A Comprehensive Guide to the Health Hazards of Sewer Backup

The average American spends about $40 to $50 each month or about $600 every year on cleaning products. Meanwhile, the commercial cleaning industry is worth $78 billion and is projected to hit $175 billion in 2020.

These numbers show how important cleanliness and sanitation are to the American household. You vacuum carpets, sweep floors, and disinfect kitchens and bathrooms. Surfaces are dusted, sheets are replaced, and all other areas that can be sanitized are sanitized – all to lower the risk of contracting diseases at home.

Yet, the problem may sometimes lie buried underground: your sewer system might be the unseen culprit to disease woes. Since sewer lines are found in areas that you don’t frequent, you’re oblivious to the damages that these pipes receive until it’s too late. Sometimes, people only find out about their clogged or damaged sewer pipes because of either foul odors or gurgling sounds.

According to All Hours Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, a sewer repair company in Salt Lake City, more than frustration and property damage, sewage backup is a health hazard. If you experience sewage backup and come into contact with contaminated water, the following disease-causing organisms can be transmitted to you and cause health problems:

  • Salmonella – causes diarrhea and abdominal cramping
  • Leptospirosis – can lead to kidney damage and causes vomiting and muscle soreness
  • Acanthamoeba – causes sensitivity to light and eye irritation
  • Helicobacter pylori – causes abdominal pain and increases the risk of developing ulcers
  • Escherichia coli – causes abdominal cramping and diarrhea

Fecal-Oral Diseases

Man fixing sewage line

The diseases that you may develop from these organisms are called fecal-oral diseases. Through either direct or indirect contact, the organisms infect your intestinal tract, that’s why most of the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

Sanitation After a Sewer Backup

Apart from diseases, sewer backup can cause damage to your property or worse, electrical malfunction. Water is a conductor, so any live wires and plugs pose the risk of electrocution or explosion.

Immediately after you discover a backed-up sewer, call your trusted sewer repair company. Prompt repair and cleanup help minimize the risks and further damage. The Insurance Information Institute also recommends the following steps:

  • Wet-vacuuming or removal of spillage
  • Mopping floors and wiping walls with disinfectant

Tip: Put 8 tablespoons of laundry bleach for each gallon of water for an effective disinfectant

  • Shutting off the electricity
  • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
  • Removing carpets or drapes exposed to sewage water
  • Repairing and removing damaged wood boards and wall coverings

Do not forget to wear a mask, gloves, and boots to protect your body from direct contact while cleaning. It’s also important to properly dispose of contaminated trash in leak-proof bags labeled as contaminated sewage. This stops other people from trying to salvage these items, thereby preventing the possibility of contracting diseases.

Finally, wash your hands frequently during and after cleaning and sanitizing your home.

The property and health concerns that stem from sewage backup are serious problems that millions of Americans face every year. Apart from these, sewage backup also causes a lot of stress and grief in households.

The best way to prevent all these issues is to be vigilant about the upkeep of your property. Do not dispose of harsh chemicals, grease, and tissues or napkins down your drains. By following these simple measures, you can avoid sewage problems and save time, money, and effort.

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