Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Clean up the backup

Sewage contains hazardous germs that can contaminate people and things. Take extra care to protect your home, family, pets and yourself from sewage.

Protect your home

  • Avoid flushing toilets or using other water appliances.
  • Do not try to stop the flow of sewage coming up through the floor drain or any other drain.
  • Discard items exposed to sewage.
  • Talk with your insurance agent about how to document damage and begin repairs.
  • Sanitize and repair, or remove and discard paneling, wallboard or wall coverings within 24 hours.
  • Clean and sanitize hard surfaces with hot water and mild dish detergent. Then rinse with eight tablespoons of liquid household bleach dissolved in one gallon of water. Let the surface air dry.

Protect yourself

  • DO NOT MIX CLEANERS! Mixing bleach and ammonia produces DANGEROUS FUMES!
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, rubber boots, gloves and eye protection.
  • Avoid contact with sewage, especially in your mouth, eyes, nose, or any cuts or sores.
  • Keep cuts and sores clean and covered. If you should get cut while cleaning, talk to your doctor about getting a tetanus shot.
  • Do not eat or drink anything exposed to sewage.

Protect your family

  • Consider hiring a professional cleaning company.
  • Do not allow children or pets to play in contaminated areas.
  • Avoid carrying germs from the sewage into uncontaminated areas on your shoes.
  • After the clean-up, wash your hands thoroughly and launder clothes and shoes separately from other clothing.

Avoid danger

  • Do not use electrical equipment while standing in water.
  • Turn off power to the flooded area.
  • Turn off the gas (or other fuel) to your furnace or heater and hot water heater.
  • Unplug all electrical appliances and small electrical devices.
  • Call an expert to remove appliance motors, dry them, and inspect for damage before using again.