Sewage floods are the most damaging type of flood that can occur in your home. These floods are caused by backed-up toilets or septic systems, or by streams that overflow and flood your property. The water--sometimes called black water--is filled with bacteria and other harmful substances that can cause illness and even death. It’s important to know how to properly clean up a sewage flood in a way that won’t put you or your family at risk.
Find the Source
The first step to dealing with a flooded area is to determine what caused the flood in the first place. A broken pipe or backed-up septic system may still be leaking sewage into your home and will need immediate plumbing repair in Anderson, SC. Only then will you be able to completely remove the water and sewage and tackle the damage that’s already been done.
Isolate the Area
If part of your home has been exposed to sewage, close off the affected room immediately to keep children and pets from accidentally entering the area. Even adults should stay out of the area as much as possible to limit exposure to the harmful substances present in sewage. You should open windows to let fresh air in. You may also want to leave an outside door open, as long as you keep your children well away from the open door.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
When working around sewage, it’s important to be aware of the extreme health risks and protect yourself accordingly. The primary danger comes from physical contact, so take steps to avoid letting any sewage touch your skin. Wear goggles, boots, gloves, and protective coveralls while working with sewage to prevent accidental contamination. Rain gear is often a good choice, because it is designed to repel moisture. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after leaving the flooded room, and be sure to disinfect any clothes you wear while working.
Some substances in sewage can also be dangerous when inhaled. Wear a face mask to reduce the amount of pathogens you breathe in. This also helps protect your face against splashes when working in the flooded area.
Throw Out Affected Belongings
Most items affected by sewage should be thrown away, since it is extremely difficult to thoroughly clean them. Put clothes and other washable items in a washing machine. Scrub down nonporous surfaces with a bleach mixture. Everything else--such as carpeting, books, or upholstered furniture--should be thrown away. Hire a dumpster or garbage removal service to safely remove the contaminated items.
Call an Expert
While it’s usually safe to deal with small sewage floods--such as a backed-up toilet--on your own, larger floods should always be handled by professionals. A professional cleaning and restoration team has the resources necessary to stay safe while handling hazardous materials. They can also clean the area much faster than you can on your own, preventing lingering water damage and other problems that may affect your home for months after the flood has been cleaned up. In addition, they have the tools to clean items affected by sewage more thoroughly than you can, so you will probably be able to save more of your belongings.
You can receive compensation from many sewage floods, which will help you pay for cleanup and plumbing repair in Anderson, SC. If a public sewer is responsible for the flood, you may be able to receive compensation from your local water company. Your homeowner’s insurance may also cover certain types of flooding and water damage. Take pictures of the affected area before cleaning it up so that you can show the extent of the damage. Keep records and receipts of anything you pay during the repair process.
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