Although we never think it’ll happen to us, sewer lines can get clogged and backup into our homes, and it’s good to be prepared. Sewer backups can occur when there’s severe flooding from heavy rains, if there’s a blockage in a private sewer line in a house or apartment building, if there’s a blockage in a public sanitary sewage line, or if there are plumbing issues like gutters and downspouts or sump pumps connected to sewer lines.
So what should you do if there’s a sewage backup in your home? Or, more importantly, what shouldn’t you do? Follow this checklist for safe steps after a sewage backup.
6 Things to Do for Safe Sewage Backup Cleanup
- Turn off the electricity or gas. Turn off the electricity to any affected areas. If you do not have access to shut off the gas line, call your utility company and explain the situation. They can guide you on how to turn off the gas, or will do it for you. If the sewage or water damage is between you and your shut-offs, wait for a professional to step in.
- Call a septic company or plumber. A plumber is needed to find the source of the problem and start fixing the issue as quickly as possible. No one in your home should use any of the toilets or sinks connected to the sewage lines.
- Call your insurance company. When your professional clean up company arrives, provide them with the insurance claim number that you started with your insurance company. The septic company may also require this before they start any work.
- Ventilate the area. Open windows to allow air to flow through your home. Airing out your contaminated home can help prevent mold growth by drying out the area as much as possible before professional help arrives.
- Go to a safe area. Evacuate people (assisting seniors and children) and pets away from the building and the area and go to a safe place where there is no sign of sewage backup. Keep everyone away until the area has been restored.
- Take pictures of the damaged area and contents. You can do this by yourself or with your insurance claim agent after the plumber or restoration company has deemed the area safe. The pictures should include the damaged area, the source of the sewage backup, any damaged personal possessions, and structural damage. Don’t touch anything when you take the pictures. Any surface or item touched by raw sewage is contaminated, and rarely salvageable.
4 Things NOT to Do After a Sewage Backup
- Don’t touch anything. Avoid skin contact with any sewage or sewer water, especially if you have any open cuts or sores. If the water level has risen to the point of electrical outlets, plugs, or gas burning equipment, don’t touch the water and get everyone out of your home as quickly as possible.
- Don’t eat or drink anything exposed to the sewer water. Don’t drink any water from your sink or filtered water hookups that are connected to the backed up line. Sewage contains pathogens that can make you and your family severely sick.
- Don’t try to clean it up. Most homeowners think they’re helping by attempting to clean up a mess, when really they are destroying evidence that could impact their insurance claim or get them denied altogether. Leaving the area as is after you call the plumber and insurance company is the best thing you can do, even if you’re tempted otherwise. Leave the sewage cleanup to the professionals.
- Don’t remove items from the area. In this case where bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses are living in the sewage water, it is extra important not to touch anything in the exposed area, or to try and save anything by removing it from the site. Let the expert cleaners decide after the area has been restored if that item was salvageable. Most items, including soft toys and blankets, are not salvageable, and need to be thrown out and replaced.
Alpha Omega Pros Cleaning and Restoration
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. If your home has been affected by a sewage backup from a clogged or damaged sewer line, we can help clean and restore the contaminated area. We’re a professional disaster restoration company on call 24/7 that is certified in biohazard cleanup services. Our team is made up of industry experts who are seen as trusted advisors. We manage the recovery of your property damage by dedicating ourselves to honesty, integrity, reliability and producing a superior-quality service. We strive to continually challenge ourselves through learning, development, and accountability through industry relations.
Alpha-Omega is the leading disaster restoration company serving Billings, MT and surrounding areas. Our top-notch disaster recovery team is dedicated to strong work ethics, unwavering integrity, and exceptional service. We’ll restore your home from beginning to end, and leave it looking better than ever!