Flooding and Sewage Damage

Flooding and Sewage Damage

Have you had sewage backup or flood in your home, office or school? Are you concerned that you and others are exposed to fecal pathogens and other contaminants associated with floodwaters? Give Indoor Science a call at (312) 920-9393 and we can provide you with a quote for evaluating your property.

What should I do following a sewage backup?

Unless the area affected by sewage is relatively small, it is recommended to hire a water damage professional to help dry and decontaminate the space. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a restoration contractor, you should follow some general principles that are outlined in a publication from the EPA.  You or the contractor may inadequately clean and decontaminate the affected area. We have seen many rooms that appear to be dry and clean, but sampling reveals the presence of fecal bacteria and other contaminants.

We do not perform contracting work such as drying and cleaning. Our key role is to check the work of the contractors to ensure that fecal bacteria has been physically removed and that the space is acceptable for re-occupancy.  We commonly find deficiencies, which are not visible to the naked eye.  This results in the contractor being required to re-clean the areas.

Depending on the extent of the damage, we may also recommend performing a mold assessment.

What fecal pathogens are found in sewage?

Depending on the source of the floodwater and sewage, there may be a number of different fecal pathogens now present in your property. Some of the most significant fecal pathogens that might be found after sewage backup or flooding include:

  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Hepatitis A
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Vibrio
  • Shigella
  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium
  • noroviruses

The clearance testing we typically perform does not measure all of these fecal pathogens directly. Rather, we use indicators which are easier to measure and analyze in the laboratory.

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