Professional vs. DIY: When to Call in the Experts for Sewage Cleanup

The nightmare of sewage flooding into a property must be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of tainted liquid seeping into places it is not supposed to. However, before deciding to try and clean up the mess alone, there are some contributing factors and fundamental truths each person needs to be aware of and weigh up accordingly. In this article, we have put together the salient points surrounding any attempted sewage cleanup.

Should you hire professionals to clean up sewage?

The first thing it might be prudent to consider when asking yourself this question is whether or not you have the right kind of constitution and equipment for what is very unpleasant, dirty work. The extent to which the property has been affected by leaking sewage is a significant element of any cleanup, and it may be possible for individuals to handle smaller, less pervasive contaminations on a DIY basis. However, if the situation is an extreme one, it can only be handled by experienced professionals if there is to be any hope of achieving a satisfactory result and salvaging the property and its contents.

The health risks associated with sewage cleanup

Whatever the cause of sewage backing up and spilling into your property, it represents a serious hazard to the health of the occupants until it can be safely neutralized and removed. The main dangers associated with contaminated sewage are:

  • Parasites
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi (mold)

Each of these is unpleasant and dangerous in its own way and can cause serious, potentially fatal health problems. Combined, they create a toxic blend that should not be underestimated or tackled without the correct protective equipment (PPE).

From the contraction of any one of more than a dozen dangerous diseases (including Hepatitis A and Encephalitis) to exposure to mold spores that appear from 24 to 48 hours after exposure to air, the risks associated with any contact are extreme. Worryingly, they grow exponentially worse for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

    Other significant dangers of sewage cleanup

    • Explosions

    It might seem counterintuitive when dealing with flooded, saturated areas, but the risk of explosion is very real when dealing with raw sewage. The gasses given off not only smell appalling but are also highly flammable and easily ignited. If the affected area lacks decent ventilation, there is a high chance that flammable gasses will have built up. Naked flames must be avoided at all costs, and it is also advisable to shut off the power entirely in this situation, as sparks from light fixtures and other electrics can cause ignition. At this point, you have a responsibility to seek professional help, as the danger to yourself and others is simply too great.

    • Electrocution

    If the main power was not cut off before the flooding occurred, then touching fixtures, electrical equipment, and wires is extremely dangerous. Even with the power cut-off, residual charges can still be present, and cause injury or even death. Again, the property owner must seek professional guidance at this point.


    It may seem obvious that, as an emergency remediation and cleanup company, we would recommend seeking professional assistance with cleaning after a sewage spill. After all, it is our profession, but that is not how we operate here at Aftercare. We value our reputation and professional integrity too highly to be anything other than open and honest with our advice and guidance in these matters. However, the fact remains that cleaning up after a sewage leak is horrendously unpleasant and exceptionally dangerous to undertake without the right equipment and expertise.

    So, should you hire professionals to clean up sewage? Clearly, we absolutely believe the answer to be ‘yes,’ but you must assess for yourself and decide. In serious matters like this, it pays to pick your battles and, unless this is one you really think you can win alone, just let the pros handle it and move on as quickly as possible.

    Contact us

    If you find yourself in need of professional sewage cleanup services or have any questions or comments to direct at the team, please get in touch at any time. We offer our services on a 24/7 basis and will do our level best to help, ready and waiting to spring into action as and when you need us.