sewage backup in basement

Everything You Need to Know About Sewage Backup in Basement | Causes, Health Risks, and Cleaning Tips

Home » Home » Basement Maintenance Guide: Common issues and Solutions » Everything You Need to Know About Sewage Backup in Basement | Causes, Health Risks, and Cleaning Tips

Are you interested in learning how to deal with sewage backup in your basement? Everything you need to know about sewage backup in basements, including its causes, health risks, and cleanup costs, is covered in this extensive article from Basement Savvy. Learn how to avoid sewage backup in your basement, clean it up safely, and take the necessary safety measures. Find out if sewage backup is covered by your homeowners insurance and get professional advice on maintaining a safe and healthy home. Continue reading to learn how to prevent sewage backups and safeguard your basement from emergencies.


The worst nightmare for a homeowner may be a sewage backup in the basement. Anyone would shudder at the thought of their basement being flooded with waste materials, contaminated water, and raw sewage. Sewage backups, which unfortunately frequently happen, can happen for a variety of reasons, including sewer line blockages, significant rainfall or flooding, tree roots, outdated or damaged pipes, and inadequate drainage systems.

In addition to the repulsive smell and sight of sewage, it can seriously endanger your family’s health. Numerous health problems, such as respiratory conditions, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal infections, can be brought on by sewage exposure. Sewage backup cleanup can also be expensive and time-consuming.

The good news is that sewage backups in your basement can be prevented and minimized in a number of different ways. Sewage backups can be avoided in a number of ways, including regular maintenance of your drainage system, proper household waste disposal, and the installation of backwater valves.

In this article, we’ll talk about what causes sewage backups in basements, the health risks they pose, how much it will cost to clean them up, and how to prevent and deal with them.

Causes of Sewage Backup in Basement

Blockages in Sewer Lines

Blockages in sewer lines are one of the most frequent causes of sewage backup in the basement. A number of things, such as flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, like wipes, sanitary items, and paper towels, as well as pouring grease or oil down the sink, can cause sewer lines to clog. Invading tree roots that obstruct the sewer line can also cause clogs, as can a buildup of sediment and debris.

Heavy Rainfall and Flooding

Sewage backups in the basement can also be caused by heavy rain and flooding. When it rains heavily, the sewer system may become overburdened, which could lead to flooding in basements and homes. Additionally, flooding can result in the overflow of raw sewage from municipal sewage systems into homes and basements.

Tree Roots

Tree roots can encroach on sewer lines, causing damage that causes sewage backups in the basement. Trees that are close to sewer lines may send roots into the pipes, clogging them and harming them. Sewage backups in the basement may develop as a result of this damage over time.

Old or Damaged Pipes

Sewage backups in the basement can also be caused by old or damaged pipes. Pipes can corrode, crack, or collapse with time, causing leaks and blockages. Additionally, ground movement and soil shifting can damage pipes and result in sewage backups.

Poorly Designed Drainage Systems

Sewage backups in the basement can also be brought on by poorly designed drainage systems. Water can flow back into homes and basements, causing sewage backups, if the drainage system is not properly designed or installed. Additionally, if the drainage system is not kept up with, it may clog or suffer other damage, resulting in sewage backups.

To avoid a sewage backup in your basement in the future, it’s critical to determine what caused it. An expert plumber or sewage cleanup company can assist you in determining the cause and making recommendations for solutions to stop further backups.

Health Risks Associated with Sewage Backup in Basement

Because of the health risks it presents, sewage backup in a basement is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi found in sewage have the potential to seriously harm human health by causing diseases, infections, and allergies. Both people and animals can get sick from these microbes. It is essential to act right away to safeguard your health and the health of your loved ones because exposure to sewage can cause a variety of health issues.

Exposure to Infections

The exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous microorganisms is one of the most important health risks linked to sewage backup. E. coli, Salmonella, and hepatitis A are just a few of the infections that can be brought on by the pathogens found in sewage. These infections can manifest as symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, and cramps in the stomach. Infections of the skin, lungs, and eyes can also result from sewage exposure.

Mold & Mildew

Long-term health issues can also result from sewage backup in a basement. In moist environments, mold and mildew can grow, causing allergies and respiratory issues. Symptoms from mold exposure include coughing, wheezing, and respiratory infections. Prolonged exposure to mold can cause chronic health problems, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Unpleasant Odor

Sewage backup can also produce an offensive odor that makes it difficult to breathe. Additionally, the smell may give you a headache, nausea, or dizziness. For people who already have respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies, exposure to sewage fumes can be particularly dangerous.

Sewage backup in a basement can seriously endanger people’s health as well as that of their pets. To avoid exposing yourself and your loved ones to toxic substances and harmful microorganisms found in sewage, immediate action is imperative. In order to ensure proper removal and disposal of the sewage and prevent the growth of mold and mildew, it is also advised to seek professional assistance with the cleanup.

Cost of Cleaning Up Sewage Backup in Basement

Not only is dealing with sewage backup in the basement a health risk, but it is also a costly issue to fix. Depending on the extent of the damage and the technique employed to clean up the mess, the cost of cleaning up sewage backup in the basement can change.

How much does it Cost?

The first step in cleaning up a sewage backup is to get rid of all visible solid waste and any standing water. A wet vacuum can be used for this, and prices range from $50 to $500 depending on the size and quality of the unit. It might be necessary to hire a professional cleaning service if the water level is too high or the mess is too extensive. Depending on the extent of the damage and the location of the property, hiring a professional can cost anywhere between $500 and $10,000.

The affected area needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the water and solid waste have been removed. Several cleaning supplies, including bleach, ammonia, and other disinfectants, can be used for this. Depending on the kind and quantity required, the price of these products can range from a few dollars to several hundred.

In some circumstances, replacing drywall, flooring, and other materials that have been harmed by the sewage backup may be necessary. Depending on the extent of the damage and the price of the materials, the cost of these repairs could run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Homeowners may incur further costs as a result of the sewage backup in addition to the cost of cleaning and repairs. For instance, if a sewer system issue led to the backup, the homeowner may be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing the broken pipes. Similar to how additional drainage or waterproofing measures may be required by the homeowner if flooding or heavy rain contributed to the backup.

How to Stop Sewage Backup in Basement

For homeowners, sewage backup in the basement can be a nightmare. It has a number of drawbacks, including an unpleasant smell, damaged property, and potential health risks. The good news is that sewage backup can be avoided in basements. The following techniques will stop sewage backup in the basement effectively:

Regular Maintenance of Drainage Systems

Regular maintenance of your drainage systems is crucial in preventing sewage backup in the basement. This includes checking your floor drains, gutters, and downspouts to ensure that they are clear of debris and are functioning properly. If you notice any clogs or slow draining, it is important to address them immediately to avoid potential backup.

Installation of Backwater Valve

A backwater valve is a device that prevents sewage from flowing back into your home by closing off the sewer line during heavy rainfall or flooding. This is an effective way to stop sewage backup in the basement, and it is recommended to have a professional plumber install it.

Proper Disposal of Household Waste

Improper disposal of household waste can contribute to sewage backup in the basement. It is important to avoid flushing items such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and grease down the drain. These items can cause clogs and damage to your pipes, leading to potential backup.

Avoid Pouring Grease and Oil Down the Drain

Many homeowners make the frequent error of pouring grease and oil down the drain. These substances may build up in your pipes over time and block them, potentially resulting in a backup. Grease and oil should be thrown away separately in the trash in a separate container.

By following these simple steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of sewage backup in the basement. It is important to take action as soon as you notice any signs of potential backup to avoid costly repairs and potential health risks.

How to Clean Sewage Backup in Basement

Basement sewage backup can be a frightening and stressful situation. Significant health risks can result from it, in addition to extensive property damage. It’s crucial to act quickly if you have a sewage backup in your basement in order to limit further damage and to clean the area as soon as possible. The steps you should take to clean up sewage backup in your basement are covered in this section.

Safety Precautions

Before you begin the cleanup process, it’s essential to take safety precautions to protect yourself from potential health hazards. Sewage backup can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illnesses. To protect yourself, you should wear protective clothing, including gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask.

Removing Standing Water

The first step in cleaning up sewage backup in a basement is to remove any standing water. You can use a wet/dry vacuum or a pump to remove the water from the basement. Be sure to dispose of the water properly to prevent it from contaminating other areas.

Disinfecting and Cleaning Surfaces

Once you’ve removed the standing water, you can begin the process of disinfecting and cleaning surfaces. Use a disinfectant cleaner to clean the affected surfaces thoroughly. Be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaning product carefully. You may need to repeat this process several times to ensure that all the bacteria and viruses are eliminated.

Drying and Ventilating the Area

After cleaning and disinfecting the affected surfaces, it’s essential to dry and ventilate the area thoroughly. Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the area and prevent mold growth. You should also open windows and doors to improve ventilation and allow fresh air to circulate.

It’s important to note that cleaning up sewage backup in a basement can be a challenging and time-consuming process. If you’re not comfortable or experienced with handling this type of cleanup, it’s best to hire a professional cleaning service that specializes in sewage cleanup.

In summary, cleaning up sewage backup in a basement requires taking safety precautions, removing standing water, disinfecting and cleaning surfaces thoroughly, and drying and ventilating the area. It’s important to take immediate action to prevent further damage and to hire a professional cleaning service if you’re not experienced with this type of cleanup.


In conclusion, dealing with sewage backup in the basement can be a daunting task. However, with the right knowledge and tools, it can be managed effectively. We hope that this article has provided you with valuable information on the causes, health risks, cost, prevention, and cleaning of sewage backup in the basement. Remember to always take safety precautions and seek professional help if needed.

At Basement Savvy, we understand the importance of a healthy and safe living environment. That’s why we offer expert basement waterproofing and drainage solutions to prevent sewage backup and other basement-related issues. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect your home and family.

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