Flood & Sewage Dangers Most People Don't Know About
Ask most people in the Manchester/Mansfield area the greatest dangers after a flood or sewage back-up and they’ll offer a wrong or at least incomplete answer. Most people will mention disease first and that’s a big one. But most people don’t realize that perhaps an even greater danger after a flood or sewage backup is the risk of electrocution or explosion.
Here are ideas and guidelines to keep you safe after a flood or sewage back-up.
1. Don’t enter a flooded basement or light a match until the utility companies have shut off the gas and electric service.
2. If flood waters or sewage enters your basement, you must clean properly to prevent you and your family from becoming sick or injured.
3. You’re smart to call in a professional to handle sewage or flood waters.
4. Contact your local health department for advice and assistance. You can also find good sources online like the EPA's Septic Systems Web site.
How to Clean and Sanitize
5. Drain all flood waters and/or sewage by natural draining or pumping.
6. Remove dirt, soil, and debris from surfaces that came in contact with flood waters.
7. Wash down all walls, floors, and surfaces that the flood water or sewage touched with clean, warm or hot water and a low suds detergent.
8. Rinse again with warm or hot water.
9. Sanitize by rinsing walls, floors, and surfaces using one of the following mixtures:
2½ tablespoons (tbs) of Lysol/Pine Sol per gallon of water used, or
8 tablespoons (tbs) of laundry bleach (i.e., Clorox, Roman Cleanser) in each gallon of water used.
10. Open windows or use fans to air out the area.
11. Prevent tracking flood debris and sewage into clean areas.
For Flood or Sewage Backup Needs Call SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield At (860) 649-0836 Anytime
Guidelines For A Flooded Area With Gas Or Electricity Present
12. Have the utility companies shut off the gas and electricity.
13. Don’t touch the fuse box or any plugged in cords or appliances until your electricity is shut off.
14. If an electrical appliance motor or its controls are submerged under water, don’t start it until you’ve talked to the dealer or service company.
15. Never relight your gas appliances until the gas company has checked them. Make sure all pilot lights are on before relighting burners. Don’t light matches until the gas is turned off.
What To Do If You Have A Septic System
Once floodwaters have receded:
16. Do not drink well water until it is tested. Contact your local health department.
17. Do not use the sewage system until water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house.
18. Have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage. Signs of damage include settling or an inability to accept water.
19. If sewage has backed up into the basement, clean the area and disinfect the floor. Use a chlorine solution of a half cup of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water to disinfect the area thoroughly.
20. Pump the septic system as soon as possible after the flood. Be sure to pump both the tank and lift station.
21. Do not compact the soil over the soil absorption field by driving or operating equipment in the area. Saturated soil is especially susceptible to compaction, which can reduce the soil absorption field's ability to treat wastewater and lead to system failure.
22. Examine all electrical connections for damage before restoring electricity.
23. Be sure the septic tank's manhole cover is secure and that inspection ports have not been blocked or damaged.
Be Careful with Foods
Contaminated foods can make you and your family sick. Here’s how to handle your foods after a flood or sewage event:
24. Destroy and discard all contaminated bottled and boxed foods.
25. You can keep canned goods (including home canned jars) if you clean them thoroughly. Scrub with soap and water. Use a brush around the rim of home canned jars. Submerge in chlorinated water for 15 minutes (1 ounce of bleach per gallon of water). Air dry to prevent rusting.
26. You can keep food stored in a freezer if the power is off for less than two days and if the freezer is full and not opened.
27. Food stored in a refrigerator will keep for 4-6 hours after losing power, depending on how warm the room temperature is. Do not open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary. You may add ice to the refrigerator if you know it will be turned on soon.
28. Throw out anything with an unusual color, odor, or if a perishable food is above 45° F internally.
More Sewage And Flood Information
SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield publishes educational articles on how Manchester area residents and businesses can protect themselves from natural disasters and restore their property after a flood, sewage spill, or other natural disaster. Here are a few blog posts that you might find helpful:
Contact Us Anytime
In Manchester the team at SERVPRO has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, mold remediation, commercial services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield anytime at 860.649.0836.
SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield
540 N. Main Street
Manchester, CT 06042
24-hour emergency service