• how a sewage back up is different than water damage

How is a Sewage Back-Up Different From Other Types of Water Damage?

Here at McMahon Services, we hope that our Chicago area neighbors never have to deal with a messy, stressful sewage back-up. However, these problems can occur in any room with a sewer line, like a bathroom, kitchen, or basement. 

These rooms can experience back-ups due to sewer lines being damaged or blocked due to issues like tree roots or just old age. The last reason is one of the biggest issues: The American Society of Civil Engineers states that our country’s 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are on average over thirty years old. As more and more homes are connected to them, back-ups are unfortunately increasing at a rate of 3% per year. 

Sewage clean-up is dangerous and complex because it involves dealing with water that has been contaminated by human waste and other hazardous materials from the sewage system. Sewage is filled with bacteria (including giardia and legionella – the cause of Legionnaires Disease), viruses, and many other pathogens that pose significant health risks.

This is much more serious than water damage that comes from clean sources like burst pipes or rainwater. While water damage from these sources can still cause serious issues like mold and even structural damage, it is not as dangerous as the damage that a sewage back-up can leave behind. In this article, we will share our insights on these smelly situations. We will cover how Illinois homeowners can get help, and what you should know about insurance coverage for sewage back-ups.

How Do Professionals Clean Up After A Sewage Back-Up?

If you have experienced a sewage back-up in your Evanston home, the first thing you need to do is contact a water damage restoration professional. A sewage back-up can make your home, business, or rental uninhabitable, as it can cause severe health risks. Professional help will ensure that you will be working with a team that knows how to protect you – and themselves.  

At McMahon services, we can respond and get to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cleanup process after sewage exposure involves carefully removing and disposing of all contaminated materials, disinfecting the affected areas, and setting up ventilation protection to reduce the risk of airborne pathogens in your home. We use  specialized cleaning agents and personal protective equipment (PPE), and know how to properly handle hazardous materials in order to safely decontaminate your property.

Just for a comparison, when we are cleaning up after water damage from a clean source, our process will be different. We will remove the excess water, and quickly dry out the affected areas with dehumidifiers and high-powered air movers. This quick drying process combined with cleaning and sanitizing surfaces will prevent mold growth without requiring the level of disinfection needed for sewage cleanup.

Sewage Back-Ups and Your Homeowners Insurance

Most types of water damage will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, provided that they are the result of a problem that is sudden and accidental. However, There are two common types of water damage that will not be covered and will require separate coverage to be purchased: Floods and sewage back-ups. 

Many homeowners know that flood insurance coverage is a separate item that you need to request and pay for, but sewage back-ups are another common exclusion in property policies like your homeowners or rental property insurance. You can typically purchase sewer and drain backup coverage separately from your insurance carrier. Since these can be large, expensive losses, it is worth discussing your coverage with your insurance agent to make sure that your property is protected.

Get Safe, Speedy Help With Sewage Clean Up From McMahon Services

If you are faced with a sewage-back up at your Cook County home or business, don’t try to tackle the clean up yourself. These are serious situations that require professional help in order to protect both your property and the health of anyone who enters it. Thankfully, McMahon Services and Construction has the experience, insights, and equipment needed to safely get life back to normal. If you need our help, reach out today