Nobody likes a sewer backup to flood their basement. It’s smelly and gross. When STOP is called to this type of job there a specific procedures we follow to protect the homeowner and ourselves.
During the initial inspection of the flooded basement, we wear respirators so we don’t inhale any contaminants or toxins from the sewer backup and we offer this protection to the homeowner knowing that most people don’t have these available. We wear rubber boots that come up to our mid-calf and we tuck our pants into the boots. As we leave the sewer backup area we leave the boots and change to our regular shoes. We don’t want to transfer these contaminates to other parts of the home. Before we begin cleanup we will put on safety glasses or goggles, rubber gloves and disposable coverall to further protect ourselves and clothing.
The next step is to protect the home while cleaning up a flooded basement resulting from a sewer backup. To do this we lay plastic from the contaminated area to the door. We don’t want it to drip anything on an unprotected floor as we move contents out of the home. We will bag almost everything to minimize the dripping on the floor. Those items that the homeowner doesn’t want to remove, like furniture, we will wipe off with an antibacterial solution and set on blocks during the dry out period.
There is one last thing that we consider when cleaning up a sewer backup that floods a basement. The HVAC system. To dry out the structure we will add numerous air movers and dehumidifiers. This equipment moves a lot of air and if we don’t consider the ducting and vents in the home we will be helping to contaminate the entire home. So we will block off all vents in the contaminated area with plastic and tape. We don’t want the homeowner to get sick as a result of airborne particles moving through the ductwork of the home.
It’s unfortunate when this type of event happens because most people will store contents in their basement. I know my basement is full of sentimental items, home decorations, and old furniture that I think one of my kids might need some day when they grow and buy their first home. But you have to recognize that contaminated items have toxins that can be harmful to people and a decision must be made to either discard it or thoroughly clean each item from a sewer backup flooding a basement.
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