Minneapolis Water & Sewer Systems

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sewer Backups...

What to do and how to prevent them

A sewer backup problem can be disheartening and disgusting. Waking up one morning to find your basement or bathroom flowed with raw sewage can be a terrible experience. Furthermore situations like this can cause toxic black mold growth, which can be a large health hazard. It is important to know what to do when your home experiences a sewage backup, and how to prevent it.

Step 1: Deal With the Issue Quickly

Immediately discontinue use of all water inside and outside of your home. You may even want to turn water supply off to toilets and sinks if you have children so they do not accidentally make the problem bigger. Ask to use a neighbors facilities if you must, but don't continue to use water lines as the blockage will not allow water flow and will continue to cause more damaging sewer backup.

Find out what the phone number is for your local Emergency Services Division is and give them a call. This number is not 911 but rather the local number you can call to have public funded emergency service come and help you find the root of the problem, usually listed under the Department of Public Works. If you are not sure what the number is simply call your local government office and they will be able to direct you to the appropriate office.

While most homeowners automatically assume that a sewage backup problem is the local authorities' problem this may not always be the case. Once you call your local government service as described above, a crew will arrive and determine if the problem exists in the homeowners' sewage lines or the cities. If the problem is a city sewer issue the crew will be able to unblock the line, but if not you will have to call your own plumber and have them fix the problem. In either case, don't wait around while the problem continues to get worse.

Step 2: Prevention

This is a vital step whether you are recovering from a backup or want to know how to prevent sewer backup problems. The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from occurring, or in some instances prevent it from happening again. Talk with your plumber or sewage line repair company to find simple ways to improve your system and decrease the risk of problems.

A few lifestyle tips will also help in the prevention of sewer problems. The first is the be smart about what you are putting down your drains. Don't flush or drain items such as diapers, grease, or paper products as these only contribute to blockage issues. Also be sure to keep in mind the location of your sewer lines when planting new trees or installing any landscaping. Plant roots are a common problem of pipe breaks that can be easily prevented by thinking through installations and plantings thoroughly.

It is also important to know the location of your sewer cleanout. While some older properties do not have a clean out installed, they are often required and are the responsibility of the property owner to keep uncovered and easily accessible. It can be disheartening to be asked by the sewer company where your cleanout is and have to pay additional costs to have it found.

If you experience a sewage backup, quick thinking and response can greatly reduce the amount of damage done to your property. Acting quickly to get the problem solved can decrease the stress of such a situation and can allow the proper repair professionals the time they need to respond. In the recovery stage be sure to change the habits that contributed to the problem in the first place in order to prevent further issues. This is good advice for the average homeowner as well, as prevention is the best way to solve a problem. As always be sure to consult your local repairman and get professional advice in any situation, and do your research to be sure you find the best match for you personal requirements.

For more information and guidance about sewer problems, visit http://www.geneswaterandsewer.com. Gene's Water and Sewer specializes in water and sewer problem solutions.

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