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Saving Your Home From A Black Water Disaster

When you moved into your St. Paul home you imagined all the fun and excitement that could happen there: playing with the dog in the grass, Thanksgiving dinner with family, taking prom photos on the stairs. The last think you envisioned was gallons of dirty, disgusting, foul liquid pouring into your sanctuary.

Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, electrical systems, walls, furniture and other belongings. And your dream home can become a nightmare. We at ICC want to offer some tips on what to do if your sewer backs up.

Why Do Sewers Backup?

The American Society of Civil Engineers report that the nation’s sewer lines are on average over thirty years old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows.

When storm water and raw sewage combine into the same pipeline, the infrastructure can not handle the increased stress. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed to more volume than they can handle, and sewage can spew out into basements and other low lying drains.

However, many problems are not due to age or “acts of God.” Often, it is poor decisions or home maintenance. Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the pipeline between their home and the city sanitary sewer main. This “sewer lateral” is owned and maintained by the property owner.  A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem. 

Protect Your Sewer Lateral and the City Main

Take responsibility for your water output. Properly dispose of grease. Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly after it cools off; it will solidify 1) in the drain, 2) in your line, or 3) in the main sewer. Properly dispose of paper products: paper towels, disposable diapers, hygienic wipes and feminine products.

Maintain tree roots. Problems with tree roots in your lateral may require the roots be cut by a professional. Correct illegal plumbing connections; don’t connect French drains or sump pumps to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal to do so, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections.

Finally, Install a backwater prevention valve that allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in. Use a qualified plumber. 

If you experience a Sewer Backup

Get professional help immediately. ICC has a team ready at this moment! There is absolutely no way you can handle it. A sewer backup leads to disease, destruction of your furnishings, damage to your home’s structure, and electrical malfunctions. Get the technicians and equipment in the home to:

  • Remove spillage
  • Mop floors and wipe walls with soap and disinfectant
  • Flush out and disinfect plumbing fixtures
  • Salvage or remove carpets
  • Repair or remove damaged wallboard 
  • Sterilize ductwork

Experts in St. Paul 

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 of the latest in high tech inspection tools to determine the extent of damage and to minimize potential health hazards. Contact us if you experience sewage problems.


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