4 Health Dangers Of Poor Sewer And Drainage System Maintenance
Having a blocked toilet is already agitating, but when the problem runs deeper and affects other areas of your home, including clean water supply, you need to get it fixed right away. Poor sewer and drainage system maintenance harbors bacteria which can’t only lead to poor hygiene in the home, but also pose serious health risks.
From sewage spilling out onto the floors of your home, to exposure to dangerous gas, not maintaining the sewer and drainage system properly can lead to several health problems, including skin infection, respiratory disorders, and even serious diseases. Learning about poor sewer and drainage system maintenance can help you prevent these health hazards.
What Does A Sewer System Do?
The sewer system has two primary components—the drain lines that carry wastewater from homes to lift stations for further transport and treatment before being released into rivers or lakes. The other component is the sewage pipe which carries wastewater from toilet drains from the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The sewer system also carries stormwater runoff from rain gutters and storm sewers, so it must be separated from drainage system lines.
The sewer system is usually buried beneath the ground and requires regular maintenance since it also wears down over time. Poor sewer and drainage systems can lead to many problems, including clogged lines that need to be cleaned manually for the wastewater to flow freely.
Blocked Drains And Sewer Lines
If your sewer system is not properly maintained, it can lead to blocked drain lines and sewage blockage. This problem affects the health of everyone in the home because wastewater from a blocked toilet or a kitchen sink doesn’t flow freely anymore. The wastewater stagnates instead and creates a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. While you can see dirty water in the bathroom, it may be difficult to trace where the problem is coming from.
The sewage backed up in your home due to blocked drain lines could carry all kinds of germs and bacteria. Your children and pets are at risk of exposure to these diseases if they somehow manage to swallow or touch the germs and bacteria.
That’s why it’s necessary to make sure that your sewer system is regularly checked and maintained so you can avoid some of the problems it can cause. You may visit this website and other related sites to learn more about sewer and drain cleaning services in your area.
The Dangers Of A Blocked Sewer System
You need to remember that wastewater from your sewers is contaminated with germs and parasites that pose serious health risks.
Some of the most common health risks from sewage spills from a backed-up sewer system include:
- Exposure To Dangerous Gases
The wastewater in your sewer lines carries harmful gases released into the air when the wastewater isn’t being transported to a processing facility for treatment. The dangerous gases include methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide, which can lead to health problems including:
- Respiratory Disorders
The germs and bacteria in wastewater can cause infections that affect the respiratory system, leading to pneumonia, bronchitis, or even septicemia, a severe blood infection. These conditions could require hospitalization for treatment, so addressing the health risk associated with blocked sewer systems early on is critical.
- Skin Infections
Standing dirty wastewater from blocked sewer lines can infect the skin, especially if you have a cut or wound. The germs and bacteria from the sewage water enter your body through the broken skin and cause all kinds of health problems. These conditions include staph infection, strep throat, and impetigo, which is highly contagious.
You may not think about the dangers of dirty water from a blocked sewer system until you notice skin rashes and infections. Standing wastewater in your home can affect your skin, especially if you have wounds or open sores in your body. The germs and bacteria in sewage, such as E-coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and Salmonella, can cause serious health problems.
- Headaches And Dizziness
Standing wastewater from your backed-up sewer system can also affect your health if you inhale the fumes from it. Methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide from wastewater cause headaches and dizziness in some people.
- Nausea And Vomiting
One of the ugly scenarios that can happen when you’re exposed to gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide is nausea and vomiting. Exposure to methane for an extended period can cause unconsciousness and even death in some cases.
- Exposure To Disease-Carrying Bacteria And Parasites
Water contaminated with germs and parasites can lead to gastrointestinal infections such as:
- Food Poisoning: The dirty water from your wastewater containing E-coli and other harmful bacteria and parasites that cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.
- Hepatitis A: This is a severe liver infection caused by a virus found in the feces of infected people. The virus is transferred to people who ingest contaminated food or water.
- Giardiasis: This condition affects the gastrointestinal tract and is caused by a water parasite containing human waste. Symptoms of giardiasis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, fever, and fatigue.
- Salmonella: It’s a severe bacterial infection that can be transferred through food or water contaminated with feces. Some symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
- Exposure To Hazardous Chemicals And Pharmaceuticals
Even today, wastewater carries industrial wastes and chemical contaminants, including household chemicals, pesticides, paint thinners, and other toxic substances that can lead to many health concerns. Some of these conditions include:
- Kidney Damage: People with kidney problems are at higher risk when exposed to hazardous chemicals in wastewater such as heavy metals like mercury, copper, and lead, which can be absorbed by the kidneys and cause permanent damage.
- Liver Damage: Many chemical wastes in wastewater such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals can cause damage to the liver. Even exposure to small levels of chloroform found in sewage has been known to cause cancer in animals.
- Cancer: People who live in homes with blocked sewer lines inhale dangerous gases that cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
- Fatal Diseases
Standing wastewater from a blocked sewer system can also cause severe and even fatal diseases such as:
- Legionnaires: This is a dangerous form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria commonly found in dirty water systems that grow when left stagnate for long periods. It’s most common among older adults.
- West Nile Virus: This is a mosquito-borne illness spread by bird feces found in standing wastewater on the ground surrounding your home. It’s most common among older people during the summer months.
- Listeriosis: This infection affects pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems caused by the bacteria in standing wastewater.
- Campylobacteriosis: This serious gastrointestinal tract infection occurs when you ingest food or water contaminated with feces containing Campylobacter bacteria, often transferred through standing wastewater.
Disease Prevention Tips For Your Home
Fight against blocked sewer lines by having your home inspected by a professional plumber to detect any problems. You can also take preventive measures to reduce or eliminate the accumulation of dirt and debris that causes blocked sewer lines in your home’s drainage system. Here are some other helpful tips to keep in mind.
- Regularly inspect your drainpipes and sewage system for any blockages, leaks, or damage that can contribute to poor drainage.
- Dispose of all household chemicals properly by checking the label for disposal instructions and never pour them down a sink or toilet directly. If you have a septic tank at home, dispose of these chemicals at an approved dumping site.
- Have your septic tank cleaned regularly by a company that provides septic tank cleaning services. The bacteria in untreated wastewater causes unnecessary damage to the environment and your septic tank.
- Install a water filter to prevent toxic chemicals and metals in standing wastewater from entering your home’s drinking water source. You can also install filters on bath, shower, and sink drains to keep hair, soap scum, and other contaminants away from the sewer system.
- Keep your home clean and free of debris to prevent blockages in the drainage system.
- Never pour grease, salt, coffee grounds, or cat litter down a sink. Add them in a container and dispose of them properly in the trash.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your toilet, as these can add more toxic substances to wastewater. Use non-toxic cleaners instead.
- Keep the area surrounding your home free of standing wastewater, especially after heavy rainfall and when landscaping the area to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
To ensure the health and safety of your family members:
- Use antibacterial soap and warm water when washing your hands. Do this when coming into contact with dirt and debris from the sewer system and when handling food or eating.
- Rinse your fruits and vegetables well with clean water before eating them.
- Use bottled, boiled, or disinfected water when preparing food that hasn’t been cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria in the wastewater that might be present on uncooked vegetables and fruits.
- Eat well-prepared food. Cooking food thoroughly kills the bacteria found in wastewater such as E-coli and Salmonella.
- Prevent children from playing or crawling on dirty ground areas where wastewater is present.
- If you have a pet, regularly clean its paws after to prevent the bacteria found in wastewater from entering your pet’s bloodstream.
What To Watch Out For
How do you know when your sewer line is blocked? Here are some warning signs that you should look out for:
· Foul Smell At Home
A foul smell is a sign that the problem runs deeper than just blocked drain lines leading from your home’s bathroom and kitchen. The blockage may be in the sewers themselves. A foul smell may indicate that sewage is backing up into your home.
If you notice a terrible smell in the basement or other areas of your home, it’s time to find out where the blockage is coming from. The first thing you can do is call a professional plumber to inspect your sewer system to pinpoint the problem.
· Mold And Mildew
Another sign that your sewer line is blocked and you need to call a professional plumber at once is when you see mold and mildew in your bathroom and some other areas of your home. Blockage in the sewage system prevents wastewater from flowing freely, compromising the flow of fresh water into your home. If fresh or clean water doesn’t enter the sewage system, the wastewater stagnates, which then causes mold and mildew to grow.
· Dirty Water In The Basement
If you notice that dirty water collects in your basement floor grout or carpet, it’s time to call a plumber immediately. It’s especially true if there has been no unusual activity to cause this problem, such as a recent storm or plumbing problem.
· Pest Infestations
If you notice pests such as roaches, ants, and flies in your home, it’s time to pay attention. These insects search for food and water sources anywhere they can find them, including wastewater that stagnates due to blocked drainage system lines. You don’t want these insects breeding in your home.
· Unexplained Pooling Of Water
Water that pools around your home’s foundation are another telltale sign of a blocked sewer line. The pooling water can flow into your home, which then causes damage to your hardwood floors, walls, and other areas in the house. If the problem isn’t addressed immediately, your home will suffer more permanent damage as time goes on.
· Slow Draining Sink And Toilet
If your sink and toilets take a long time to drain, there’s a good chance that your sewer line is blocked. If the water doesn’t drain in a reasonable time, call a professional plumber immediately. When there’s a blockage in the sewage system, pressure builds up in the pipelines, preventing water from flowing freely through waste lines.
· Gurgling Sounds Coming From The Drain
When you hear gurgling and bubbling coming from your sink or tub, it’s time to call a professional plumber immediately. The pressure produced by the blockage in the sewage line forces water into other pipelines, including those leading to your bathtub and sinks. If this happens, drain cleaners won’t unblock the pipes.
· Sewer Water Backing Up Into Toilet Bowl
If sewer water backs up into your toilet bowl, it’s time to contact a plumbing company immediately. Sewer line blockage causes other pipelines in the sewage system to back up, which can lead to you having an unwanted visitor - water from other pipelines seeping into your toilet bowl.
· Toilet Bowl Clogged With Solid Objects
Another sign that your sewer line is clogged and needs immediate attention is if you notice solid objects such as baby wipes, paper towels, and other types of debris in the toilet bowl. The only way these items get there is if they are flushed down the drain, which then causes blockage.
· Decreased Water Pressure
If you notice your home’s water pressure is lower than usual, it’s time to contact a plumber. One of the signs of a blockage in the sewage system is when there isn’t enough fluid flow in the pipelines, which can cause water pressure to drop. When this happens, your dishwasher and washing machine won’t have enough power to operate properly.
Your family’s safety and health must always be a top priority. Contact a plumber immediately if you suspect that your sewer and drainage system require professional maintenance. Don’t wait until the problem becomes a crisis before you address it. Your plumber will be able to correct the issue and provide preventative maintenance to ensure that your home’s sewage line is always free from blockages.