A sewage backup can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. The smell and mess, not to mention the damage it causes, is enough to keep homeowners up at night.
But you don’t have to suffer in silence! There are things you can do if this unfortunate event happens to your home or business.
A sewer line backup is when your wastewater is blocked and can’t drain away from your home. When wastewater flows into the home from a sewer, it can come up through your sewer drain, sinks, toilets, or even showers in some cases.
We highly recommend contacting your local plumber when this happens for sewage cleanup. At The Original Plumber, our team of sewage removal professionals can properly handle the wastewater with your safety in mind. But in the meantime, there are a few steps you can take to expedite the process.
What Causes My Sewer to Backup?
A few issues can cause a sewer backup. Typically, a form of obstruction causes blockage in the main sewer line. Here are some common causes of a sewer backup.
Connecting Storm Sewers to Your Sanitary Sewer Line
You can connect gutters, sump pumps, or downspouts to storm sewers. However, you mustn’t connect them to your sanitary sewer (and these are often illegal plumbing connections!). This also includes French drains and other flood control systems.
Storm drainage can overwhelm your septic system. Your septic system is only meant to handle the wastewater that comes from your property.
Broken Sewer Line
Aging sewer systems are more prone to damage. Sewer pipes can unexpectedly crack or even collapse. Schedule a sewer line inspection at least every decade to check for cracks or any other damage.
Tree Root Growth
Tree roots can grow through main sewer lines and damage them, especially if your sewer drain lines are made from cast iron. To repair these sewer line cracks, you have to replace or repair the pipe and remove the roots.
It can be hard to prevent tree roots from growing into your sewer lateral (aka the line that is buried in your yard) entirely since tree roots can expand well beyond where the tree is planted. But using plastic pipes can help prevent the tree roots from growing into your sewer lateral.
City Sewers Aren’t Immune
If your system is connected to a city sanitary sewer main rather than your own septic system, then it can affect part or all of your neighborhood. These same issues can impact the city sanitary main, too. Contact your city public works office as soon as possible to report the issue.
One main cause of backups for city sewer systems is heavy rainfall. Excess rainfall can overwhelm their sewer systems, and the rain can find its way into their sewer lines.
Warning Signs of a Sewer Backup
We always recommend having a professional clean up your sewage water and deal with a sewage backup. Sewer backups can result in your basement flooding with sewage water, which is often contaminated. This contaminated water carries different bacteria or viruses in it, which can irritate your skin upon contact.
If you accidentally ingest the water through your mouth or eyes, you can get sick. And if you have any open cuts or wounds, you need to stay away from the water! They can become infected.
Flooded basements with standing wastewater can also become more prone to mold growth. Mold grows in places with a lot of moisture, so a sewage backup can create the perfect environment for toxic black mold.
If you notice the following warning signs of a sewer backup, contact us to schedule your sewer removal services in the Atlanta metro area.
- Your yard is smelly and/or soggy.
- Water gurgles in your sink when you flush the toilet or take a shower.
- A bad smell comes from your drains and is noticeable when you run water in another room.
- You have multiple drains that are clogged, backing up, or drain slowly.
- Sewage clogs on floor drains
These are all signs that your sewer could be clogged. If you can stay ahead of it, you can prevent your basement flooding with the sewage water.
How To Prevent Sewer Line Backups
Routine maintenance is the best way to keep damage and your sewage backup cleanup cost down in the event of a backup. There are a few steps you can take to prevent sewer line backups in your home or business.
- Schedule a sewer line cleaning every three to five years. This can help you remove build-up and prevent clogs.
- Schedule a sewer line inspection every six to ten years. We can detect wear and tear like cracks in aging sewage systems.
- Do not flush diapers, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc. down the toilet.
- Use a hair catcher in your shower and bathtub drains.
- Properly dispose of cooking oil, coffee grounds, and fats instead of pouring them down your drain line, even if you have a garbage disposal. Even after rinsing, when you pour something like grease down the drain, it can solidify once it cools, resulting in a clog.
- Use plastic pipes, like PVC pipes, when replacing your sewer lines. A new plastic pipe is recommended after removing tree roots or other external obstructions. PVC pipes can last up to 100 years!
- Install a backwater prevention valve. Backwater valves can prevent sewer backflows while still allowing sewage to go out of the home’s drain pipes. These are often installed into a sewer line or a drain line in your basement.
What To Do When You Have Sewage Backup In Your Home
If you step down into your basement and discover a sewage backup, don’t panic! There are a few steps you can take immediately for swift action.
If the contaminated water has reached or surpassed electrical outlets, plugs, extension cords, or equipment that burn gas, call us for help immediately. This can be a fire hazard. Only enter the affected areas if your distribution panel and electrical equipment are well below the waterline!
For your safety, we recommend not entering your basement or the area of your sewage backup if the power is on. Standing water and electricity can be a deadly combination. Be sure to turn the power off by tripping the breaker before entering the space so the room is de-energized.
If it is safe to enter the area, make sure you wear protective clothing. This includes waterproof rubber boots, gloves, and eye protection. You can also add some chlorine bleach to the water to help disinfect the affected areas.
Shut Off The Valve & Examine Your Drains
You should shut off the valve for your property’s main water line. Then, examine your drains. If you spot any clogs that you can easily remove, go ahead and clear them. You can also call The Original Plumber for emergency services 24/7.
Don’t Use Your Sinks or Toilets
If the main sewer line is clogged, then using your sinks or toilets can cause the water to back up. It will come through your bathtubs or up through your basement if you use the water supply system before the backup has been cleared. Wait until the issue is fixed before you flush toilets or drain tubs and sinks.
Check the Home Sewer Clean Out
Look for the cap on your basement flood. Our team will need to access this to clear the sewage backup.
Let The Fresh Air In
You want to let fresh air in so you can ventilate the area. An easy way to do this is by opening some windows or doors.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Sewage backups are typically not covered by standard homeowners insurance. However, you’ll still need to be in touch with your insurance company in case there is any damage.
Professional Sewage Removal Services in Atlanta
Let our team of professionals handle sewage backups! Your health, safety, and convenience are important to us. You can rely on The Original Plumber for sewage cleanup and removal services in the Northern Atlanta area.