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It’s a smell that every business owner dreads; walk in one morning and notice the unmistakable smell of sewage all over your commercial building.

Are you dealing with a sewer overflow, or a sewer backup? Each brings about a different set of problems. An overflow occurs when there is a blockage in the existing system, preventing the elimination of sewage. Think of a stopped-up toilet that can’t flush the waste down, so it overflows. This is a similar situation for other areas within a commercial building – drains, disposals, etc.

Sewer backups are caused by a buildup of pressure from within the sewer line, often forcing sewage back through the system and into your business. Damage and cleanup from this is more extensive, and often requires the help of specialists.

How do you recover from sewer backups at your business? Here are a few things to understand first.

The Cause of Sewer Backups

A blocked sewer pipe can cause waste water to back up into the building. Waste water brings environmental and health hazards that you, and your employees, need to be aware of.

Tree roots and roots of shrubs naturally grow towards a source of moisture. If a cracked sewer line is nearby, those roots can penetrate the line and follow through the flow of the pipe, eventually blocking or filling the line.

Sometimes a city sanitary main may block up. This can cause a sewage backup through the floor drains, into many homes or businesses within a single neighborhood.

Your responsibility in a sewer backup may be extensive. In many cases, a business owner is responsible for maintaining the sewer line that runs between the commercial building and the city sewer main located at the street. If this connecting line has become cracked, filled with tree roots or other blockage, then groundwater can seep into the system, adding more liquid to the already existing backup.

Problems of a Sewer Backup at Your Business

There are many health concerns associated with a sewer backup. Floors that are flooded with sewage pose a trip hazard, so block access to areas affected. Evacuate the area to protect the health of your employees and customers.

Bacterial and viral diseases, or those caused by parasites found in wastewater can severely affect people, especially those with weakened immune systems.

Sewage that flowed onto porous surfaces, such as wood flooring, carpeting or baseboard and drywall, requires the elimination by a damage restoration service. These surfaces are now contaminated and need to be removed as hazardous waste.

The longer the sewage and contaminated water is left standing at your business, the greater chance of attracting disease-carrying insects. These can further spread the germs and contamination, even to people in areas not affected by the backup.

Do not expect your employees to help clean up the mess. Hire a professional remediation specialist who is qualified to properly dispose of the waste, the contaminated items, and is trained to properly sanitize all surfaces.

ServiceMaster Restoration by All-Action has helped hundreds of customers with cleanup after a sewer backup, both commercial and residential. Call us today to handle the sewage problem for you.