Residential septic tank on a homes property

Sewage Backups: Why They Happen and How to Prevent Them

A backed-up home sewage system is one of the most irritating disasters that a homeowner could deal with. Anything from a dog’s chew toy to a heavy rainstorm could render a sewage system overloaded and threaten to spill over into your home. Waste may be pushed back into the line into the home, affecting toilets, showerheads, and basement drains. This can cause damage to the house. It is also dangerous because the sewage may contain several kinds of biological and chemical contaminants.

The Causes of Sewage Backup

Many homeowners who deal with sewer systems backups are interested in knowing the exact cause of the problem so that they can avoid such issues from occurring in the first place. The following are a few common issues found to cause sewer backups:

Clogs Clogs in the drain pipes and main sewer line can cause sewage backup. These clogs push the waste that supposedly flows into the public or residential sewer system. They may include cooking grease, hair, and other accumulated solid materials that are not meant to be in the wastewater pipes.

Blockage – Sometimes, tree roots can be the culprit to a sewer line backup. They can grow into the pipes and eventually create cracks and holes in them. They can also wrap around the sewer line.

Broken, old lines – Old homes might experience deterioration of the pipes and drains. Thus, shrub roots and trees around the house can also lead to puncturing and breaking the pipelines.

The Risks of Sewage Backup

A sewage backup is one of the average homeowner’s biggest nightmares because they do much more than inconvenience you. They can also pose dangers both to your health and your wallet. Here are some of the health problems that can arise when a sewage backup is not quickly addressed:

Microorganisms will grow. Diseases like Salmonella, Shigella, E.Coli, Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, and Giardia are usually contracted when an individual comes into contact with certain microorganisms. Sewage backups provide the perfect place for microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi (including mould), algae, protozoa, and viruses to grow, putting you at risk of contracting many illnesses.

Respiratory problems can worsen. Those with existing respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma may experience intensified symptoms with a sewage backup due to the presence of mould and other allergens.

How to Prevent Sewage Backups

Here are a few ways that you, as a homeowner, can minimize the risk of sewer issues:

1. Do not wash grease or cooking oil down the drain. These may be liquids, but they will solidify once they cool. Once they do, they accumulate in the drain lines, drains, and even sewer lines. Over time, this will result in an obstructed sewage system. Other solids like eggshells, rocks, food scraps, coffee grounds, contact lenses, hair, and other items should also be disposed of appropriately to prevent clogging.

2. Replace the lines with plastic pipes. Unlike cast iron and clay, plastic piping contains impervious joints that tree roots can penetrate.

3. Flush toilet paper properly. Toilet paper and human waste are the only items that can be flushed down the toilet. They are designed to disintegrate quickly. Avoid flushing feminine products and facial tissues. Make sure not to flush garbage, medicines, paper towels, and Q-tips.

4. Check for illegal plumbing connections to your sewer line. Ensure that your French drains, sump pumps, and other flood control systems are in good condition. This is illegal, and at the same time, may lead to bigger problems.

5. Have a backwater prevention valve. A backflow or backwater prevention valve lets sewage go out but prevents it from coming back. Commercial plumbing professionals can evaluate if your home has that valve. In case you do not have it, they can install it for you.


Making sure that your home is free from damage should be one of your top priorities. An issue that should be addressed promptly is a sewage system backup. When neglected, it can lead to even more significant problems to your health and the home’s condition.

While plumbing and heating solutions, it’s always best to obtain the help of professionals. Bromac Mechanical is here to provide Abbotsford, BC residents with quality plumbing and heating services. Our experts can help your family get rid of sewer systems backups and other issues. Call us today to know more about our services.

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