Sunday, April 21, 2013

Health Risks Associated With Exposure to Sewage Damage

Sewage damage in the home or office can be crippling. It is unsafe to occupy a building flooded with sewage for any amount of time unless the affected area can be completed quarantined and placed under controlled airflow to prevent cross contamination into other rooms. Home and business owners should be mindful that sewage exposure should be dealt with immediately to avoid potentially long-term or fatal health risks. Most all affected areas and items will be labeled unrecoverable, especially those which come into frequent contact with small children and patients with immune deficiencies.
The dangers of raw sewage come in the form of serious infections and diseases. Thousands of pathogens and parasites fester in the waste and excrement found in raw sewage. Home and business owners must take control of the situation before family or colleagues contract diseases like:
Tapeworm (Helmiths worm) - feed on intestinal track. Causes vitamin deficiencies, fatigue, weight loss
Roundworm (Ascariasis) - block intestinal track. Causes chronic cough, shortness of breath
Giardia - causes diarrhea, dehydration, malabsorption, chronic weight loss
Cryptosporidiosis - life-threatening in immune-deficient patients
HPV (human papilloma virus) - known to cause cervical or anal cancer, genital warts
Rotavirus - causes severe diarrhea and fever
Norwalk Virus - causes gastroenteritis
Adenoviruses - cause respiratory and eye infections, pneumonia, croup and bronchitis
Bacterial Pathogens
E. coli (Escherichia coli) - causes bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting
Salmonella - causes gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever
Campylobacter jejuni - can cause arthritis and Guillain-Barr Syndrome long-term
Sanitizing affected areas and items must be performed with extreme care, following strict guidelines outlined by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). The IICRC states in its S500 Guidelines that absorbent saturated materials that cannot be washed in water at a temperature of 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for at least ten minutes must be quarantined and removed promptly from the affected area. These items include:
  • Carpet
  • Padding
  • Upholstery
  • Bedding
  • Wicker
  • Paper
  • Fabric
  • Drywall
  • Insulation

Once sterilization and safe removal of contaminated items are handled by a highly-trained, certified professional, a third-party industrial hygienist must be inserted into the project to provide unbiased post-remediation verification to ensure that the premises is safe to reoccupy.
As with any water damage, mold prevention must also be practiced during the sewage remediation project. Many severe health issues can occur long after sewage treatment is completed if mold growth is not protected against. Many mold remediation frequently asked questions can be answered by an expert mold removal company.