When sewer lines become blocked, the thick, black water that presents as sewage is a health danger, and is tremendously unsanitary as it consists of contaminants such as pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that can present a risk of extreme sickness illness if exposed to people or animals. If you have a sewage backup in your basement, or your toilet has backed up, you will need to repair it quickly, or you will end up with dirty water all over your home or business. Knowing what causes sewer backups, however, may help you avoid a hazardous occurrence in your basement, home or business. Following is a list of items that may help to prevent and handle sewage backups:

Why Sewage Backup Occurs

  • Heavy Rainfall – Excess rains can overwhelm your town or city’s storm sewer system. If this happens, the water can back up into the attached sewer lines bringing your home or business in possible danger of water backflow. Surging rivers and streams, hurricanes and other relevant events can cause flood and sewage waters to blend and present genuine health related problems. You should be extremely cautious when wading in this sort of water, and even stay vigilant after the water recedes and dries up. It’s possible for the organic matter to be aerosolized and able to be inhaled, meaning there’s a chance you could breathe it into your lungs. To stop contact or risk of inhaling these contaminants, legitimate PPE should be worn at all times.
  • Roots from Trees – Trees can have long roots that grow into water or sewer lines and crush or damage them. Damage to pipes and a sewage backup can also be induced by tree roots that aren’t even on your premises. Be very aware of any tree roots that can sprawl into your water and sewer lines that lead to the central sewer line or septic system.
  • Old/Aging Sewer Lines – Older and aging sewage systems are susceptible to crumbling and cracking, inducing sewer backups, flooded basements along with entire home flooding. The older your neighborhood or dwelling may raise the chance of this type of damage occurring.
  • Clogged and Blocked Drain Pipes – If your home or business’s main sewer pipes or drain pipes become clogged, sewage may back up inside the dwelling. A good example is: if a single commode causes a sewage backup, the drains connected to that toilet, or the main drain lines of more toilets, will also suffer backflow flooding.
  • Old and/or Damaged Lines – Older sewage systems have a tendency to fail and crumble, leading to sewer water influx and flooded dwellings full of sewage. If your home or neighborhood is older, the likelihood is greater that you’ll experience impaired sewer lines than newer ones.
  • Copious Rainfall – Heavy and sudden rainfall can defeat your local storm sewer lines promptly. If these public sewer pipes can’t deal with excess waters, water can backup and flow into connected sewer lines. This can put your home or business at risk of backflow problems. Area flood waters from events like surging rivers and creeks, hurricanes, or any rainy weather events can cause clean water to mix with sewage water and other chemicals and contaminants that cause serious health problems. Use extreme caution when wading in this type of water, but also stay cautious when it dries. The dried organic waste can turn airborne and turn respirable. Proper PPE needs to be worn at all times to stop contact and risk inhaling polluted air.
  • Blocked/Clogged Pipes – A fouled pipe or sewer line can cause sewage to back up into your home or business. If only one commode becomes fouled, the sewer water backup can spread down the sewer lines and disturb all linked toilets on that line.
  • Roots from Trees – Tree roots can cause damage to water and sewer lines. The roots from large trees can make their way into and around the lines and damage them tremendously. If the roots under your property are not the cause, roots from closely located trees can cross property lines and ruin your sewer pipes, causing a sewage problem. Be extra aware of all tree roots near your mainline sewer pipes and/or pipes connected to your septic tank.

PuroClean’s process for sewage cleanup and sanitation in Northbrook, IL

Our process for cleaning and restoration of Category 3 water, also known as sewer and contaminated water backup clean up following the IICRC industry standards, is as follows:

1. To protect the safety of all occupants and workers by limiting jobsite access to restoration and cleaning personnel only to help stave off any health related situations.

2. Valuation of the building along with health and safety surveys.

3. Ensure all cleanup and restoration personnel are equipped with the proper personal protection equipment (PPE). This can include but is not limited to:

  • Rubber boots with steel toes and shank
  • Full-face respirator
  • Full body suit protection
  • Nitrile and cut resistant gloves

4. Put into place established engineering controls, critical barriers, to stop cross-contamination.

5. Eliminating any and all probable safety risks if possible.

6. Disposal, removal of bulk sewage water, soil, and contaminates.

7. Eradication and disposal of all contaminated porous and semi-porous material that is not restorable – which can be but is not limited to:

  • Gypsum board (drywall)
  • Carpeting, rugs, pad, and/or underlayment
  • Vinyl flooring and underlayment
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Padded and upholstered objects

8. Implement cleaning methods and use of EPA approved biocides and antimicrobials

9. Manual cleaning of all remaining structure material

10. We suggest using a third-party Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to implement clearance testing to ensure the property is returned to a safe pre-loss condition for health and safety.

11. All materials affected by the flooding to be dried and returned to pre-loss dry standards

12. Post restoration cleaning of all equipment used

13. All materials from demolition process removed completely

Call PuroClean for your Professional Northbrook, IL Sewage Cleanup Needs!

Our technicians use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaning methods to effectively restore and clean the unsound building materials and contents from your dwelling or business. If a sewage drain line backup from blockage happens, call our professionals for sewage removal and cleaning services.

The high measure of our sewage removal and cleaning services along with the speed in which we complete the work, and the sheer compassion we practice throughout the process make PuroClean your complete water damage restoration and remediation company. PuroClean promises to do whatever it takes to rescue, clean and restore all properties that are within our service areas.

*Not all PuroClean offices provide sewage cleanup and sanitation cleaning services.


What is Biohazard?

Biohazards are any biological contaminants such as those found in sewage, mold, or any viral or bacterial contamination such as MRSA. Biohazards also include toxins found in decaying organisms, as well as [...]

What does BBP mean?

Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs), as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), means pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens [...]

Should I wear a face mask to prevent infection?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requests that we all do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  We can do this by avoiding close contact [...]

What is Coronavirus?

“Coronavirus” is an umbrella term for many types of viruses. This group of viruses has been known for decades and can cause respiratory diseases in both people and animals. What [...]

Can I use household products to prevent the Coronavirus?

There is no proven home remedy for this virus.  Extreme heat or cold, nasal saline solutions, eating or applying garlic or onions to the skin, spraying alcohol or chlorine on [...]