Preventing Sewage Water Damage

It goes without saying that of all the different types of water damage that can affect your home, sewage water damage is far and away the worst.  Without getting graphic, sewage contains various and sundry contaminants that can cause serious discomfort and illness if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals.  It therefore becomes vitally important to properly maintain your home sewer systems and make sure that they don’t have the chance to get clogged and backed up.

Sewage water damage prevention

Sewer lines have a number of sources, not just your toilet, but also tub drainage lines, garbage disposal lines, shower, and laundry waste lines.  Not to mention storm drains or other avenues that empty into your sewer system.

Sewage cleanout photo

Sewage line cleanout preventing sewage water damage

Sometimes mud or yard waste gets into sewer lines, and tree roots may even penetrate the sewage system.  Homeowners may also tend to try and flush items such as feminine hygiene products, or kitchen paper towels down the toilet (I’ll give you a piece of advice….they won’t go down).  Likewise for your garbage disposal, not everything is meant to be run through it. Don’t empty cooking oil down your garbage disposal – rather empty it into a jar and throw the jar out.

Garbage disposals are easy enough; always run water before, during, and after placing any material in the unit, and make sure food items are properly chopped up into smaller pieces.  This will prevent the unit from getting stopped up.  Avoid trying to run anything fibrous through the disposal such as banana peels, onion skins, corn husks and cobs, or celery.  You may also want to run ice through the unit to keep blades clean to prevent clogging.  If you have something a bit fatty, dilute it with a bit of dishwasher detergent and it will go down a bit easier. For getting rid of that garbage smell that builds up over time, try dropping a lemon down there once in a while to freshen it up a bit.

Believe it or not, sanitary sewer lines are designed to only accept toilet paper and human waste.  Anything else runs the risk of causing blockages, backup, and overflow.  Do not flush the following items down your sewer line: feminine sanitary products; dental floss; Q-Tips; prophylactics; Handi-Wipes; Baby Wipes; diapers; dead goldfish (or other small deceased pets); paper towels; facial tissue.

Storm drains can bring with them an incredible amount of debris, which can block up sewer lines and cause serious backflow and flooding.  Standpipes or backwater valves may be installed to cut down on the level of flooding, but depending on the level of the water, it may not be wholly preventable.

Of course, mentioning those devices…proper maintenance should be carried out on a regular basis to keep these units functioning at peak efficiency.

As always, taking proper action beforehand prevents problems from occurring later.  Establishing a preventative maintenance schedule is highly recommended.  Rodding is the most commonly used method for clearing clogged lines, involving the use of a rodding machine, cable, and cutting head.  The cutting head is attached to the end of the cable that is then lowered into the affected line. The idea is to cut through any blockages that may be developing and thus prevent sewage water damage

For individuals unfamiliar with this problem, the “side sewer” leading from the residence to the primary city sewer line at street level is the burden of the owner of the residence. Homeowners must have their pipes snaked or de-rooted by sewer line cleaning companies or plumbers annually. Chemical remedies can assist in keeping lines clear of tree roots amid visits.

Copper sulfate is easily available and considered ideal for clearing a line of roots, however it can harm or ruin the tree. Copper sulfate is know to be harmful to fish. You’ll find limitations on its utilization through specific times of the season (for concern about it getting into bodies of water specifically in flooding situations). You will find a few alternate options that consist of dichlobenil (Casoron) as well as enzymes. RootX is offered primarily to experts; however, Foaming Root Killer is widely accessible to the general public.

Because roots tend to be the greatest trouble for side sewers, you will need to know where your sewer line is, to organize gardens accordingly and also to eliminate problem plants if it persistently causes problems.

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Remember, that water damage mitigation doesn’t have to be something that happens after the disaster has occurred.  By simply adopting some common sense habits, coupled with an effective preventive maintenance schedule, you should be able to keep your sewers functioning at peak efficiency and the sewage where it belongs…..underground and out of your house.

Call your local Clean Trust provider for all of your water damage problems and questions.  We offer same day service in most cases and all work is guaranteed.

Click on the following link for more information on sewage damage and categories of water damage

About Dan Camara

Dan Camara is the CEO of PuroClean Home Rescue in Sacramento. We have been helping the good folks of Northern California with water damage dryouts, mold removal and fire cleanups for nearly 5 years now. Connect with me on Google+
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