Sewer Backup Emergencies
Sewage contamination can come from a variety of sources:
- Sewer lines that get plugged by roots or other material that will not break down and then cause a backup through floor drains, shower drains or toilets.
- Water that flows from ground sources into the home whether from river flooding or extreme rains that force an overflow in a city's storm sewer system.
- Rural sewage pump out systems where the pump fails or the line plugs or freezes.
There has been so much concern over the dangers of mold contamination that the seriousness of sewage contamination got lost in the media attention. An attendee at one of the courses I was part of in Burlington Washington said that someone had called their firm requiring emergency services for a sewer backup and, for the home owner, this backup had to be dealt with quickly before there was a chance that mold would grow. Not to down play the concern for mold, the sewage was a major immediate concern for this household. What are the concerns associated with sewage contamination?
The Microorganisms of Concern In Sewage Contamination Are:
- E-coli (Escherichia coli), indicator of sewage contamination, source of endotoxin, cause of diarrhea, food poisoning
- Salmonella, food poisoning, diarrhea
- Shigella, Life-threatening
- Pseudomonas, endotoxin source, wound infections
- Giardia, results in severe intestinal disease
- Cryptosporidium, also results in chronic and severe intestinal disease
- Round worms and Helminthes (Tape Worms)
Viruses (>120 species):
- Hepatitis A, causing liver inflammation
- Adenoviruses, causing eye and respiratory infection
- Rotavirus, can cause life threatening diarrhea in children
Routes of Transmission:
- Ingestion is the Main Route
- Skin and Puncture Wounds
Warning for Occupants of Home Affected by Sewage Contaminants:
- Treat any back-flow from a drain in the floor as a potentially serious contamination issue. Even if it happened during the washing cycle and the water appears clear, it may contain microscopic organisms. Get a professional to assess the problem.
- Do not walk in affected area without proper footwear such as rubber boots and then abstain from walking into unaffected areas of the home with the same boots. During flu outbreaks in Camrose, I have come to clean feces material out of the carpet and found the residents walking on contaminated carpet and into non-contaminated areas, thus spreading the virus. Please take precautions!
As a Certified Firm with the IICRC, Super Bee is able to offer expertize under the category of Applied Microbial Remediation Technician and is also has the distinction of having a Master Restorer to supervise the work. This invaluable experience and training is one reason why you should make Super Bee your first call in sewer back-up emergencies.
Super Bee has been serving East Central Alberta since 1980.