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What to Do After Sewage Backup in Your Basement

Residential Restoration
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Sewer Backup in Basement? Here's What to Do

Sewer lines transport waste water away from your home through underground plumbing that lead to local sewer mains. If a clog forms in the line or a line fails, it can create a raw sewage backup in your home. ServiceMaster Restore® offers tips for what to do when there's a sewage backup in basement spaces.

How Dangerous is Sewage?

Sewage contains a mix of both water and waste products, which "consist of both organic and inorganic matter, including human wastes, mineral salts, and garbage," according to How Stuff Works. Organic material decomposes quickly and emits odorous gases that can be hazardous to people's health – especially when they come from human waste. Organic material often contains disease-causing pathogens, which is why the fast and complete removal of sewage is critical after any backup. Sewage poses a serious health risk to any humans and animals living in the home. Sewage water is considered Category 3 water or black water.

There's a Sewage Backup in the Basement. Now What?

If you discover a sewer backup in the basement, there are a few things you can do immediately.

  • Check all the toilets, sinks and waste pipes for blockages. If there is a blockage that you can clear, clear it. If needed, call a plumber for assistance.
  • Avoid using the toilets or sinks until the blockage has been removed. If it's a main line clog, the water will back up and then come up through the bathtubs or basement.
  • Check your home's sewer clean out. If the backup is in your basement, look for the cap on the basement floor and make sure that it's easily accessible for the plumber or remediation team as needed.

Safety tip: If there is standing water in your basement due to the sewage backup, never enter the space while the power is on – this is dangerous. Electricity and water can kill.

Assess the Risks

Dealing with a sewage backup and water in the basement can be dangerous. It's important to assess the risks before attempting any cleanup. Sewage contaminated water can contain a variety of bacteria and viruses. While not transmitted through the air, contact with skin can result in rashes or infection if you have even the smallest open sores or cuts. Accidentally touching your nose, eyes or mouth with hands or gloves contaminated by sewage can make you sick. When you find a sewage backup in the basement, it's beneficial and often safer to call in the professionals. ServiceMaster Restore offers complete sewage clean up services. Our specially trained teams can safely and effectively extract any water and sewage, assess the damage and complete a comprehensive remediation plan that may include structural dehumidification, content drying, furniture cleaning and even pack out services, as needed.

Sewer backups in the basement are smelly, messy and best left to the professionals. This type of home disaster is also dangerous. Keep yourself and your family safe, and let ServiceMaster Restore® tackle the sewage backup.