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Is a Sewer Backup a DIY project?

What is a Sewage Backup?

First of all, it’s basically a mix of murky water that contains a variety of unpleasant things such as waste water from your household, organic waste, solid waste, human excrement and debris.  All are hazardous to your health, but human excrement brings the highest risks as it contains micro-organisms such as coliform, fecal coliform, Escherichia coliform and Enterococcus.  Translation:  Dangerous stuff is in that nasty water!  So the next question is….

Is this something I can do on my own?

That’s a normal question for a homeowner looking to save some money or to avoid having workers coming into his home.  However, read over the precautions, the dangers and the details involved first before deciding absolutely.  

  • It isn’t safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.  The AIR around the backup can become infected; meaning simply breathing near the hazardous waste can be dangerous.  By inhaling the fumes you put yourself at risk of contracting Gastroenteritis, which is a virus found in human fecal waste.  You can also develop occupational asthma, due to the fumes released during the clean-up process.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, like carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper, or drywall that can’t be washed in hot water (130 degree) for at least 10 minutes, but be contained and disposed of properly.  This includes insulation and several other structural materials as well.  There’s just too much of a risk to clean and dry only.  
  • A person can become infected three ways:  hand-to-mouth contact, through the air (even DUST can transmit the bacteria) or through skin contact.  

As you can see, it isn’t a simple fix

This is why it’s highly recommended that you have professionals deal with a sewer backup.  They have the necessary equipment, protective gear, anti-microbials and detergents to bring your home back into a SAFE living area, one where you can rest assured you are breathing clean air and touching clean surfaces!