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Sewer Backup – What do I do?

An overflowing toilet is stressful enough, but when sewage becomes involved, a simple clean-up turns into a health hazard. When it comes to a sewer backup, it’s more of “who to call” rather than “what to do”.

Since sewage is hazardous, you will want to call a professional crew. A professional sewage clean-up crew will:

  • Remove all items that have been damaged due to sewage backup.
  • Properly discard items that cannot be salvaged.
  • Properly disinfect saved materials off-site.
  • Remove all water and sewage with specialty equipment.
  • Dehumidify affected areas.
  • Ventilate dangerous fumes and airborne particles.
  • Disinfect flooring and surfaces within a contaminated area.


What can cause a sewer backup? 

  • Soil settlement around the structure, putting stress on the plumbing and sewer system.
  • Cracked pipes or misaligned connections and joints in the plumbing system.
  • Tree roots infiltrating pipes and plumbing.
  • Grease build-up and improper flushing habits in the building.
  • Irregular cleaning and maintenance, especially in high-volume settings.

Through regular sewer and plumbing inspections, you can work towards preventing a sewer backup in your home or business. Always make sure you know where the water shut-off is, whether in your home or at the office.

If you happen to experience an unfortunate event such as a sewage backup, contact a licensed plumber to detect and stop the source, and then call a qualified disaster restoration company such as ServiceMaster of Tacoma at 800-339-5720 to take care of the clean-up.

For more information on what to do when your sewer backs up, visit https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_departments/environmentalservices/wastewater/sewer_backups_and_flooding or contact your city maintenance department.