effective in reducing this particular potential health risk,” according to health scientists at the University of Michigan.

What you’ll need for cleanup:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Coveralls or clothing you can throw away
  • Boots
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Heavy plastic bags
  • Paper towels and rags
  • Disinfectant solution

While small sewage spills can be handled without hiring someone, there’s no substitute for a thorough, professional cleaning. Professionals know what to look for to protect your home and family.

Author:Water Damage Advisor
Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

  1. Home Advisor. (2016) How Much Does It Cost To Clean or Pump a Septic Tank?
  2. University of Michigan’s Occupational Safety & Environmental Health. (2016) Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage from Sewage Backflow into Buildings.
  3. Washington State Department of Health. (2007) Cleaning up a Sewage Spill.
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