Three Ways To Avoid Sewage Exposure In The Home
Sewage exposure comes with a whole host of health concerns. Exposure can lead to headaches and respiratory issues in the short term, but more serious ailments like E. coli and hepatitis are also a risk. Knowing how to avoid sewage exposure keeps you safe and ensures your plumbing is working properly.
1. Avoid Drain Damage
Damaged drains are more likely to leak sewage into your walls. With sinks, you need to avoid putting things like grease and oil, paint, or other chemicals down the drain that could cause damage to the pipes or a dangerous backup of the sink drain. In the bathroom, avoid flushing anything that isn't human waste or toilet paper, as anything else could lead to a backup or broken pipe, thus leading to raw sewage in the home. If you suspect a drain issue, plan to have it repaired promptly before sewage backflows into your home.
2. Monitor Your Yard for Leaks
The most likely place to experience a main sewage line leak is in your yard. Even though this is outside your home, it can still lead to dangerous sewage exposure. Walk your yard regularly, paying special attention to the area over the sewer line (if you know the location of the line). If your yard feels spongy, wet, or marsh-like, then you may have a sewer line leak. This is especially true if the grass is especially green in the area since nitrogen in sewage waste can lead to lusher and faster plant growth. You may also be able to smell the sewage — it will smell like rotten eggs or sulfur in most cases.
3. Keep Traps Working Properly
Underneath every drain in your home is a trap. This trap is typically a bend in the drainpipe that is designed to hold water, which prevents both sewer gases and raw sewage from coming back up the drain. If you have drains you rarely use, such as in a guest bathroom, run water through them once a week to ensure the trap doesn't dry out. In more frequently used drains, poor drainage or gurgling noises in the drain can indicate an issue with the trap. A plumber can check to make sure there are no problems. If you smell raw sewage from a drain, then a plumber will need to check both the drain and the trap for problems.
If you suspect that raw sewage or sewer gases are coming into your home, contact a residential plumber immediately.