Health Risks from Sewage Backup


One of the worst plumbing problems anyone can imagine has got to be backed-up sewage. It is a real nightmare when the contents of your sewage pipes escape and spread all over your home or basement. Quite apart from the sickness factor, it is extremely unhygienic, and can lead to disease and contamination. This is a problem that many people face. Unfortunately, sewage backup occurs more often than anyone cares to admit. So, it is imperative that every homeowner knows what to do in the event of a sewage backup.

Why does it happen?

 Sewage backup can have a lot of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Structurally weak pipes
  • Weather or temperature changes
  • Flushing of items that are not meant to be flushed
  • Defects in the pipe structure
  • Pipe leakages, breakages or blockage
  • Poor sewage line planning

Risks associated with sewage backup

Sewage backups present a massive health risk to homeowners and residents. The contents of a sewage pipe can cause major contamination, culminating in disease, sickness, and even death. According to reports by the National Resources Defense Council, sewage backup causes close to 2 million cases of illness every year. Not only does sewage contain an array of disease causing virus and bacteria, it may also contain contaminants like pesticides, pharmaceutical drug remnants, fungi and protozoa.

Some of the health risks associated with sewage backup are:

  • Diarrhea- It is caused by the E.coli bacteria, and can have symptoms like loose bowels, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.
  • Hepatitis- It can lead to liver damage, and possible liver failure. Salmonella-The symptoms can include severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

To prevent sewage backup issues, make sure the plumbing in your house is strongly built and updated according to the latest safety guidelines. Also, do not try to flush large plastic items or polythene bags down the toilet. Keep your home and bathroom clean, hygienic and sanitary, and the plumbing checked regularly to avoid issues like sewage backup. A clean bathroom is a healthy bathroom.