Air Quality Testing & Environmental Services

Ontario:  (416) 858-2866
Alberta: (780) 790-7101



What causes flood water sewage backup and what should be done about it?

sewer-pipe-repair-replacement-st-louisStorm flooding is the most common cause of sewage backup in the home. After a flood, storm water finds its way into the city’s sewer system whereby it has nowhere else to go. If a backflow preventer was not present on a home’s waste water exit pipe prior to a serious flood, toxic sewage will often find its way into a home via its basement toilets, showers, and/or sink drains.

Foreign objects which clog sewage pipes can also be a source for sewage backup as would be any other waste water pipe damage including invading tree roots. Whatever the cause, sewage backup will always need immediate attention as to prevent or minimize the spread of bacteria and other infectious diseases to other areas of the home.

For smaller sewer backup situations where only non-porous surfaces have been contaminated, hand cleaning may be order; however for larger jobs where porous materials have also been saturated with sewer water, professional remediators will be required to perform the necessary cleanup work and  cleanse the area.


Do I need bacteria testing after having a flood backup?

cupertino-cubby-filled-hundreds-shelves-master-bath-sink-thumbNo matter the size of the contaminated area you are dealing with, it is always a good idea for an environmental professional to test the contaminated area(s) for bacteria after sewage cleanup is completed to ensure the area is free of bacteria. Bacterium missed during the sewage cleanup process can cause serious illnesses for homeowners and other inhabitants of the home as fecal contamination spreads from the original area of contamination to the home’s common living areas by means of foot traffic, convection currents, and/or HVAC systems.

It is very important that post flood bacteria testing is performed as quickly as possible following a sewage cleanup job to prevent the spread of contamination if still present. The longer a person waits to identify a botched sewage cleanup job, the more of a problem it will create for the homeowner.

Who should perform bacteria testing?

A trained environmental specialist should perform all required post remediation testing after a flood as they hold the necessary experience to perform the required testing accurately. Our firm has several individuals in-house who specialize in this.


testing for bacteria

What are the things an environmental specialist looks for?

Even though raw sewage can hold a whole slew of different types of bacteria, viruses, and other contaminates, environmental specialists primarily test for E coli when performing post sewage cleanup testing as this is the primary contaminate found in sewage. By clearing your home or business of E coli contamination, other sewage contaminates will be cleared in the process.



What else can an environmental specialist do in case of a flood backup?

In addition to tsewage22esting the immediate area where sewage flooding has occurred, a trained environmental specialist will also be able to prescribe a specific course of action to cleanup all sewage present so that remediation professionals have a precise course of action to follow.

This remediation plan developed by your environmental specialist will ensure that all contaminated materials in question will be removed from the premises including carpet, drywall, or other porous materials that have been saturated with sewage waste and that all non-porous materials are sterilized accordingly. Plans will also be put in place to ensure all sewage is properly contained by installing a containment barrier around the area of contamination as well as to make sure any exposed ductwork is sealed up so that the air in the area of contamination cannot leave the space and cross contaminate other areas of the building.

On higher profile jobs, an environimg6_Featuredmental specialist will usually also be on call during the actual remediation and cleansing process to ensure the proper cleanup protocol is followed.

Once all contaminated areas of the home are thought to be free and clear of hazardous material, post clearance testing will verify all work completed. Samples of the immediate area will be taken as well as several samples from other parts of the home to ensure none of the original hazardous waste has spread to other areas of the home thereby certifying the home as safe to occupy.