We got an interesting call today. A homeowner got home to discover they had about 4 inches of black raw sewage in their basement bathroom and there were maggots in the filth. We don’t need to say it, but we will anyways: that is NOT a situation you should ever consider trying to cleanup on your own. This homeowner was wise enough to understand the situation was dire and called us. We deal with raw sewage in basements all the time, so we know exactly what we’re up against. But occasionally a brave (or foolish, depending on how you want to look at it) homeowner will decide they can cleanup the mess on their own…big mistake and here’s why.
If you have sewage damage in your basement due to a clogged sewer line, the first thing you need to understand is that the situation down there is toxic. It’s not just a smelly problem, it’s a potential life-threatening problem, especially for people with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems. There is a reason when we show up to a sewage cleanup job we are covered head-to-toe in hazmat suits, eye protection, and respirators. The toxins in raw sewage can make even a healthy young adult very sick. And please don’t think you can just put on rubber boots and gloves and you’ll be good. Just breathing in the fumes from the air can make you sick, not to mention if you were to get feces in your eyes, mouth or in an open wound.
In some instances, a small water damage job isn’t such a big deal. Many times they can be pretty straightforward, to the point where a reasonably knowledgeable homeowner with the right equipment can get everything dry safely. But when it comes to sewage damage in basements, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, the industry norm for sewer cleanup services is to dispose of any porous surfaces that the water touches. That means walls, floors, subfloors, carpets, cabinets, furniture…if it’s been touched, it has to go. So even throwing those things away becomes a biohazard situation. It’s not as simple as throwing everything in a trashcan and waiting for the garbage truck to haul everything away. We have to use specialized bags to dispose of effected surfaces and items, and they must be taken to designated biohazard stations where they can be properly disposed of.
And that’s just the first part, never mind the process of disinfecting and then drying all of the affected areas. Does this seem like something you can safely handle on your own? Of course not!
If you have a basement with raw sewage in it, please feel free to give us a call. We’ve dealt with these situations for years and would be happy to provide you with our professional opinion as to what needs to be done. Along with that, of course, would be a price estimate for the work. In many case when a sewer line backs up, the damage is covered by insurance. If that describes your situation, we can work directly with your insurance provider to quickly handle the mitigation work and settle the bill for our service directly with them!
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!This entry was posted in Sewage Cleanup. Bookmark the permalink.