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How to Care for Water/Sewer Backup until Help Arrives

Sewage contains bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that can cause illness unless you take proper precautions.  The longer sewage is allowed to remain in your home, the greater the potential for sickness and irreparable damage to your home.

Safety First

-Assume anything touched by sewage is contaminated.

-Wait for the water/sewage to go down, or pump out flooded areas.

-Wash hands frequently; wear rubber gloves.

-Disinfect everything sewage has touched.

-Wear leak proof rubber boots that will keep your feet safe & dry.

-BE AWARE of potential damage to utilities (gas & electric) from contaminated water.


STEP 1: Gather the necessary cleaning supplies.

            -Brooms, mops, brushes, sponges, rags

            -Buckets, hose, rubber gloves, trash bags

            -Cleaning products and disinfectants

Note: Items contaminated by sewage/sewer water that are porous (where bacteria can permeate) need to be disposed of! Non-porous items may be deemed salvageable.

Some items that cannot be salvaged:

-Carpet & padding.

-Throw rugs or room size rugs.

-Pillows, blankets, comforters, drapery.

-Furniture such as sofas, upholstered chairs, etc.



-Sewage saturated drywall.

Water in unwated places can cause a lot of damage.  It can ruin your prized possessions, as well as your house.  If you're able to act quickly, you can minimize the damage and possibly save some of your possesions.  Some of your success depends on how long the water's been around, there might be pieces of furniture that can be saved and sometimes, even carpet.

Don't treat water damage lightly: even if your basement only has an inch of water in it, or is even just damp, it is the perfect breeding ground for microbial growth.  Microbial growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, etc., it can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems including asthma, and can lead to severe illness.  Preventing microbial growth is key to keeping your home's air clean and healthy.