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What Causes Sewer Backup?

sewer pipeSewer backup can happen in anyone’s home, and one of the most important steps you can take in the cleanup process is a bacterial screening. A bacterial screening will ensure that you are safe while you do cleaning and restoration. One of three problems usually causes sewer backup, but before you begin cleanup you need to ensure that it is safe.

Three Main Causes of Sewer Backup

The three main causes of sewer backup are:

  • Clog
  • Tree roots
  • Broken sewer lines

Just like the pipes in your house, your main sewer line can become clogged. This can cause sewage to backup into your home. You may just have a clogged drain if it is one sink or toilet giving you problems, but if you get sewage backup every time you flush your toilet then you probably have a sewer clog.

You can avoid clogging a sewer line by not using your toilet as a wastebasket. This means avoid flushing diapers, napkins, and facial tissue.  You should also avoid dumping large quantities of food down your garbage disposal as this can also become lodged in your sewer line. Do not pour grease and fat down the drain as they can collect debris and cause a clog.

Tree roots can also cause sewer backup into your home. Tree roots can both grow into the sewer lines and cause a blockage or they can crush your sewer line. Even if you do not have trees around your sewer lines, a tree from a neighbor’s house could cause problems.

Older homes can have cast iron or clay sewer pipes that can break down over time or collapse. Most new homes have plastic sewer lines, but if your home is older, you may have to worry about this type of damage.

What is Bacterial Screening?

Bacterial screening is necessary if you have water damage in your home from sewer backup. Samples are taken of the water and any surfaces that have been damaged by the water. These samples are tested for bacteria like fecal coliform. If this type of bacteria is found, you will need professional help decontaminating the area.

Why Bacterial Screening is Important

Fecal coliform causes diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever, but these infections are very rare. Fecal coliform also causes dysentery and infectious hepatitis, and these types of infections are more common. Some of the symptoms of contact with infected water are:

  • Fever
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Other digestive problems

Sewer backup can be caused by several problems with the sewer line to your home. This can cause portions of your home to be flooded with sewage. Before you begin cleanup or restoration, you need to have bacterial screening done to ensure your health and safety.

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