When sewer lines become blocked, the thick, black water that forms as sewage is a health risk, and is extremely unsanitary as it consists of contaminants like pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that may pose a risk of severe illness if exposed to people or pets. If you have a sewer backed up in your basement, or your toilet has backed up, you will need to fix it quickly, or you will end up with sewage all over your floors. Knowing the cause of sewer backups, however, may help you prevent a hazardous occurrence in your basement, home or business. Here’s a list of items that may help to prevent and handle sewage backups:

Causes of Sewage Backup

  • Heavy Rainfall – Excess rains can overpower your town or city’s storm sewer mainlines. If this happens, the waste can back up into the connected 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 serious health related problems. You should be immensely cautious when walking in this sort of water, and even stay watchful after the water recedes and dries up. It’s possible for the organic matter to turn aerosolized and respirable, meaning there’s a chance you could inhale it into your lungs. To stop contact or risk of breathing in these contaminants, proper 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 break them. Damage to pipes and a sewer backup can also be induced by tree roots that aren’t even on your property. Be keenly aware of any tree roots that can sprawl into your water and sewer lines that lead to the main sewer line or septic system.
  • Old/Aging Sewer Lines – Older and aging sewage structures are susceptible to crumbling and cracking, causing sewer backups, flooded basements along with entire home flooding. The older your neighborhood or home may raise the threat of this type of damage occurring.
  • Clogged and Blocked Drain Pipes – If your home or business’s main sewer line 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 lines connected to that toilet, or the main drain lines of more toilets, will also become backed up.
  • Old and/or Damaged Lines – Aging sewage systems have a propensity to suffer damage and crack, leading to sewage backups and flooded dwellings full of sewage. If your home or neighborhood is older, the chance is greater that you’ll experience impaired sewer lines than newer ones.
  • Copious Rainfall – Heavy and sudden downpours can overwhelm your local storm sewer lines rapidly. If these public sewer mains can’t deal with excess downpours, 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 similar 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 waste, but also remain cautious once it dries. The dried organic material can turn airborne and turn respirable. The right PPE needs to be worn at all times to stop contact and risk inhaling tainted air.
  • Blocked/Clogged Pipes – A clogged pipe or sewer line can cause sewage to back up into your dwelling or business. If only one commode becomes fouled, the sewage backup can spread on to the sewer lines and disturb all connected toilets on that line.
  • Roots from Trees – Tree roots can be harmful to water and sewer lines. The roots from large trees can grow into and around the lines and damage them excessively. If the roots on your property are not the problem, roots from nearby trees can extend under property lines and ruin your sewer line, causing a sewage issue. Be super aware of all tree roots near your mainline sewer pipes and/or pipes connected to your septic tank.

Our Wood Dale, IL sewage cleanup and sanitation process

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

1. Ensure the safety of all personnel and occupants by managing onsite access to restoration personnel only to prevent health-related dangers

2. Assessment of the work place along with health and safety surveys.

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

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

4. Establish engineering controls, critical barriers if suitable to prevent cross-contamination.

5. Preventing all potential dangers and safety risks if possible.

6. Bulk water, soil, and contaminates removal

7. Remove and dispose of all contaminated porous and semi-porous materials that are not able to be restored, which could include but is not limited to:

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

8. Implement cleaning procedures and use of EPA certified biocides and antimicrobials

9. Full physical cleaning of all structure items that remain

10. A third-party Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is recommended to perform clearance testing, to ensure the building is returned to a pre-loss condition for health and safety.

11. All materials affected by excess waters are to be dried and returned to pre-loss dry condition

12. All equipment used on the project to be cleaned after restoration completion

13. All demo materials removed from the building

For the Perfect Professional Wood Dale, IL Sewage Cleanup Company, Call PuroClean Today!

PuroClean technicians put to use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaning procedures to effectively restore and clean the affected building materials and items from your home or business. If a sewage drain pipe backup from blockage happens, call our highly trained staff for sewage removal and cleaning services.

The professional nature of PuroClean’s sewage removal and cleaning services, the expeditious way in which we deliver them, and the kindness we demonstrate throughout the entire process make PuroClean your perfect damage restoration and remediation company. We promise to do whatever it takes to restore and rescue properties in all the neighborhoods we serve.

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


How can I sterilize my home after taking care of a patient with the Coronavirus?

Cleaning your home after it has been compromised by someone with the Coronavirus infection is an important followup to keeping yourself and your family members safe.  Be sure to thoroughly [...]

How can I properly disinfect my home to keep it germ-free during my pregnancy after someone sick has visited my home?

As of March 17, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not have information specifically regarding how pregnant women are reacting to COVID-19 exposure. However, it should be noted [...]

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 [...]

Will my insurance cover crime scene cleanup?

Insurance policies have many variables, while Crime Scene or Biohazard cleanup is often covered, you must consult your insurance broker or agent to determine your specific coverages. [...]

Is blood a biohazard?

Blood itself is not a biohazard, it’s what may be in the blood that is potentially hazardous, such as bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) or infectious microorganisms, that can cause diseases. [...]