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Sewer Backup Emergency Guide

When our homes function smoothly, we often take for granted the underlying systems that make our modern conveniences possible. But when there’s a hiccup, especially with something as vital as our plumbing, it becomes an immediate concern. A sewer backup is not only inconvenient but potentially dangerous. If you’re caught in such an emergency, Aquatrade Plumbing is here to guide you through. This article delves into how to handle sewer backups, preventative measures, and FAQs to keep you in the know.

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    Understanding the Emergency: What is a Sewer Backup?

    A sewer backup occurs when the water level in city sewers rises above the level of the basement floor. The overflow can flood your home with a mix of rainwater and sewage. Apart from being a nasty sight, it poses health risks and can damage property.

    Immediate Steps to Take

    1. Evacuate the Area: Safety first. Move away from the affected areas. Sewage water carries harmful contaminants.
    2. Shut Off Electricity: If accessible, turn off electrical power to the flooded area.
    3. Avoid Using Plumbing: Don’t use sinks, toilets, or showers. It can worsen the backup.
    4. Contact Professionals: This isn’t a DIY job. Reach out to experts like Aquatrade Plumbing to handle it.

    Prevention is Better than Cure

    To avoid facing such emergencies, take proactive measures. Here’s how:

    Regular Maintenance: Schedule a routine check with professionals like our services page offers.

    Install a Backwater Valve: This allows sewage to go out but prevents it from coming back in.

    Keep Drains Clear: Avoid flushing things like wet wipes or pouring fats down the drain.

    Stay Updated: Keep an eye on warnings from authority sites like Bureau of Meteorology for heavy rain alerts.

    The Aftermath of a Sewer Backup

    Once the immediate emergency has been addressed, understanding the aftermath of a sewer backup is equally important. The residual damage isn’t just about the unsightly mess; it’s about the potential long-term effects on your home’s infrastructure and your health.

    Health Risks

    Sewage water is not just water. It’s a concoction of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can pose serious health risks. Some potential dangers include:

    • Gastrointestinal infections: Consuming anything contaminated by sewage water can lead to stomach problems.
    • Skin infections: Direct contact with sewage can result in infections, especially if you have an open wound.
    • Respiratory problems: The damp and mould that can follow a backup might lead to respiratory issues, especially for those with asthma.

    Property Damage

    The scope of damage to your property can vary based on the severity of the backup and how swiftly you responded.

    • Structural damage: The foundation of your home can be weakened, especially if the backup is a recurring issue.
    • Ruined possessions: Furniture, carpets, electronics, and personal belongings can be permanently damaged if submerged in sewage.
    • Mould and mildew: These can start forming in as little as 24 hours after exposure to moisture.

    Cleanup and Restoration

    Cleaning up post a sewer backup is not just about getting rid of the water. It’s about ensuring that all remnants of the sewage and its associated risks are eradicated. Here’s how to go about it:

    1. Personal Protection: Always wear gloves, masks, and boots when dealing with sewage-contaminated items.
    2. Discard Unsalvageable Items: Unfortunately, some items, especially porous ones like mattresses and carpets, might be beyond saving.
    3. Disinfect: Clean all affected surfaces with a strong disinfectant. This will help kill the bacteria and pathogens from the sewage.
    4. Dry Out the Area: Use fans, dehumidifiers, and open windows to thoroughly dry out the area. This prevents mould growth.
    5. Check Electrical Systems: If the water reached any outlets, switches, or appliances, get them checked before using them again.
    6. Seek Professional Help: Depending on the scale of the backup, you might need help with cleaning and restoration. Companies that specialise in water damage restoration can be a boon in such times.

    Cost Implications

    Dealing with a sewer backup can be a costly affair. This includes the immediate remediation costs, the cost of damaged items, potential structural repairs, and health-related costs if someone falls sick due to the backup. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider to understand what’s covered. You might consider adding a specific sewer backup rider if it’s not included in your standard policy.

    Being Proactive

    Knowledge is power. Now that you’re well-informed about the implications of a sewer backup, you’re in a better position to be proactive. Regular maintenance, being mindful of what goes down the drain, and having emergency numbers on hand are simple yet effective steps. Moreover, educating your family about the potential risks and preventive measures can go a long way in ensuring your home remains a safe sanctuary.

    In an age where information is abundant, being ignorant about potential home risks is not an option. Your home is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally. Treating it with the care and attention it deserves ensures you can enjoy its comforts without nasty surprises.


    Sewer backups are undeniably unpleasant. By understanding the risks, taking immediate actions, and following preventive measures, you can safeguard your home and health. Websites like the Australian Government Department of Health and the Australian Building Codes Board provide valuable resources and guidelines for maintaining a healthy living environment. And remember, if you ever face such a crisis, Aquatrade Plumbing is just a call away. Don’t wait for an emergency, get in touch with us for all your plumbing needs.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Mainly due to blockages in the city’s main pipes or your home’s pipes, heavy rainfall, or structural defects.

    Coverage varies. It’s best to check with your provider or see guidance from sites like MoneySmart.

    Professional cleaning services are recommended.

    Prolonged exposure can be harmful. Ensure proper ventilation.

    Annually or as advised by professionals like us.

    They can provide temporary relief but professional solutions are more lasting.

    Yes, with regular maintenance, proper usage, and by following the preventive measures listed above.

    With our experienced team and commitment to excellence, we ensure timely and efficient solutions.

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