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The WORST Possible Water Damage: “Black Water” Sewer Leaks Demand Special Precautions

Raw sewage from a home contains EVERYTHING that is sent down your drains. This includes the obvious bathroom waste plus hygiene products, cleaning chemicals, food waste and other potentially dangerous compounds. Any discharge of this water within your home, teeming with disease-causing bacteria, can cause very serious illnesses for your family.

Since these materials combine and react in the plumbing system, all residential sewage leaks should be considered hazardous. Because of the high toxicity levels associated with sewage problems, a quick response time, proper safety equipment and an experienced team are needed to handle a “black water” emergency.

If you’ve had a sewer leak in your home, be proactive; this is not an everyday DIY clean-up. Here’s why:

What is in the water?

This “water” is extremely dirty and contain pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and amoebas. (Pathogens are any microorganisms that can cause illness in humans.) While the bacteria that naturally live in the human gut are non-pathogenic inside the body, they can be pathogenic if they are ingested through physical or airborne contact with the nose, mouth, or open cut once they have left the body as waste.

Plus, raw sewage is an ideal medium for many other dangerous organisms that grow outside the body. For example, botulism, E-coli, salmonella, intestinal amoebas, and cholera can be carried in raw sewage.

Can the smell make you sick?

Your most immediate danger from a residential sewage leak  are the gases. Sewage generates carbon dioxide, methane, chlorine, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.

Specifically, hydrogen sulfide, or “sewer gas” occurs in nature in crude petroleum, volcanoes, and hot springs. But in your home, it is the result from the bacterial breakdown of organic waste matter. At low levels, it has a strong odor similar to rotten eggs and does not usually make you sick. However, at higher levels, hydrogen sulfide gas can definitely cause illness.

Do you need more than a plumber?

Of course, you need to address the physical plumbing structure that failed and allowed the leak, but you need to contact a full service restoration team to immediately deal with potential contamination. Experts like ICC’s black water restoration crew can provide the latest in high tech tools to conduct a thorough inspection of the property, determine the extent of the damage and efficiently decontaminate your home..

Expert contents removal  ensures the best chances to recover porous items from  contaminated water. When choosing a contractor, look for  IICRC certified technicians to complete tests to ensure proper drying and removal of all toxic materials.

Experts in Minnesota

Safety is the first concern in black water damage and ICC has the certifications, training and experience to properly restore structures and their contents while protecting the health of those who live or work there.

With ICC, you are assured the latest in high tech inspection tools to determine the extent of damage and to minimize potential health hazards. Call the  24-hour emergency line at 888-352-232 or visit for help in the Twin Cities and Rochester.


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