Not Just Another Toilet Spill

Published: June 26, 2017

photo by midascode-

photo by midascode-

We all know about small toilet spills, like those when the little ones miss their seating or the toilet gets overloaded with paper and overflows your bathroom.  Most of these types of messes are fairly easy to clean up on your own provided you wear protective gear and can remove all the water and give the room a good scrub down.

Larger spills are however a completely different ball game especially if the water has been standing in your home or there are solid waste products in the water.  This has the potential for some serious illnesses such as Tetanus, Hepatitis and various others.  All areas that have been touched by the water should be treated as infected.  Having this type of spill cleaned professionally is particularly important if you have children, elderly people or anyone with allergies or compromised immune systems living in the home. Sewage back up can be caused by various means such as:


Usually if the problem is localized to a specific drain or toilet, it can be cleared out fairly quickly but if there are more than 1 sources of overflow or clogging or the toilet overflows every time you flush, there may be a more serious problem such as a main line sewage backup. This would have to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further contamination of your home.

Sewer Line Damage

This occurs often in older homes where the plumbing has been in operation for decades. Over time the old cast iron piping rusts and can collapse or get cracked causing a sewer backup.  Never homes are built with plastic plumbing pipes which reduce the risk of line damage as it is longer wearing.

Tree Roots

This is a fairly common cause of sewage backup.  Trees in the vicinity of the pipes send out roots in search of water and these can infiltrate your sewage pipes causing a blockage or even crush the piping by growing around it.  This type of problem is often not discovered until it is too late.

There are many health hazards associated with sewage spills besides direct contamination from touching human waste. Items that have been in contact with the contaminated water or have absorbed some of the sewage spill can cause illness and harm after the spill is removed if they are not able to be cleaned at high temperatures.

It is often best to discard items such as carpets and furniture that has become contaminated by sewage water.  There is also a risk of mold build up if the water is not all removed or has absorbed into furniture, fixtures and fittings such as drywall.  This will have to be inspected and removed if need be to remove all contaminated items.

Remember that furniture, bedding, carpeting and so forth may need to be discarded if they cannot be cleaned at high temperatures.  Items such as cardboard and paper that has been contaminated with the water will need to be safely discarded as well as items such as children’s stuffed toys, leather products and even insulation materials as these cannot be adequately cleaned and disinfected.

In the event of a sewage spill, it is often better to call in a professional that can assist with the assessment of the damage, advise on items that can be saved and what should be safely discarded. They can also deal with the cleanup of the contaminated water and other items in the dirty water and protect your home from the germs and mold that could remain behind. Lastly, they are normally trained in methods of removing the bad odors that often remain behind after this type of spill.

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