What To Do With A Backed Up Sewer

What To Do With A Backed Up Sewer

If there’s one thing that no one wants to see in their home or workplace, it’s a backed up sewer.
A backed up sewer is the term for some obstruction, blockage, or even flooding that is
preventing the sewer pipe on your property from properly expelling used water from sinks, tubs,
shower stalls, and toilets, instead forcing that waste to come back up.

When this happens at your home or place of business, you may be in a situation where
contaminated water, known as “black water,” is entering your property. Black water is the
nickname for any water that has come into contact with fecal matter and is therefore filled with
pathogens and other dangerous contagions.

Are You At Risk?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes, absolutely. You and anyone else in a building
with backed up sewer are in a great deal of health risk. Black water, or backed up sewer water, is
full of dangerous viruses and bacteria that can cause serious—or even fatal—illness if people are
exposed to it, and then go untreated.
This water is so dangerous that physical contact is enough to transmit disease. It’s not enough
that you simply avoid drinking the water. The pathogens in black water are virulent enough that
you should avoid any interactions with it.

Exposure to black water can lead to any number of different illnesses including
Cryptosporidiosis, which has symptoms like diarrhea, and fever, all the way up to encephalitis,
salmonella, and even typhoid fever. There’s a huge number of different illnesses potentially
waiting in black water to transmit to someone that is not being careful.

Don’t Clean It Up

While it may seem counter-intuitive when you find you have black water from backed up
sewage, what you should not do is attempt to clean it up yourself. The pathogenic properties of
black water are strong enough that even household cleaning agents like bleach may not
neutralize the toxicity. 

Furthermore, if you don’t take proper precautions, and make contact with the water yourself
while attempting the cleanup, you run the risk of infection. This isn’t a case where a “quick dip”
and then a shower afterward can spare you from contamination, you need to wear proper
protective gear to avoid the medical risks that black water brings with it.
Call The Professionals
When you find black water on your property, seal off access to the contaminated area. Make sure
that no adults, children or pets can gain access to the black water. Then you should call a
professional, such as a plumber, who has the knowledge, experience, protective gear, and
equipment to safely and effectively deal with the problem.

Don’t try to save money by attempting to clean up a black water mess yourself. Your property is
not safe for human habitation until it has been properly cleaned and disinfected. Unless you’re
willing to spend the money, this is not something that you’ll be able to do yourself.