Sewage backup is not a very fun topic and is generally avoided because let's be honest...we never want it to happen to us. If we never talk about it, we will never have to deal with it...right?!
As homeowners, the idea of dealing with water damage, especially from your sewer, can seem like a nightmare. At Menold, we make it our aim to help keep our customers informed, and to address any issues that may arise as simply and effectively as possible. So, when it comes to sewage issues, here is what you need to know!
To begin, water damage can be assessed based on these three categories:
- Clean water. This category of water damage is the lowest risk and comes from a source that poses no substantial harm to people. Examples include broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involve water supply lines. After 48 hours, a Category 1 can become a Category 2.
- Grey water. This refers to all water damage that is contaminated with chemicals, or water with physical contaminants. There is some threat to health posed in this category, and exposure to Category 2 water damage can lead to illness. Examples include dirty water from washing machines, dishwashers, intrusion of rainwater, as well as leaks from water beds and broken aquariums.
- Black water. This is the most dangerous form of water damage. It refers to water that poses significant health risk, is unsanitary, and possibly contains harmful bacteria. This is often the result of category 2 water damage that was not thoroughly addressed. Typical black water conditions occur from a sewer backflow, an overflowed toilet bowl containing feces, and rising flood waters. Rising flood water is considered Category three because of the possibility of chemicals and organisms found in lawn chemicals, fertilizers, animal feces, decaying ground debris, and over filled sewer and septic systems.
As you can see, sewage backups are to be taken seriously. There are several common causes of backups in your sewer system to be aware of. Clogged pipes, city sewer complications, and obstructions from tree roots are near the top of the list.
Though not all of these causes can be addressed or prevented directly, here are some prevention questions to ask yourself, and steps we recommend for maintaining a functioning sewage system:
- Do you know who to contact at your city or village water department? A large percentage of our sewage emergency calls can track back to the city sewer having issues. Sometimes they are responsible and will assist in paying damages, and sometimes you will have to rely on paying for the damages yourself. Know who to contact and be prepared to reach out immediately if you suspect the issue is out of your hands.
- Do you know what your insurance policy will cover, should you suffer a loss? Call your insurance agent and sit down for a refresher on your coverage. Ask for their advice and adjust your coverage and policy limits if you are concerned.
- How protective are you of your drains? As convenient as it may be to dump cooking grease or food items down your drain, making the habit of throwing them in the garbage may save you time, headache, and money in the long run. This goes for flushing items in the toilet as well.
We wish you all a lifetime of fully-functioning sewage systems! However, if you do find yourself in a sticky situation, we are more than glad to assist you and offer solutions as we go.