Colorado Flood: What Causes Sewer Backups?
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Most homeowners probably don’t realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their main sewer line — the pipeline that runs between their house and the municipality’s sewer main, usually located underneath the street. The main sewer line is owned and maintained by the property owner, including any part of the line that extends into the street or public right of way.
Over time, these main sewer lines can easily deteriorate, crack, collapse or become obstructed. You may not have a clue that this kind of damage is occurring. But one severe rainstorm may be all it takes to bring the problem to a head.
Some of the more common causes of damaged sewer lines and sewer line backups are:
· Aging Sewer Systems: More than half of nation’s sewer lines are 30+ years old or connected to aging municipal sewage systems. After decades of wear, tear and obstruction, the sewer line and system no longer have the capability to withstand heavy demands and so they back up and overflow.
· Combined Pipelines: Some newer sewage and drainage systems combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. During intense rain storms, these combined systems are exposed to more volume and debris than they can handle. With nowhere else to go, the outgoing water and sewer backs up into basements and other low lying drains.
· Tree Root Infiltration: Shrubs and trees seeking moisture can make their way into cracks or through joints in your sewer line, causing extensive blockage and damage. Tree roots can travel a long way; the damage may occur from a tree on your property, a neighbor’s tree or a tree on public property. Samples of the tree roots can be obtained to identify which party is responsible for cleanup and repair.
· Blocked Municipal Lines: Many times the problem has nothing to do with your property, but with a blockage in a your municipality’s sanitary main running under your street. If the blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up not only into your home but your neighbors, as well.
How You Can Prevent Sewer Line Backups
There are several preventive measures homeowners can take to minimize the occurrence sewer line backups.
· Proper Disposal of Grease and Food: Grease, fats, gravies, sauces and cooking oils should never go down your kitchen drain but should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of in the garbage. Once in your drain, these substances will cool off and solidify either in the drain or in the main sewer, eventually building up to a massive clog. Food particles should never go down the drain unless run through a garbage disposal first.
· Proper Disposal of Paper Products Properly: Toilet paper and human waste is the only thing that should go down your toilet. Diapers, paper towels, feminine products and food should never be flushed; these products do not deteriorate and can easily clog your main sewer line. Even facial tissue should be avoided; it does not dissolve as easily as bathroom tissue does.
· Replace Your Pipes: One way to prevent collapsed sewer lines or tree root infiltration is to replace your old clay or metal sewer lines with today’s newer plastic or PVC pipe. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your sewer line, you may have to have the roots cut or your line cleared periodically.
· Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: These fixtures are installed into a sewer line in the basement of your home to prevent sewer backups. They allow sewage to go out, but not to come back in.
What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup
Sewer backups can produce a host of nightmares for homeowners, including disease, mold formation, destruction of valuables, foundation damage and electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup is necessary to restore sanitary conditions and prevent further damage. We highly recommend Rainbow or ServPro for immediate Flood Remediation. They know how to work with your insurance company. Then, give us a call for after-flood carpet and upholstery cleaning at Professional Flood Carpet Cleaning in Boulder, CO 80304.
If you experience a sewer backup situation, at a minimum, your cleanup should include:
· Wet-vacuuming of all floodwater
· Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap, water and disinfectant
· Flushing and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
· Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets, upholstery or drapes. Call us at Professional Flood Carpet Cleaning in Boulder, CO 80304 if you need help.
· Repairing/removing damaged wall and floor covering
· Cleanup of ductwork