Water Damage Restoration: FAQs

Tips on sewage cleanup after flooding or sewage spills

During and following flooding events, dangerous and even life-threatening hazards may exist. To managing pathogen risks from direct contact with floodwaters and/or sewage backups, the public is strongly urged to follow procedures or actions necessary to safely avoid injury during these conditions.

Pathogens are disease-causing agents, which can be in the form of bacteria, viruses, mold spores, or protozoans, and which are normally present in large numbers in sewage wastes. Sewage is classified under several categories, dependent upon its source. Spent water from homes is classified as sanitary sewage; Spent water from stores and business establishments is classified as commercial wastes; Spent water from goods manufacturers and producers is classified as industrial wastes. The nature and extent of potential pathogen risks of sewer backups and floodwaters will depend in large part on the potential contaminants expected to be in the waters. The greater the extent of the sewage component, the more likely the potential for adverse impacts, and the more important the proper cleanup of the materials that have come into direct contact with the contaminated waters.

In towns and communities whose residents rely on septic tanks for their sewage disposal, after flood waters subside, residents are faced with sewage cleanup of their damaged properties. Sewage is usually collected for treatment or disposal, but when there is flooding, often sewage pipes can brake and wastewater can mix with floodwater, contaminate everything that comes in contact with it.

After severe flooding, sewage cleanup is necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Floodwater and sewage carry harmful bacteria that can contaminate the water supply and cause serious health problems.

You should always wear protective clothing, rubber gloves and boots when cleaning or handling contaminated items. Everything that has been touched by sewage is contaminated and all clothes and linen must be dry cleaned or washed in hot water.

For items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, it is best to just throw them away. This could include upholstered furniture, carpeting, and mattresses.

All surfaces must be washed with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of bleach and water. After washing, be sure to dry out everything to prevent mold from growth. it's important to start the process of removal and drying as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Providing homes with enough sunlight and proper ventilation is the first step in mold remediation. If you have an air conditioner, run it to dehumidify the house.

For severe mold problems however, you will need to seek the help of mold remediation professionals. Call a restoration company to get an appointment as quickly as you can.

They can employ methods that you cannot accomplish like dry ice freeze blasting to remove mold from wood and cement, dry fog to kill the mold in a specific area, and damp wipe which can remove mold from glass, metal, hardwood, plastic, and cement.

After all contaminated materials have been dried, a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtered vacuum cleaner is used to collect dust and debris into containers for proper disposal.
Any items that are severely contaminated and which cannot be remediated must be disposed of immediately.

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