Figuring out what causes sewage backups can be a head scratcher. A sewage backup is essentially where the water containing debris that goes down your drain after washing your hands, flushing the toilet or taking a shower comes back up into your sink or tub. If you have experienced sewage backup, you likely know that it is unpleasant. If you have not had to deal with sewage backup, you are lucky. A sewage backup is smelly, nasty, putrid, gross, icky- you get the picture. Sewage backups are not only disgusting, but they can cause serious illness to people and animals. To prevent future backups it is important to understand what causes sewage backups.
What Causes Sewage Backups
There are many different reasons why sewage backup can happen. Some are preventable by changing certain habits and others need more proactive steps to prevent.
If you have a lot of trees in your yard, then you may have found the culprit for the sewage backup in your bathroom. Roots of trees (especially large trees) can grow around your sewage pipes and puncture or crush them. This will cause the water to have nowhere else to go besides back up into your house.
A way to prevent tree roots from penetrating your sewage lines is to put metal or wood barriers between the pipes and the trees. Another way to discourage roots from your pips is to put down chemicals such as copper sulfate or potassium hydroxide. Also if you are changing up your landscaping, consider planting trees and bushes that have more shallow roots or further away from where your sewer lines are.
Rain is another issue that causes sewage backups. Unfortunately it can be hard to predict and prevent heavy rainfall, but it is good to know that rain can overflow the sewers, causing sewage to wash back up into your house. If this happens, know that it can be removed and that it is likely that other people are dealing with the exact same issue.
Waste That Was Improperly Disposed Of
Another big thing that causes sewage backups is clogs from waste that was not properly disposed of. This can include an obscene amount of hair that has washed down the drain, excess food waste, and paper products such as paper towels, wipes, and feminine hygiene products. Cooking grease is also a leading cause of sewage backups.
Never pour cooking grease (or any other type of grease) down the drain because it can harden in the pipe and over time completely block the sewer line. Make sure to throw away paper products and food in the garbage can. When washing your hair, try to throw away the strands that fall out rather than allowing them to go down the drain.
Another common cause of sewer backups is broken or old pipes. Pipes that are made from galvanized steel, iron, or brass and are over 50 years old can get broken down by zinc, which causes rust that can eventually completely seal the pipe. Some pipes can last for much longer than 50 years, but it is still a good idea to get them checked out.
Galvanized pipe also poses some health hazards due to the toxins that get into the water. Consider replacing galvanized pipe with plastic pipe or get your pipes checked out on a regular basis to avoid clogs and sewer backups.
What To Do When A Sewage Backup Occurs
Despite these precautions, accidents can still happen. When you have a sewer backup, it can be hard to know what to do. It is important to not touch the sewer water, because it can cause disease. Luckily, here at Sawyer Disaster Cleanup, we have sewer backup restoration services available to you. Contact us today to learn more.