Yuck. We all turn our noses up when we think of sewage. Especially when it overflows or backs up into our homes. What may surprise you is what is actually considered sewage and how dangerous it can really be. Sewage, also know as Category 3 water, is one of the most dangerous materials we deal with in the Disaster Cleanup and Restoration industry here in Utah. Often, people think of sewage as a toilet overflow, however; that is just one type of sewage issue. Sewage is considered anything that originates from beyond the trap that flows back into the home and causes sewage water damage. It could be water from a shower drain, sink drain, the toilet and even water from the outside that is entering the home that may contain bacteria or pathogens.
The mistake many people often make is classifying the water simply by looking at the color of the water to determine if it is dangerous or not. This is a myth that should be done away with. Regardless of color or smell, sewage should be handled with caution and proper safety steps should be taken when mitigating the problem. The proper terminology in our industry for this type of water is considered to be Cat 3 water. The IICRC states the definition of Category 3 water as “That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.”
Here in Utah, Whenever someone is dealing with these types of issues it is highly recommended that you call a certified Disaster Cleanup Company to come and evaluate the situation. Do not try cleaning up the mess yourself unless you have all of the proper training and equipment to handle the contaminated area. Sewage contains bacteria and viruses that can be life threatening and debilitating. It’s not worth the health risk to you or your family. Depending on the origination of the sewage, in many cases we can work directly with your homeowners insurance to take care of the problem. For more information on determining what your homeowners insurance policy covers, see https://qdcutah.wpengine.com/homeowners-