Raw Sewage Safety – Frequently Asked Questions
The thought of having raw sewage flowing through your home is frightening because it is full of dangerous pathogens. Raw sewage is the material flushed down toilets in private residences and commercial properties. It is filthy water containing body waste from humans or animals. This wastewater may flow from the top of your bathroom’s toilet or your city’s sewer system. The word raw means that the water has never been treated with chemicals to destroy germs and bacteria that cause illness.
What are the Classifications of Sewage Water?
Professionals classify sewage according to its danger level in order to protect you from contracting an illness carried by waste. The highest level is three (or black water) which contains human waste, including fecal matter that transmits serious diseases. Level two or grey water from a dishwasher containing dirty dishes and eating utensils does not contain human waste but does have germs. Water flowing from broken pipes or faucets is considered category one because it comes from a clean source.
What Causes Sewage Backups?
Sewage backups are a common occurrence at commercial properties and private residences due to clogged toilets and water lines. Toilets can overflow due to clogs caused by too much toilet paper or other substances that will not flush properly. Additional reasons for sewage backups into buildings is flooding caused by overflowing rivers and streams. As water rises in waterways, it will enter sewer systems causing the wastewater to overflow.
What are the Health Risks from Exposure to Raw Sewage?
Raw sewage contains waste from animals and humans that carries pathogens that cause illness after exposure. Pathogens include viruses, bacteria and parasites that cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and skin rashes. Illnesses caused by raw sewage can lead to hospitalization and death. Common illnesses contracted from overflowing raw sewage include salmonella or hepatitis A. Raw sewage can also leave pathogens on plants located in fields and gardens, leading to illness when the items are ingested.
How Do Professionals Prevent Illness While Cleaning Raw Sewage?
Professional remediation companies train their technicians in the proper methods to avoid exposure to raw sewage to prevent illness. Technicians wear protective gear such as disposable gloves, plastic jumpsuits and goggles to avoid contracting an illness. In extreme cleanup situations, they can also use special apparatus to avoid breathing contaminated air.
Who Should You Contact to Clean Raw Sewage?
When a flood occurs in a building, there is a possibility the water contains raw sewage. Trying to remove water from overflowing toilets or sewer systems requires heavy-duty equipment such as sump pumps and extraction machines. There are plumbing companies and remediation specialists ready to arrive promptly to begin a raw sewage cleanup process.
Tips to Perform Immediately When a Raw Sewage Disaster Occurs
Consider your personal safety before attempting to remove objects from a flooded building. For minor floods, moving furniture and rugs from a room is acceptable. If the flooding situation is dangerous, then immediate evacuation of your family is necessary.