Sewage is the waste carried off by water through pipes and culverts in an effort to remove it from and inhabited area. Often sewage is thought of as just human excrement, but it can be comprised of so much more. Along with the “black” water that comes from toilets, sewage may also contain used or “gray” water that comes from your sink, tub, shower, dishwasher, and clothes washer. This contains soaps, detergents, food particles, and toilet paper as well.
Bacteria, Parasites, Fungi, and Viruses
Disease causing organisms like bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses found in raw sewage can cause serious illnesses and can be fatal. Just a few of the organisms and the illnesses caused by them are as follows:
- Adenoviruses cause respiratory infections such as pneumonia, croup, and bronchitis.
- Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea and high fevers.
- Bacteria such as E. coli can cause gastrointestinal diseases.
- Salmonella gastroenteritis like diseases, typhoid fever and other symptoms of food poisoning.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can be ‘caught” through raw sewage.
In addition to becoming ill, you can pick up Round worms, tapeworms and other parasites. These carry their own problems from diarrhea weight loss and illness. You can also contract tetanus if it enters through an open wound. All these impurities can enter body through any opening. Nose, mouth, eyes, genital, and open wounds. NEVER touch raw sewage if possible. Seek medical attention immediately if you believe you have been exposed.
What should I do?
If you discover raw sewage flowing ANYWHERE, contact the authorities immediately. It could have several causes; a ruptured pipe, serious flooding in the area, an overflowing septic or holding tank or, the simplest problem, a clogged pipe that is backing up. No matter the case, someone in charge should know ASAP. The area should be cleared, and the flow stopped as quickly as humanly possible t try and avoids any serious health concerns.
If you find yourself faced with sewer damage, try to avoid contact, and call a professional. Avoid confined spaces that have been contaminated with sewage, not only because toxic, flammable, or asphyxiating gases may be present, but the chances of infection from breathing in waste are present. Look for a professional who is recognized by the Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC) and know the job is done right.