A landlord recently telephoned our company. She was dealing with a sewage overflow in an apartment in a rather large apartment building. Hers was an emergency situation that demanded immediate assistance. Our company was able to intervene and undertake sewage overflow remediation immediately.
Eco Bear’s fee for the sewage overflow cleanup in the apartment was $1,500. No hidden fees or additional costs were not disclosed before we undertook the sewage overflow cleanup. The costs of the cleanup were not due and owing by the apartment building’s owners until the work was completely concluded to the client’s total satisfaction.
Overview of the Most Common Causes of Residential Sewage Overflow
In this case, the sewage overflow may have been caused by something the tenant did regarding the toilet in the unit. With that said, several causes of residential sewage overflow are more commonplace in California residences (and residential properties across the country). These include:
- Clogs in sewer lines
- Tree roots in sewer lines
- Old or damaged sewer lines
- Heavy rainfall
- Sewer system backups
Clogs in Sewer Lines
One of the most common causes of sewage overflow is a sewer line clogging. This can be caused by flushing inappropriate materials down the toilet, such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and grease. These materials do not break down quickly, leading to blockages in the sewer line. When the sewer line is clogged, sewage can back up into homes and yards.
To prevent clogs in the sewer line, homeowners and other residential property owners should avoid flushing inappropriate materials down the toilet. They should also consider installing drain screens to catch debris that may clog the sewer line.
Tree Roots in the Sewer Lines
Tree roots can grow into the sewer line and cause blockages and damage to the pipes. This is particularly common in older homes with mature trees in the yard. As the tree roots grow, they can penetrate the sewer line and cause cracks and leaks. When the sewer line is damaged, sewage can overflow into homes and yards.
As a strategy of preventing tree roots from growing into the sewer line, homeowners should consider planting trees away from the sewer line. They should also inspect the sewer line regularly to identify potential tree root problems.
Old or Damaged Sewer Lines
Age, corrosion, or other factors can damage sewer lines. This can lead to cracks, leaks, and other problems that can cause sewage overflow. In older homes, the sewer line may be made of outdated materials, such as clay or cast iron, which can deteriorate over time.
To prevent sewage overflow due to old or damaged sewer lines, homeowners should have the sewer line inspected regularly by a professional. They should also consider replacing the sewer line if it is outdated or damaged.
Heavy rainfall can overwhelm the sewer system and cause sewage to back up into homes and yards. This is particularly common in areas with outdated sewer systems not equipped to handle heavy rainfall. When the sewer system is overwhelmed, sewage can overflow into homes and yards.
Sewage overflow due to heavy rainfall can be prevented by installing a sump pump or a backwater valve. These devices can help prevent sewage from backing up into homes and yards during heavy rainfall.
Sewer System Backups
Sewer system backups can occur due to problems with the municipal sewer system, such as clogs or broken pipes. When this happens, sewage can flow back up into homes and yards. Sewer system backups are particularly common during heavy rainfall or when the sewer system is overloaded.
A strategy to prevent sewage overflow due to sewer system backups, homeowners should contact their local municipality to report any problems with the sewer system. They should also consider installing a backwater valve to prevent sewage from flowing back into their homes during a sewer system backup.
Health Risks of Exposure to Sewage Overflow
Finally, a primary reason why retaining a professional to undertake sewage overflow cleanup is to protect health. The reality is that exposure to sewage associated with a residential overflow, including the type involved in this apartment emergency, can present the potential for significant health risks. Examples of these health risks include:
- Gastrointestinal illness: Sewage overflow can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Skin infections: Contact with sewage overflow can lead to skin infections, including cellulitis, abscesses, and rashes.
- Respiratory problems: Sewage overflow can release harmful gases, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, which can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Eye and ear infections: Exposure to sewage overflow can cause eye and ear infections, including conjunctivitis and otitis externa.
- Hepatitis A: Sewage overflow can contain the hepatitis A virus, which can cause liver inflammation and other symptoms.
- Tetanus: Sewage overflow can contain the bacteria that cause tetanus, leading to muscle stiffness, spasms, and other symptoms.
- Leptospirosis: Sewage overflow can contain the bacteria that cause leptospirosis, which can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, and other symptoms.