Preventing Sewer Backup

By July 27, 2016Blog

How to Go About Preventing Sewer Backup

Sewer drain backups are among the most serious and common plumbing issues faced by businesses and homeowners. Blocked sewer backups occur when the amount of material being flushed into a sewerage system, be it a home or businesses septic system, or a public sewer system, exceed the capacity of that system. This can result in a blockage, damage to joints or pipes, and material from the sewer system flowing back out of toilets or other fixtures. In some cases, this can result in a chaotic sort of internal flooding where sewerage leaks into a home or business, creating an enormous mess which also involves some serious health risks due to the dangerous bacteria which live and grow in sewerage material.

A number of things can lead to a sewer backup, such as excessive rain or bad weather events, melting snow, high amounts of water or material being flushed into the system, collapsed or broken pipes, damaged pumps, and blockages caused by the flushing of sanitary materials or rubbish.

There are steps you can take as a home or business owner to minimise the risk of your sewer system becoming backed up.

Some useful tips

If you consider applying a few of the following measures in your home or business, the risk of a sewer backup occurring will be decreased greatly:

  • Keep water use to a minimum during periods of heavy rain or snow melt.
  • Ensure that cooking grease, fat, oil and other food waste are disposed of in the bin and not washed down drains, as they will harden and form blockages (particularly in older or damaged systems).
  • Ensure that rainwater downspouts are directed away from the building foundations of your home or business.
  • Ensure that your surface water drains are in good repair, and that they are carrying surface water away from your home as they should. If they are damaged or not working properly, the water which they leave behind can end up in your sewer system and lead to a backup over time.
  • Install a sump pump which will carry excess drainage into garden areas or surface drains.
  • Install an automatic backwater flow valve to prevent water from coming back through your system.
  • If you have a basement, ensure that the caps are left on any downspouts located here during heavy rain.

Cleaning up after a sewer backup

If a sewer backup has occurred, it requires an immediate reaction to prevent excessive damage to your home or business. It is always a good idea to call a professional plumber in this situation, our general plumbing and 24 hour emergency plumber service have all the tools and experience required to quickly and cleanly deal with a sewer backup.

Whilst waiting for a professional team to arrive, there are a few things you can do to minimise any damage or health risks:

  • Any affected items, appliances, rugs, etc should be removed from the affected area and placed in a dry, well ventilated spot.
  • Keep any electrical devices or power panels clear of the water, if you can’t, turn off the power to your home or business. We will turn it on again when it becomes safe to do so.
  • Photograph the affected area and any damaged surfaces or household items. Make a full list of the damaged items and describe the damage as you may need this for insurance purposes.
  • Begin disinfecting items which have come into contact with sewerage material. Extensive cleaning will be required, so it is best to start right away and throw away anything which is beyond saving by placing it in the garbage.
  • Once we have resolved the issue for you, contact your insurance provider as soon as you can to ensure that your claim is successful and you are reimbursed for the costs involved.

Safety is always the primary concern when a sewer backup has occurred. We will ensure that your premises is cleaned thoroughly and completely so that you can get back to normal as quickly as possible. We may recommend that you call an electrician if it seems that electrical systems may have been affected, but they will not be able to commence work until we have solved the plumbing problem.

If you would like an obligation free quote, or some simple advice on a plumbing matter, call us today.

Drainfast are the blocked drain and emergency plumber experts of Melbourne, if you’re still unsure on how to unblock a drain, call Drainfast on 1300 102 233 or leave a message on our contact form.


Blocked Drain and Emergency Plumber quick and helpful links:

Melbourne Water
Triple zero – 000
Victoria State Emergency Service
City of Melbourne – Floods and Storms
Yarra Valley Water


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