The Risks Of DIY Sewage Flood Cleanup

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Need sewage cleanup right this minute? Save The Day Restoration is a top-rated, fully licensed and experienced provider of sewage cleaning and water damage restoration services in Los Angeles.

Some homeowners wonder why they really need to call in a specialist company to do this. However, here’s what you need to know if you’re considering going the DIY road and cleaning up the stinky stuff yourself.

Sewage Backup At Home: What You Should Do First

Sewage flooding your home must be up there with a homeowner’s worst nightmares ever. So the most important thing is to get it dealt with swiftly and effectively.

It’s your home so your knee jerk reaction may be to start cleaning sewage up yourself. However please don’t do this because sewage is more hazardous than people realize.

Evacuate Everyone

Sewage is really bad for your health, which we’ll explore more later on. Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to getting sick from sewage.

And don’t forget to evacuate your pets. For one thing, they can also get sick, and for another, they won’t know not to wade through the smelly stuff either. Yuck.

Move Your Belongings To Higher Place If It’s Safe To Do So

Is that filthy water rising? If it’s safe to do so and you have time, move them up. You could save a fortune replacing electronics and furniture that’s not water resistant.

Have Your Water And Power Supplies Turned Off

Your utility provider can turn off the water for you. Having the water turned off may stop the toxic sewage water rising any further.

Electricity and liquid is a lethal combination, too so next call your provider to have the electricity temporarily cut.

Powered by gas? It’s still a good idea to have it cut off, to prevent damage to the system.

Call Save The Day Restoration 24/7 For Sewage Cleanup

There’s no time to lose so call our dependable team right away. We offer round the clock sewage services so we can get to your Los Angeles home fast when you need us the most.

Take Photos Of The Damage For Your Insurance

diy sewage cleanup

Don’t forget this step! While you’re waiting for us to arrive, go around and take some clear photos of the damage.

You’ll need to prove that the sewage damage happened in the way you say it did in order to get an insurance payout. The insurance company will also want proof that it was sudden damage from sewage and not the result of neglect over time.

Sewage In Flood Water

Low-lying coastal areas in Los Angeles are particularly prone to floods. And even if the floods are due to heavy rain, you should still treat the water with extreme caution and not try to clean it up yourself.

It’s more than possible that flood water contains sewage. How? The sewers themselves or septic systems can overflow during a flood. So if there are small traces of sewage it can be dangerous while not necessarily having a recognizably bad sewage smell.

That’s why when we deal with floods, we treat each job as a sewage cleanup until we test the water.

Is Breathing In Sewage Harmful?

Yes, as well as being very unpleasant it’s dangerous especially if it’s raw sewage. When bacteria break down sewage, it causes natural hydrogen sulfide gas.

These hydrogen sulfide vapors can actually give you gastroenteritis or trigger asthma attacks. And that’s not all. Look at what it does to different parts of your body.


  • Irritation.

  • Watering.


  • Nausea.

  • Headache.

  • Dizziness.

  • Loss of consciousness.


  • Vomiting.

Respiratory System

  • Cough.

  • Irritated nose and throat.

  • Breathing difficulties, or even inability to breathe.

It’s important to note that the effects on your body of breathing in sewage can often come on after exposure. So it’s not just a question of pausing the cleanup if you feel bad.

What Protective Equipment Do You Need For Cleaning Sewage?

When Save The Day Restoration does sewage cleanup we have industrial grade protective clothing.

In addition to that, we have specialist breathing apparatus so that we don’t ingest anything dangerous.

Can You Get Sick From Cleaning Up Sewage?

Yes, unfortunately you can get very sick.

Remember, and hold your nose if you must, the sewage may not just be from your household, it may be goodness-knows-whose sewage.

Sewage is treated with powerful chemicals, and these chemicals are no good for your body either.

Anti-Foaming Agents

All the foaming cleaning products people use cause problems if they keep on foaming in the sewer. So they use anti-foaming agents to keep everything moving along.

However, anti-foaming agents are harmful to your skin if you accidentally splash it on yourself during a DIY sewage cleanup.


These substances make particles in sewage clump together. It’s so that they can remove solid contaminants more easily. That’s great while they’re in the sewers, but not so great when you have a leak.

Why? Because they contain a harmful residue and carcinogens that you can inhale without realizing.

What Can You Catch From Sewage Cleanup?

You can catch quite a lot of nasty bugs cleaning sewage without proper equipment and training. Here are some of the better known ones.

Parasitic Microorganisms

These include polio, which as you may know can cause exhaustion, breathing problems, severe disabilities and death.


It’s not just from bad food. And with salmonella, you’re looking at diarrhea, stomach cramps and a fever for about a week. In rare cases, salmonella can cause death.

Typhoid Fever

What are the symptoms? Weakness, pain in the stomach and digestive issues plus a cough. Doesn’t sound too bad, but the fatality rate can be as high as 30%.


This is a big killer in the developing world. There’s diarrhea with blood, terrible stomach cramps, vomiting and a fever.

We’re sure you’ll want to give the diseases above a really wide berth. The kind of gloves and masks you can buy in stores just don’t give you enough protection against these potentially deadly diseases.

One drop of filthy water is all it takes to get extremely sick, so the Save The Day Restoration team wears industrial grade protective clothing and breathing filters.

Another Risk Of DIY Sewage Cleanup: Doing It Wrong Causes Mold

It’s easy to become a victim of mold in the Los Angeles winters anyway. Say you do your own sewage cleanup in the basement. It’s usually an area of the home that homeowners ignore so unless you do a perfect job, mold can grow in less than a day.

Mold grows even faster on sewage because it has more to feast on than clean water. Gross, we know.

And here’s another reason mold wants to grow after your sewage spill. Your home is probably warmer than a sewer, and contains surfaces for mold to grow on. Both of these factors promote mold growth.

Learn more in our guide: Water Extraction vs Water Mitigation: What’s the Difference?

How Our Sewage Cleaning Services Work

Calling Save The Day is the best way to clean up sewage in your home. Here’s what we’ll do.

  • Pump out the dirty water.

  • Remove any debris that’s flowed into your home with the sewage.

  • Dry the area with industrial strength dehumidifiers.

  • Use air scrubbers to make it safe to breathe again.

DIY sewage cleanup is dangerous so the best course of action is to leave it to the professionals. We’ll leave your home clean, safe and odor free.

Sewage Backup Cleanup Cost

The price of sewage cleanup depends on a couple of factors.

sewage backup cleanup

  • The size of the area affected.

  • How much sewage there is to remove.

  • How much it’s damaged your home structurally.

  • What we need to replace in your home.

You can mitigate the damage by calling us right away. We’ll be happy to give you a quote, and you can call us 24/7.

What Does Sewer Backup Insurance Cover?

If you have sewer backup insurance then it will usually cover damage as a result of water backups from your home to the main line. Also, it will cover the cost of removing the sewage and repairs. Check your policy to see what your case is.

Insurance coverage is one reason it’s important not to do sewage cleanup yourself. Say you do it incorrectly. You could face one of the following issues as a result.

  • Mold damage.

  • Water damage.

  • Structural problems in your home, such as warped floors due to the weight of the liquid.

Normally, your insurance would cover these, as long as you claim promptly. However, if they occurred later as the result of improper sewage cleanup, you would have to pay out of pocket.

Call Save The Day Restoration For Expert Sewage Cleaning Services In Los Angeles

Whatever you do, don’t risk DIY sewage cleanup! Stay healthy with a structurally sound home when you get professional sewage removal, cleaning and reconstruction.

If you have suffered water or fire damage, check out our blog How to Restore your Home After Being Hit with Fire or Water Damage.

The friendly team at Save the Day Restoration will get rid of every trace of the sewage and clean everything thoroughly for you in no time. And as you’d expect, we offer 24/7 emergency services. Call us now or use our short contact form.

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