First Choice Restoration

Sewage Backup and How to Prevent It


Philadelphia, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/06/2018 --No one wants sewage backed up into their home or office space. Not only because of the resulting water damage but also because of the contamination that lurks in the sewage that can cause illness or death. Damage caused by sewage backup should only be cleaned by a trained water damage professional.

Health Affects

As discussed above the waste in this type of backup includes contamination that can result in illness or death. Sewage contamination accounts for about 2 million cases of illness per year according to the National Resources Defense Council. Some of the most common conditions caused by bacteria in sewage are:

1. E. Coli. This is potentially deadly. Symptoms include: abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

2. Salmonella. Symptoms include abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

3. Hepatitis. This causes liver inflammation and can lead to liver failure.

4. Leptospirosis. Symptoms include vomiting and muscle aches.

5. Acanthamoeba. This leads to infection of the eyes, nose, ears, and throat.

6. Helicobacter Pylori. This increases the risk of ulcers.

Causes and Warning Signs

Backups are usually caused by a clogged sewer line, which can be impossible to spot. However, there are some signs of a clogged sewer line that can appear.

1. Several Drains are Backed Up. If several drains are experiencing backups or trouble draining (i.e. sinks, bathtubs, toilets) there could be a clog in the sewer line.

2. Backups in Strange Places. If using one plumbing fixtures causes a backup in a different plumbing fixture, this could mean there is nowhere for the water to go.

3. Sewer Cleanout Backup. A sewer cleanout is usually a pipe, white or black in color, that extends from the building. This pipe allows access to the sewer line. If this pipe is full of water, then there is a good chance that the sewer line is clogged.

If it is determined that the sewer line is clogged, then the property owner must determine what clogged the line. There are many things that can cause a sewer line to become clogged. Some of the most common cause are as follows:

1. Roots. Tree roots and roots from bushes can infiltrate sewer lines as they look for moisture in the soil. This can easily cause a blockage.

2. Structural Defects. Structural issues in the foundation that can affect the sewer lines can also put the sewer lines at risk for blockage.

3. Flushing the Toilet. Do not flush anything down the toilet that isn't supposed to be flushed. This includes: flushable wipes, solid objects, paper towels, etc.

4. Blockage in the City Sanitary Main. Occasionally the main sanitary line for the city can get clogged and cause backups through floor drains in nearby house and buildings.

5. Wet Weather and Flooding in or near the building

6. Broken, blocked, or leaking pipes.


There are plenty of things that are out of a property owners control to prevent sewage backups. However, there are also plenty of things that a property owner can do to help prevent sewage backups.

1. Seal any cracks in the foundation of the building and waterproof the basement.

2. Do not wash grease down the drain as it might harden and clog the pipes.

3. Plumbing fixtures in the basement should be removed or raised. This includes sinks, toilets, and washing machines.

4. Do not flush anything down the toilet other than toilet paper.

5. Sewer lines can be replaced with plastic piping to prevent root infiltration.

6. A Sump pump can be installed into the basement to pump out excess water.

7. Drain trappers can be used in bathtubs and sinks to catch hair and large items that might clog the pipes.

Property owners who experience sewage backups should call a water damage restoration company.

About First Choice Restoration
First Choice Restoration is a water, mold, fire, and smoke remediation company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The company also operates additional offices throughout other areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. The company has been assisting homeowners and businesses with water, mold, fire, and smoke cleanup for over 40 years.