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What is a sewage backup?

A sewage backup is the overflow of wastewater into your home from your plumbing system.

What can cause a sewage backup?

Heavy rainstorms, floods, and blockages in the sewer lines can cause the plumbing system to backup. Sewage backups can contaminate drinking water and household items.

What are the potential health effects of a sewage backup?

Water contaminated with sewage may carry disease- causing germs (such as bacteria, viruses and parasites) which can make you sick when exposed.  Some symptoms may include:

  • gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains)
  • skin infections and rashes

What to do immediately after a sewage backup?

  • Do not use your plumbing. This would include flushing of toilets, running taps or any appliances that use water.
  • Turn off power to the flooded area.
  • Stay away from the sewage water.
  • Wear rubber gloves, rubber boots, and eye protection when handling anything contaminated with sewage. Wash hands immediately afterwards.
  • Do not eat or drink anything exposed to sewer water.

Who should you contact if you have a sewage backup?

You can contact:

  • Landlord if it is a rental property
  • Local health department if the landlord fails to fix the problem
  • Insurance provider (if you have sewer backup coverage)
  • Licensed professional or local building department

How do I clean up after a sewage backup?

For directions for clean up, please see section Clean Up After Floods

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Last modified: 
Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 3:55pm