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Published on Mar 3, 2016
Sewage contamination, two words no property owner ever wants to hear. It can cause devastating damage to a property and create serious exposure concerns for anyone who lives or works in the building.
There are a number of scenarios that can result in sewage contamination indoors. Some of the most common causes include a backed up or broken sewer line, malfunctioning septic system or as a result of a flooding event that brings sewage from the outdoors into the home or building.
In addition to the unpleasant nature of sewage contamination, it can also destroy building materials, furnishings and belongings. Some nonporous materials can potentially be cleaned and disinfected, but most porous materials will need to be discarded.
Sewage contamination can expose people to a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and parasites. Standing water and wet materials will allow many of these organisms to multiply and the introduced moisture can result in the rapid growth of mold on many materials throughout the property. In some circumstances, there could even be potentially hazardous chemicals mixed in with the sewage.
Contact with any of these contaminants or pathogens could result from direct contact, ingestion or inhalation. All building occupants could be at risk, but this is especially true for anyone with a weakened or suppressed immune system.
Due to the health concerns and complications associated with properly assessing and remediating sewage contamination, most property owners faced with this scenario in their residential or commercial property should consider expert advice and help. Qualified indoor environmental consultants can test and assess the damage and there are remediation firms that specialize in sewage contamination. For those filling an insurance claim, an experienced public adjuster can also help to ensure that no damage is overlooked.
These are just a few things to know about sewage contamination in a residential or commercial building. To learn more about this or other property, occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health or safety issues, please visit the websites shown below.