What to Do During a Sewage Backup

Few problems homeowners face are as gross and concerning as a sewage backup. When gunk begins bubbling up through your shower drain, sink drain, or toilet, your first instinct is to panic.

While it’s a yucky task to face, quick action can minimize the damage. Here’s what to do in the event of a backup.

Why Sewage Backups Happen

Your drainage system is an extensive network of interconnected pipes underground, which means there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Here are just a few scenarios that can cause a backup.

Heavy rains overwhelm the sewer system: If you find yourself bracing for a sewage backup when the forecast calls for heavy rains, you likely have cracks in your drain lateral. The lateral is your private sewer pipe that transports wastewater to the municipal sewer pipe. If your lateral is cracked, rainwater can seep into the line. When there’s more water than the pipe can transport, sewage goes back up the drain.

A clog is forcing water back up: When wastewater can’t get past an obstruction of a drain line, increasing pressure will cause it to reverse course. Any number of things can cause a clog, from so-called flushable wipes to tree roots.

Your septic system is too full: If your home has a septic system, you’ll need to have it pumped at least every other year. Failing to do this will result in a sewage backup.

What to Do in the Event of a Backup

If you come home to find a nasty surprise, such as overflow from a toilet, you’ll want to mop up the mess fast! Sewage leaking through every crack and crevice is an obvious health hazard.

  • First, turn off the breaker to the room at the panel to prevent an electric shock.
  • Wear protective gear. This should include rubber boots, gloves, goggles, and a mask.
  • Open the windows for ventilation.
  • Use a wet-dry vac to get as much water out as possible.
  • Dry everything: carpet, drywall, furniture -- whatever’s wet. Consider buying or renting an industrial-grade air mover and dehumidifier.
  • Thoroughly sanitize the space.

How to Prevent a Sewage Backup

A sewage backup isn’t inevitable. Consider having your sewer line inspected annually. At Integrated Plumbing Solutions, our drain line installation and repair technicians in Atlanta use video technology to pinpoint the problem so that they can make an effective repair. That might mean jetting or snaking the drain to remove the blockage, or worst-case scenario, replacing your drain line. Our No. 1 goal is to get your drain flowing again and preventing another messy backup. To schedule your appointment, call (770) 343-7370.