Are You Considering DIY to Clean a Dangerous Sewage Backup? Here’s Why You’re Better Off Hiring Pros to Do It

Sewage backups are nasty. They smell awful and can wreak havoc on a commercial building or home. One catastrophic event can wreck valuables, destroy floors, damage electrical wires, force you from your home, or cause you to shut down your business. A sewer backup can even cause illness and disease if not handled properly.

Sewage backups occur when sewer lines or drains become clogged, so wastewater drains away from a home or building. Unfortunately, they are very common everywhere, including in the Chicago area and its surrounding suburbs. Here are some causes:

Tree roots

Tree roots seek nutrients and moisture, which flow through sewer pipes. If water is leaking out of a joint or gap in the pipe, the root can grow into or around the pipe, cracking or crushing it.


Hair, animal fur, non-flushable paper products, or kitchen waste such as fat, oil, and cooking grease can cause clogs resulting in waste flowing back into your home.

Sewer line damage

Municipal sewer lines are susceptible to clogs or cracks and can become worn out, especially if they’re old and made of materials such as cast iron or clay.

Heavy rainfall

Large amounts of rain or rapid snowmelt can overwhelm your municipality’s sewer lines. Once the system floods, water can travel to sewage pipes that are connected to your home or business.

The Dangerous Risks of Not Getting Professional Help with Sewage Clean-Up

If your home, business, or a commercial building you manage in Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Oak Park, Libertyville, or anywhere in the Chicago area falls victim to a sewage backup, you should never DIY it.

Sewage can be dangerous to your health and your building’s occupants. It can cause catastrophic damage to your property. Professional restoration contractors have the knowledge, equipment, and expertise to clean messes up correctly. Even if your business has a cleaning crew, hiring pros is essential. Here’s why:

Sewage damage can cause further damage and loss of income

Damage that is not visible to you and not promptly cleaned can cause far worse problems down the road. In addition, when sewage water is not cleaned up quickly, you can lose money due to business closure or loss of rental income.

Sewage releases harmful airborne pathogens. Professionals will remove the water, sewage, and damaged property; dry all surfaces; and ensure your property is sanitized so no one’s health is compromised.

Health risks of sewage damage

Sewage includes grey water – from showers, bathtubs, sinks, and washing machines – and black water – from toilets. Both types – but especially black water – can cause serious health problems. Sewage water is a biohazard. Without the proper personal protective gear and expertise, you or your cleaning crew may become exposed to parasites, viruses, fungi, and bacteria such as E. coli, norovirus, and rotavirus. These pathogens can cause extremely dangerous diseases such as encephalitis or hepatitis A.

How sewage damage can cause mold

Sewage backups can cause mold to proliferate. Under the right circumstances, such as proper temperature, the fungus can begin to grow as soon as 24 hours after a sewage backup. If it is not properly remediated, it can cause allergy or asthma symptoms to worsen.

Electrocution: An unexpected risk of sewage back-ups

Sewage backups not only damage floors and belongings, but can also reach electrical lines, cords, cables, equipment, or fixtures. Even if the power is off, touching or coming near them can be extremely hazardous and even cause electrocution.

Has your Chicago area home, business, or commercial property had a sewage backup? Leave cleanup to the pros at McMahon Services

For 20 years, McMahon Services has provided water damage restoration service and sewer cleanup to Chicago and surrounding areas including Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Evanston, Mount Prospect, Grayslake, Mundelein, Libertyville, Oak Park, Palatine, Wheaton, Naperville, Waukegan, Schaumburg, and Skokie.

Our goal is to take some of the pressure off when a stressful situation arises, such as a sewage backup. Our highly trained and certified crew can respond to emergencies 24/7. Contact us to meet with one of our restoration experts.