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What Causes a Sewage Backup in the Basement?

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Posted on: August 19, 2019

Water damaged wall in basement with shop vac hose next to puddle of water.

Is your basement drain backing up when you’re washing clothes? Have you noticed that your basement floor drain backs up when the toilet is flushed or when it rains?

If so, you could be dealing with a handful of different plumbing problems. Determining the root cause is the key to getting the right repairs—and preventing further damage.

To help you troubleshoot a sewage backup in your basement, here’s a look at the top five causes of this issue. Whenever you need a professional plumber to diagnose and repair the problem, it’s time to contact the trusted team at Len The Plumber.

Call Len The Plumber at 800-950-4619 or contact Len The Plumber online for fast, reliable service throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.  

We proudly offer:

  • Emergency service at no extra charge
  • 2-hour response times for sewer and drain emergencies
  • FREE estimates, upfront pricing, and exceptional service!

3 Causes of Sewage Backups in Basements

  1. Sewer line clogs: A main sewer line clog can slow or stop the passage of wastewater from your home to the city sewer line. One of the first signs of this plumbing problem is often backups in basement drains.
  2. Sewer line damage: Sewer lines that are cracked, broken, collapsed, or damaged by tree root infiltration will also stop the proper flow of wastewater and cause basement drain backups. With this type of issue, the basement backup can be one of the first red flags, and other plumbing problems (like clogs in multiple fixtures or bathtub backups) will soon follow.
  3. Heavy rains, flooding, or storms: Sometimes, sewage backups in a basement drain may not indicate a problem with your plumbing fixtures or sewer line. Instead, they can occur when the city sewer system is inundated with water after a heavy rain shower. When rainwater overwhelms the system and it simply can’t take it anymore, basement sewage backups happen.

How to Clean a Basement Sewage Backup: 8 Helpful Tips

Sewage backups in your basement aren’t just nasty—they can also present health hazards. So, when it’s time to clean up these backups, it’s essential to take the proper precautions to ensure that:

  • Your space is thoroughly sanitized and cleaned.
  • You’re not exposed to any harmful parasites, bacteria, or other substances.

Here are some helpful tips for cleaning sewage backups in your basement (or anywhere in your home):

  1. Don’t let backups and foul-smelling standing water sit: Clean it up as soon as you notice it, so it doesn’t cause more hazards and damage.
  2. Wear protective gear: Wear boots, pants, and long sleeves—or waders. If you have any open wounds, fully and securely cover them with a waterproof bandage. It’s also crucial to wear eye protection, gloves, and a ventilator.
  3. Pick up solid matter with shovels and buckets: Dispose of solid waste, as well as the soaking towels or sheets you’ve used, in a durable trash bag (like contractor garbage bags). You may even want to rent a dumpster for all of the waste you’ll need to throw away during this cleanup.
  4. Use a shop vacuum to remove puddles: Wet/dry vacuums will also work for cleaning up larger puddles.
  5. Use old or throwaway towels or sheets to soak up the wastewater: If you don’t have extra towels or sheets at home that you can toss after the cleanup, consider picking up some cheap towels or sheets from a thrift store.
  6. Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove remaining moisture: This will help completely dry out the area and prevent mold growth.
  7. Throw away unsalvageable items: This includes carpet, wood furniture, particleboard, and fabric. All of these items will soak up sewage.
  8. Disinfect: When the basement has been cleared of sewage and is dry, disinfect everything. Start with a solution of warm water and soap, and then wipe down everything with a mixture of water and bleach. Working in sections can be helpful.

How to Diagnose & Repair the Causes of a Basement Sewage Backup

The single best way to diagnose and fix the problems that are causing a backup in your basement drain is to contact an experienced plumber at Len The Plumber.

Call 800-950-4619 or contact Len The Plumber online now for plumbing and sewer line service.

We use state-of-the-art equipment, including sewer line inspection cameras, and our expertise to:

  • Determine exactly what’s causing the backup
  • Identify the best-fit solutions
  • Efficiently repair the problem to restore your plumbing system and minimize the chances of future backups

Plus, if you’re dealing with a drain or sewer emergency, we are here 24/7 ready to respond within 2 hours, and we’ll never charge you extra for emergency service.

Those are just some of the reasons why our customers love us! But don’t take our word for it—contact us to experience our excellence for yourself!

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