Sewage break? You’re probably feeling a tad overwhelmed.
First of all, if your sewer pipe recently broke, we feel for you. We really do! The mess can be a little short of dreadful. (The smell! The “Ewwwwwww!!!!” factor!) And the amount of work that will be involved in repairing the pipe and cleaning up the mess is going to take some time.
To help you in the break’s aftermath, we’ve put together a short “to-do list” for you. Follow these steps and you’ll probably find that the break is less stressful than it could have been.
Steps to Take
- If the break is in your basement, open the sewer trap.
Doing so means the sewage flow will go directly out to your public sewer. But make sure to open the cap that is closer to your home’s front; opening the cap on the house side could make the sewage flow into your home even worse.
- You’ll then want to call a plumber and start cleaning up as much as possible.
The plumber will need to come to your home to find where the break in the sewage line is before he can even start to fix it. He’ll need a camera for this job, so it’s not something you can do yourself. But you can start some of the mop-up while you wait for the plumber to arrive.
- Don’t let the elderly or children near the area!
Sewage is, well, poop and urine! And poop and urine can be full of bacteria. You don’t want children or frail older folks to become ill, so never let them walk around the mess with you.
- Find your electric and/or gas utility box(es) and shut off the electricity/gas to the affected area.
If that’s not possible, call your gas and utility providers to turn off the electricity/gas. Never touch a plugged-in electric cord, fuse box, or appliance wet with the effluent until the electricity is off. Don’t write any tipped-over appliances. Don’t light any matches until the gas is turned off.
- Some first steps for cleanup.
You’re probably going to have to hire a restoration company to fully clean up the mess once the effluent no longer backs up or flows into your basement or first floor, but you can do some things yourself.
- Drain the sewage via a pump or natural draining.
- Remove soil and sewage detritus from all affected surfaces.
- Wash all walls, floors, and other surfaces touched by the sewage. Use clean warm/hot water and a low-suds detergent.
- Rinse with warm/hot water.
- Sanitize the walls, surfaces, and floors with a mixture of Lysol and water (2.5 tablespoons of Lysol per gallon of water), or use laundry bleach with water (8 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water).
- Air the affected area with fans or open windows.
Unless they can be disinfected, discard all carpeting, rugs, bedding, curtains, toys, clothing, furniture, etc. that were touched by the effluent.
If your sewer line has broken or if you suspect a sewage backup (you should start to smell foul odors), call upon the sewer-line experts at Plumbing Dynamics to help you find the break and repair the pipe.