Reducing Your Exposure To Septic Bacteria After A Flood

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, then your septic system and leach field may become flooded at some point. This can lead to the spread of wastes both inside and outside your home. These wastes are packed with harmful bacteria that can cause diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. You can keep yourself safe from these diseases by reducing your exposure to sewage waste bacteria and the tips below can help you with this.

Clean Your Basement

If your septic system fails and your basement becomes wet after a flood, then the water likely contains a great deal of waste. Generally, contaminated flood waters will look black or brown and release a foul odor.  

Harmful bacteria can unfortunately thrive and multiply in warm and wet places and this means you need to thoroughly clean your basement to reduce your exposure to the microorganisms. Safe cleaning is absolutely necessary, and this means that you should purchase rubber boots, gloves, and overalls. Buy a pair of goggles as well to protect your eyes.

Rinse the Area 

Once you put on all of your protective gear, go into your basement and make sure that your sump pump or portable pumping system has removed the majority of the waste waters. Start cleaning the solid debris once water has been evacuated by using a hose.  

Use a mop to force water into your sump pit or portable pump. If possible, connect your hose to a hot water spigot and use the hot water alone to rinse your basement. Bacteria are destroyed at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your water heater thermostat is set as high as possible before your start cleaning.

Use Bleach

Once you have rinsed your basement, place about two cups of bleach in a large water bottle and fill the rest of the container with water. Spray all of the walls, floors, and other surfaces in the area that have come into contact with flood waters.  

Allow the bleach to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure all bacteria have been killed and then rinse your basement with hot water again. When you are done, open your basement windows or place a dehumidifier in the space to reduce moisture. Make sure to buy an appliance that can remove anywhere from 40 to 70 pints of water every 24 hours. This will help to dry out your basement quickly so that any leftover bacteria are unable to multiply.

Conserve Water

If your drainage field outside your home is flooded, then sewage wastes are able to reach the surface of your property. The wastes and bacteria can then enter your drinking water or flow to other areas of your property. The wastes and the water will eventually seep back into the earth once your lawn dries out, but you add water to the field every time you flush your toilet, take a shower, or wash your clothes. This means that it can take a long time for your property to dry out unless you reduce your water usage.

Take Showers

You can conserve water easily by going to the local laundromat to clean your clothes. You can also take showers instead of baths. A full bath uses about 70 gallons of water, while a 10 minute shower only uses 20 to 50 gallons. When you take a shower, plug the drain and collect some of the waste water. You can use this water to water your flowers or you can pour the water into your sump pump pit so it is released far away from your leach field.

Reduce Toilet Usage

Make sure to use your toilet minimally to reduce water wastes as well. Only flush your toilet after several uses and use a single ply toilet paper so your toilet does not become clogged. You can avoid the use of your toilet as well by investing in a portable toilet. These items are often used for camping and you can pick one up at an outdoor recreation retailer.

If a flood occurs on your property and your septic system fails, then you need to make sure that a professional from a place like Shankster Bros investigates the situation as soon as possible. In the meantime, make sure you do not expose yourself to harmful bacteria. You can do this by following the tips listed above.