How much does cleaning up sewage cost?

Posted by Matt Buchanan

A lot of the internet searches that lead people to our site include the phrase ‘how much’. It makes sense because sometimes people aren’t aware their insurance will cover their loss, or they’re considering paying out of pocket even if it is covered. So let’s talk about sewage cleanup service and what you can usually expect in terms of cost.


What costs are associated with sewage backups?


sewage-damage-cleanup-costsYou can typically expect to need 2 different service companies to help you recover from sewage damage. You’ll need a plumber to come out and clear the line that caused the backup, and you’ll need a water damage restoration company to clean up, disinfect and dry the mess. Depending on what areas were affected and what type of water mitigation company you hired, you may also need a 3rd company to assist you: a reconstruction company that can replace all of the surfaces and areas that were removed during the cleanup and drying process.

In this article, we are going to address the cost of cleaning up sewer backups, the phase that should be handled by a certified water damage contractor. But before we share the average cost, it’s important to make one things clear:

All reputable water restoration companies use the same pricing guidelines to do their job. You can call as many restoration companies as you want and you’re going to get roughly the same price because every estimate is going to be generated using the same pricing software. So what is the average cost of cleaning sewage damage?

$7 per square foot of affected area.


What does that sewage cleanup cost entail?


sewage-backup-cleaning-costsWhen we use that $7/square foot figure, it’s important to explain a couple of things. First, that’s simply an average based on nationwide figures. The actual cost could be higher or lower. Second, that figure just includes the cleanup portion of the process. It doesn’t include the cost of hiring a plumber to fix the block in your line that caused the sewer backup in the first place. And it doesn’t include the costs of replacing any items that were removed during the cleanup process. When raw sewage touches porous surfaces, in almost all instances those surfaces will need to be removed and thrown away.

So $7/square foot is the average cost to remove affected areas, apply anti-microbial sprays to stop black mold growth, remove all raw sewage, and then dry out the property. If the sewage backup spread to multiple areas of your home, there could be a significant amount of reconstruction efforts required to get your house back to its pre-loss condition. In these instances, it’s not unusual to see losses that exceed $10,000 even up to $30,000-$50,000.


How do I protect myself financially against a sewer backup?


When you hear prices like that, it makes you sick to your stomach. For some, that’s an impossible amount of money to pay for a service that frankly must be performed. “But what about insurance,” you ask. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover sewer backups. YIKES!

The single best thing you can do to protect yourself against the costs of a sewage backup is to add a sewage backup rider to your homeowners insurance policy. It can cost as little as $40/year and can protect you against the massive costs you might otherwise incur should you ever suffer home sewage damage!

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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