The Dangers of Raw Sewage Exposure | Pittsburgh | Terrys Plumbing

The Dangers of Raw Sewage Exposure

It’s easy to take your home’s sewer lines for granted. When you flush the toilet, drain a bath, or run the garbage disposal, the water and waste disappear down the drain, never to be seen again. But it wasn’t always like this. Thanks to the evolution of sewer systems, sanitation problems are no longer a major concern. However, long-term ignorance can cause clogging and overflow–resulting in exposure. Just because we don’t see sewage flowing on the streets, it doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for us to be exposed. In this blog, we cover possible sources of exposure, illnesses that can occur due to exposure, and how you can protect your family.

Sources of Sewage Exposure

Centralized sewer systems and water treatment plants are the unsung heroes in the public’s daily life. From ensuring clean drinking water to taking care of human waste, these operations go unnoticed and rightfully so as public exposure to sewage is something that no one should have to deal with. Below we included a small list of ways you could possibly be exposed to raw sewage if not careful.

  • Broken Sewage Pipes – Infected water spills out and can run anywhere when sewage pipes break or leak. People or animals coming in contact with the water can become violently sick.
  • Clogged Toilets – A blocked toilet can easily overflow. The flooded water carries thousands of invisible germs that are released into the air instantly. It’s advisable to call professional plumbers to fix clogged toilets because they have special PPE for getting exposed to dirty water.
  • Septic Tanks – A septic tank is a chamber containing a mixture of local waste, sludge, and manure. They are also unhealthy and hazardous. If the septic tank’s lid breaks, it’s best to get it fixed by a professional or it will spread germs in the air.
  • Floor Drains – Heavy rain causes the sewer and drainage system to swell, which results in contaminated water entering people’s homes and flooding basements.

Diseases Caused by Raw Sewage Exposure

Now that you know the ways you could be exposed, let’s go over how contaminated water can cause many health problems. Below is a list of the most common health problems raw sewage can cause.

  • Diarrhea genic E. coli: The common symptoms of diarrhea is watery and bloody stools, nausea, vomiting, fever, and cramps.
  • Gastroenteritis:  Gastroenteritis also known as stomach flu, causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache.
  • Giardiasis: The symptoms of Giardiasis are quite like Gastroenteritis, but the cause of this disease is the Giardia parasite.
  • Hepatitis A: We all know how fatal hepatitis can be, but did you know it is caused by consuming contaminated fecal matter. Symptoms of hepatitis are jaundice, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid is a bacterial disease caused by contaminated water and food. Some of its common symptoms are fever, weakness, headache, and stomach pain.

Another health risk is breathing troubles. Methane and other gasses are often let off of sewage and other waste as it decomposes and this can cause respiratory distress if the affected person is exposed for a long period of time.

Protecting Your Family’s Health

For those with underdeveloped or weakened immune systems, or those who are already coping with a severe or immunocompromising illness, the risk of contracting a sewage-related condition tends to be much greater and far more dangerous. Those affected most by sewage-related diseases include infants, young children, the elderly, and anyone with previous health issues. Minimizing your family’s exposure to contaminated areas is one of the best ways to avoid sewage-related health risks.

Once a sewage backup is detected, it’s important to keep your loved ones away from the affected area(s) and items throughout the cleanup process and to be particularly careful when it comes to the most vulnerable. If you must access a contaminated area, be sure to take every precaution to avoid direct exposure. Waterproof boots, eye protection, gloves, masks, and disposable clothes are recommended.

Call Super Terry!

With knowledge of these raw sewage exposure symptoms, it’s clear how effective modern plumbing is at keeping us healthy every day. If you experience a sewage backup at home, please contact the Terry’s Plumbing of Pittsburgh today.