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Cleaning up a sewage spill

Find step-by-step instructions, guidelines, and safety information on how to clean up a sewage spill in your home.

Sewage contains disease-causing contaminants that require careful and thorough cleanup. In the event of a sewage spill, or overflow in your home, follow the steps and guidelines outlined below.

Think safety first

  • Evacuate if necessary. If the flooded area cannot be isolated, children under 2 years old, adults over the age of 60, and anyone suffering from respiratory ailments—including allergies—or weakened immune systems should immediately leave the premises.
  • Stay out of flooded areas. Entering a flooded area creates a risk for accidental electric shock, excessive exposure to disease-causing contaminants, and potential injury from rushing water.
  • Safely turn off electricity in affected areas. To prevent accidental electrical shock, turn off circuit breakers and unplug electrical appliances in affected areas. Important: Do not stand in or make contact with water while you are doing so.

Get help

  • Refer to Public Health’s cleanup procedures. To protect the health and well-being of King County residents, Public Health — Seattle & King County has established emergency preparedness procedures for cleaning up a sewage spill in your home. Refer to their tips for cleaning indoor sewage spills for step-by-step instructions.
  • Contact your local sewer agency and insurance company immediately. Know in advance what home insurance coverage you have for sewer backups. Most sewage spills are caused by blockages in a building's side sewer, which is private property. Your insurer and local sewer agency can help you determine the appropriate course of action.
  • Consider hiring a professional water damage restoration service. If there’s too much water to absorb using mops and sponges, professional water damage restoration experts can be found by doing an online search for "water damage restoration.

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