What Causes Sewage Back Ups?

While there are many causes of sewage backups, only a professional plumber can pinpoint the exact cause of a sewage backup problem. Some of the most common causes of sewage backup include:

  • Structural defects in the sewer lines
  • Infiltration of Roots
  • Flushing items that belong in a toilet
  • Flooding around and under your home
  • Poor design or planning of sewage lines
  • Broken or blocked pipes

How Dangerous are Sewage Back Ups?

Having a sewage back ups is one of the worst plumbing problems a homeowner can experience due to the severe illnesses that can arise from them. According to the National Resources Defense Council a recent study shows close to 2 million cases of illnesses are caused from sewage contamination every year. Raw sewage contains many hazardous materials (such as: fungi, toxic waste, pesticides and even protozoan) posing serious threats you and your pets health.

Here is a list of the most common bacteria found in sewage and the effects they can cause to the human body:

Why Do Drains and Sewage Back Up?

Only a professional plumber can pinpoint the cause of your sewage backup problem. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Structural defects.
  • Root infiltration.
  • Improper flushes (items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet).
  • Wet weather.
  • Flooding around and under your home.
  • Planning problems with sewage lines.
  • Pipe blockages.
  • Broken or leaking pipes.

How Dangerous are Sewage Back Ups?

Sewage back ups are among one of the worst plumbing problems because of the risk that they present to homeonwers and residents. Sewage can spread illness, disease and even death. The National Resources Defense Council reports that nearly 2 million cases of illnesses are caused by sewage contamination each year. Sewage is full of contaminants, viruses and bacteria that pose a serious threat to people and their pets. In addition, sewage may contain other toxic substances like pesticides, residuals from pharmaceutical drugs, fungi and protozoan.

Here are a few of the most common bacteria that are found in sewage and what they can do the human body:

  • E. Coli – Known to cause severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea and even death may result if not treated promptly.
  • Acanthomoeba – Causing infections to the ears, eyes, nose and throat
  • Hepatitis – Known for causing liver infection and in extreme cases liver failure
  • Leptospirosis – Associated with causing muscle ache, nausea and vomiting
  • Salmonella – Resulting in abdominal cramping and diarrhea

Having sewage back up in your home is a substantial risk and could just by coming into contact with any of the associated contaminants can cause sickness or may require a trip to the emergency room.  This is not something to play with or delay attention to.  If you are experiencing any of these issues, you need to call a plumber immediately.

What to Do When Your Sewage Backs Up into Your Home?

By now you are probably wondering what to do if you have a sewage back up in your home.  The most important thing you could do when suffering from sewage backing up is to call a plumber that specializes in sewer repair. Just by coming into contact with sewage from contact with skin or inhalation can make you sick. It is important that you avoid all contact, if possible.

Be sure to wear rubber boots and wear a breathing mask if you must enter a sewage filled area.  Upon exiting the area, be sure to immediately remove your shoes and any clothing that contacted with sewage and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands.

How to Prevent Sewage Backups

Here are some steps you can take to prevent sewage back ups from entering in to your home. Remember because of the health risks associated with sewage it is important you avoid contact with it.

  • Seal and waterproof any cracks in your foundation.
  • Remove any sinks, toilets, or appliances in the basement prone to backing up.
  • Have a sump pump installed to pump water collecting in low points in your basement or under your home.
  • Install a flood control system to prevent back ups from entering your home.

A good rule of thumb is if you see any sewage backs up in your home or office, it’s time to call a plumber right away.