Sewage Backup | A Nasty Surprise For Phoenix Homes & Businesses
Sewage backup is a common headache for property owners caused by a blockage in either the building’s own sewage line or the city’s municipal sanitary main. The blockage makes it impossible for wastewater to drain away from the property and forces it into drainage pipes where it backs up into sinks, showers, bathtubs, and other drains.
Extreme cases of sewage backup can cause flooding in homes (especially basements) and lawns, which can cause considerable water damage. What’s more, a variety of dangerous microorganisms thrive in sewage which can cause potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Sewage backup is particularly damaging to businesses for this reason. Most state health codes require that a business shut down completely in the event of a sewage backup – and remain closed until the problem is fixed and cleaned up properly. These policies are rightfully in place to protect patrons, but can result in significant monetary losses for the business.
Causes Of Sewer Blockage & Sewage Backup
Sewage backup can be caused by any kind of blockage in the sewer line or sanitary main. The most common of these blockages include:
- Plant Invasion – Tree roots, grasses, and vines can invade plumbing through joints and small imperfections in the pipes. As they continue to grow, a blockage can occur and result in sewage backup.
- Grease & Cooking Oil – As grease or oil cools, it coalesces into a solid mass that can cause a blockage. Never dispose of fat, grease, butter, or vegetable oil in a plumbing drain.
- Paper Products – While toilet paper is formulated to break down easily in water specifically to avoid it causing a blockage, paper towels and sanitary or baby wipes are not. Never flush or dispose of paper products – other than septic-safe toilet paper – in a drain.
- Food – Kitchen drains that do not have a screen are an excellent source of blockage, as food and other small objects can be washed into the pipes and cause blockages.
Properly using drains and toilets is the first defense against sewage backup. However, even if all precautions are taken, unavoidable blockages may still occur – such as blockages caused by fecal matter or blockages in the municipal main. Click here to learn how to clean a sewage backup
How To Stop Sewage Backup
Once you’ve experienced a sewage backup it’s a safe bet that you’ll want to do everything in your power to prevent it happening again. To help stop sewage backup from becoming a common and costly occurrence, consider the following.
- Keep pipes and plumbing in good, working condition to prevent damage that may result in sewage backup.
- Maintain the foliage on your property – especially trees and bushes that grow near pipes.
- Ensure that no one on the property is flushing paper towels, wipes, or feminine hygiene products down the toilet.
- Invest in a floor drain plug – a device which is designed to confine sewage backup to your basement, especially during heavy rains.
- Install a standpipe in your basement which can contain sewage backup in a pipe until the problem can be repaired.
- Consider an overhead sewer – a special sump pump that forces sewage into drainage pipes above ground level where it can drain by gravity.
- Install a backup valve to stop the water in the sewage pipe before it can back-up into your home or business.
While many have found success with one or more of the techniques above, it may still be possible that sewage backup can occur in some circumstances. However, you are certain to see fewer problems quickly with these methods.
Cleaning Sewage Backup From Phoenix, Arizona Properties
While some small backups – such as in sinks or bathtubs – can be cleaned with the proper protective equipment (such as gloves, masks, and goggles) and a solution of bleach, larger spills may take a more professional approach.
Remember, however, that raw sewage is considered a biohazard – and for good reason. Sewage is a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, such as E. Coli, which can lead to lethal infections. For larger spills and backup, consult with a professional sewage cleanup team that can handle the clean-up safely and professionally.