Sewage Problems and Clean-up Procedures After Storm
900 University Boulevard North
Jacksonville, Florida 32211
Following a storm, you may experience problems with the operation of your sewage system. If you have a septic system that runs by a dosing pump, it will not work without electricity. You should stop using water in your home as much as possible until the electricity comes back on. Without the pump working, the septic tank will fill and may cause backup of sewage in your home.
- Do not let children play in flood waters, as these waters may be contaminated by sewage.
- If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, the ground in your area may be soaked from heavy rainfalls or flooding from the hurricane. You should use household water as little as possible to prevent backup of sewage into your home.
What should I do if sewage backs up into my home?
- If a sewage backup has happened in your home, stay out of affected areas and keep children away. If your entire home has been soaked, abandon the home until all affected areas, including but not limited to carpets, rugs, sheetrock, drywall and baseboards, have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- If sewage has overflowed in open areas or streets avoid these areas and do not let children play in these areas.
- If you are having problems in areas served by public sewer systems, please contact your utility company to make sure they are aware of problems in your area.
PROPER SEWAGE CLEAN-UP PROCESS
Heavy rainfall from hurricanes may result in flood waters that are contaminated with sewage. Proper cleaning and disinfecting processes are recommended to prevent illness.
How to clean up sewage contaminated items and sewage spills inside your home:
- Wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and waterproof gloves.
- Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors, and other household surfaces with soap and water and disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Once cleanup is complete, dry out affected items to prevent the growth of mold.
- Do not mix ammonia cleansers with bleach as toxic fumes will form.
- Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or have them dry cleaned.
- Discard items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, such as mattresses, carpeting, wall coverings and upholstered funiture.
For spills outside your home:
- Contact your public utility or a registered septic tank contractor for clean-up.
- Minor spills requiring instant attention may be disinfected with regular garden lime from a garden shop. Follow the lime container’s label instructions for personal protective equipment needed. Use lime outdoors only.
- Sprinkle the lime onto the spill so it is dusted mostly white on the surface. After a day, rake up the thicker deposit and place it in a trash bag for disposal. Use a sprinkler or hose to water the remainder into the soil.
- Let the area dry in the sun a day before allowing access. If there is still white lime dust visible on the yard, water it until the white dust is gone.
Follow proper hygiene processes to prevent illness:
- Keep hands and fingers away from the nose, mouth, eyes and ears.
- Wash hands with soap and water immediately after cleanup efforts, as well as before eating or drinking.
- Keep fingernails short and clean. Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and foreign materials.
- Do not store clean work clothes with used work clothes.
- Shower as soon as possible after cleaning up sewage or sewage contaminated flood waters.