Sewage Spills & The Dangers of Contamination

sewage spills

Sewage spills are considered a high risk and filled with harmful and deadly bacteria, fungus and asphyxiating gases. They can have devastating consequences if not treated correctly, if all the affected areas are not properly cleaned or stripped out.

A recent story reported by Channel 4 News stated that sewage spills are a result of systematic failures to invest in proper infrastructure. This can be due to water companies being privatised. It can also be related closely to climate change.

Climate change has been reported by the IPCC as a code red for our planet. This can cause devastating effects including potential droughts, heatwaves and flooding. As the earth becomes warmer, the more moisture it holds, therefore bringing more rain. An example of this is the recent flooding in Germany.

Furthermore, rain from climate change can be a very common factor in the UK. This is most likely in more urban areas, such as London. Heavy rainfall can overwhelm the capacity that drains and sewers can hold. As a result, sewage spills can also occur through the management of our drainage systems and when overwhelmed, can on occasion flow up through toilets and into the property itself.

According to the NRDC, the more urban areas that are built and lived in, can add “pavement and other impermeable surfaces, alters natural drainage systems, and often leads to more homes being built on floodplains”. In addition to this, they reported that a city’s infrastructure can be be poorly maintained, causing a large amount of urban flooding.

Additionally, Channel 4 reported on a 4 year old boy who was admitted to hospital from contamination exposure, following a sewage spill in his London home.

This highlights how important the aftermath and clean up process is after a sewage spill which is crucial for disease prevention.

Diseases Caused by Sewage Spills

Diseases can arise from coming into direct contact with sewage water or someone who already has an oral disease relating to faecal matter. It can also be caused by indirect contact, through contaminated objects such as furniture and food. However small or large amount of sewage that has spilled, it should always be treated.

Although some diseases may be acute, such as diarrhoea, headaches, nausea, cramps, fever and vomiting, more severe illnesses can arise.

  • Gram Negative Bacteria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Leptospirosis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Tetanus
  • Cryptosporidium and Giardia
  • Pinworms
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • E.Coli
  • Rotavirus
  • Norovirus

Cleaning up Sewage Spill Contaminations

Before anything should be cleaned, it is essential that the correct PPE is worn so that there is no further exposure to toxins. This includes wearing thick clothing, masks, safety goggles, gloves and boots.

It is also essential in any sewage cleanup to dispose of anything contaminated that cannot be washed or cleaned effectively, such as toys or furniture. If hot water and bleach, or professional cleaning supplies cannot clean something properly, it should be gotten rid of.

Sewage spills can also affect the infrastructure of a building and the materials depending on the severity of the spill. Therefore, it is important to inspect and then remove these if they are unable to salvaged. These can include carpets and padding, plaster and skirting boards, drywall, plastic wallpaper and anything that is hard to disinfect. Furthermore, anything of low value around the house should be removed, such as food and home accessories that can be replaced easily. It is always better to be safe.

Contamination could remain deep inside these materials, preventing them from being effectively cleaned and free from harmful toxins. If not cleaned effectively, microorganisms can regrow.

However, whether big or small or whether domestic or commercial, it is recommended to be cleaned up professionally as such specialist companies are trained to deal with the matter safely. It is best to deal with the issue as quickly as possible to stop viruses and gases spreading and keeping away pests and rodents, as well as reducing the damaging effects to a property.

CPL t/a Rainbow International are on hand to provide a rapid response to any emergency sewage spills, so please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team on freephone 0808 196 0363.