The Dangers of Sewage Backup in Your Home

Disgusted woman closing her nose and smelling something bad isolated on white backgroundSewage backup is probably one of the worst plumbing problems you can have. Aside from the inconvenience and unpleasantness, dealing with the problem professionally is vital to your health and the health of those around you. It can also cause severe water damage to your home.

Never assume you have the problem covered. Sewage backup presents serious dangers. Call a professional cleanup and restoration service immediately.

Health Dangers

Water carries a multitude of micro-organisms – some are essential to life while others are dangerous to your health. Micro-organisms that cause harmful disease are called pathogens.

Sewage presents a health danger through physical contact as well as through airborne contamination. Also airborne are toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide, which may not be in heavy concentration but can still cause plenty of health problems in a confined area.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that pathogenic micro-organisms found in sewage can be divided into three main classes:

  • Bacteria. Bacteria are found in substantial quantities in natural water, wastewater and raw sewage. Pathogenic bacteria can cause serious diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. Milder infections will cause gastroenteritis.
  • Viruses. Viruses grow on living tissue and many are associated with human feces. Viruses are generally more resilient than bacteria, surviving for longer periods of time. Viral infection from sewage backup problems can produce fever, ‘flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, gastroenteritis or respiratory problems. Severe cases of infection can lead to jaundice and hepatitis A.
  • Protozoans. These single-celled micro-organisms can grow up to 5mm in length and can cause serious ulceration of the liver and intestines. Pathogenic organisms of this class can cause dangerous health problems like dysentery and gastro-intestinal disease.

The Most Common Causes of Sewer Backup

Sewage can become backed up and overflow for a number of reasons:

  • Pipe blockages. The main sewer line to your home can become clogged. To minimize this risk, don’t use toilets as waste receptacles. Napkins, facial tissues, feminine hygiene pads, diapers or plastic items can block the pipe and result in a backup.
  • Infiltration of tree roots. Even if your sewer line doesn’t run directly under trees or shrubs, roots can grow across substantial distances to impede the performance of sewerage lines. They can penetrate a pipeline, causing holes and blockages, or they can wrap themselves around and eventually crush a line.
  • Broken sewer lines. Even modern day plastic pipes that don’t deteriorate can still warp and crack under force. Denver’s crazy weather changes can cause some rapid and substantial shrinking and expanding of the ground, placing great stress on soil, pipes, roads, pathways, foundations, etc.

Protect Your Family

If you come into contact with domestic waste, you should:

Do not handle the situation on your own. Professionals are fully trained, insured and experienced. Do it right the first time and breathe easier.

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