The Dangers of DIY sewage cleanup

Posted by Matt Buchanan

If you’re like most homeowners, when faced with a task or question you probably head to the internet for answers…it’s how you found this article!  And if you’re dealing with backed-up sewage that has come up and is residing in your home, it only takes a few seconds of searching to find hundreds of articles describing how to clean-up sewage.

It goes like this:

() Put on some rubber gloves

() Scoop out the waste

() Take some water and bleach solution and apply it to the affected areas

() Let it dry

Most articles will throw out a caveat saying ‘if you’re not sure whether you can do it or don’t have the proper equipment, it is best to call a professional’.

We’d like to throw out another caveat:

Cleaning up raw sewage on your own is something you should never do.  Here’s why:

#1 – It can be deadly – that’s not meant to scare you, it’s simply the truth.  Raw sewage commonly contains nasty bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause serious illness and even death if contracted.  Things like salmonella, giardia, E-coli, round worms, tetanus, and hepatitis-A.  You don’t have to be the head doctor at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to know that’s a list of nasty stuff that you don’t want anything to do with.

 

# 2 – It can be hidden – any restoration professional can tell you stories about customers that decided to clean-up their own feces only to call in weeks or months later complaining about smells and disfigured walls, cabinets, and floors.  Sewage will find its way into any and all porous surfaces.  Even things like drywall and cabinetry aren’t safe.  And it’s not as simple as just spotting the sewage with your eyes.

It requires state of the art equipment to identify areas that have been damaged by sewage.  So unless you have an infrared detection system handy and know how to use it, call a pro!

 

#3 – It can be costly – times are difficult for everyone and money is tight.  It’s easy to justify doing it yourself instead of paying to have a professional clean and disinfect for you.  But today’s shortcut is tomorrow’s nightmare.  Again, you’re dealing with a toxic situation that if not handled properly can create very real health dangers for you and your family.  Not only that, if not properly mitigated, you could be looking at a serious mold issue in the not so distant future on top of all the other issues described above.  And if you think sewage cleanup is costly, wait until you’re stuck holding the bill for professional mold remediation services!  At least your sewage clean-up is covered by insurance…that’s typically not the case if you’ve got mold and it’s the result of you not taking the appropriate measures when dealing with the sewage issue that created the mold!

So if it’s the case you’ve stumbled upon this article due to a sewage back-up that’s spilled into your home or office, do yourself a favor and call a professional that is certified to perform raw sewage cleanup and can provide a clearance test deeming your inhabitance safe to be in.  It’s well worth the peace of mind.

 

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About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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