Sewage cleanup can’t wait; you’ll want to move fast to clean it up

If you suffer a sewage problem in your home, this is a very serious matter.  Sewage can have brutally negative effects anyone exposed.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sites an average of 7 million people each year infected by illness brought on by sewage.  7% of those illnesses are fatal.  There are three primary concerns when dealing with exposure to raw sewage:   viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Viruses caused by sewage

Gastroenteritis- (Stomach flu like symptoms).  Gastroenteritis can cause stomach upset, cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Hepatitis A- is found in sewage after flood damage.  Symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, jaundice, fatigue, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and fever.

Poliomyelitis Virus- if left unchecked can cause paralysis (sometimes permanent).  It is marked by symptoms of a sore throat, fever, constipation, or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

More serious Bacteria found in sewage (there are many more!)

Campylobacter.  The bacterial infection becomes blood borne, and causes life-threatening infection.  Symptoms are bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting.

Escherichia coli or E. coli for short.  causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be fatal. symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.

Salmonella, which can cause Salmonellosis.  This is known for being found in under cooked or raw food products such as meats and poultry being left out. this bacterium also thrives in raw sewage.   Symptoms include severe diarrhea, cramping, and high fever.


Some harmful parasites that infect raw sewage include Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia intestinalis. This cause the two most common water borne diseases in the United States.  Symptoms for both include diarrhea, loose stool, cramping, and fevers.

Mold is another serious consideration property owners have after a sewage problem.     Mold can begin to take hold in as little as 48 hours after contamination by the dirty water.

Sewage cleanup is such a dangerous dirty job that you should engage the assistance of a professional for. There are steps you can take until help arrives.

Start cleanup immediately

Before starting sewage cleanup, get the right gear!  Rubber boots, sturdy gloves, goggles, and a mask.   You do not want ANY of this getting in your nose, mouth eyes, or breaks in your skin.   Now that you are properly clothed, gather your tools.  Shovel or scoop, heavy bags, buckets, rags, mop, bleach (or other disinfectant).  You may also need a shop vac or dehumidifier.  Make sure all utilities are shut off to the area prior to starting.

Clear all solids into heavy plastic bags and dispose in a trash receptacle.

Dry up liquid with paper towels or rags, and bag for disposal.

Use a wet/dry vac to suck up any standing puddles.

Place all rooms contents—damaged or not—outside for cleaning.

Throw out carpets, pads, and rugs!  They are contaminated!

Mop/ wipe down the entire area, top to bottom with a solution of disinfectant and water mixed 1:1.

Opening windows, using box fans burning candles, and cleaning with a deodorizer will eventually eliminate the odors.

Bring in the pros

Cleanup specialists: Trained professionals who know what to do to save your home and keep your family safe!
Septic specialists: If your problem was caused by a faulty septic tank, GET IT FIXED!  The danger to the earth around your home is just as serious as the problem in your house!
City sewer workers: If is part of the city sewer system, call your local utilities department to make sure you are not part of a citywide problem.
Drain cleaning specialists: If you fear a problem like a clogged line, a plumber or drain-clearing specialist needs to be employed to remedy the problem to prevent a serious disaster.

The important thing to remember with sewage problems is that they pose a serious health hazard to all involved.  Handle a sewage problem right away!

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