Sewage Testing

Sewage Testing Makes Sense for Clearance after Cleanup of a Spill

Sewage in the City usually contains E.coli from other humans. If you think your building is experiencing a sewage spill, stop the leak as soon as possible. If you live in an apartment call the Property Manager or the emergency line. If the leak is extreme, you may need to call the Fire Department to turn off the water to the building.

Stopping the water as soon as possible will reduce building and contents damage.

Isolate the Area from humans and pets

If people and animals walk through the area, their feet will spread contamination. Also, human E.coli may cause digestive upset, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes a fever. For this reason, it’s best to have professional clean up performed. 

Most of the time  you don’t need an environmental consultant to identify the problem – you can smell and see the problem. Confirm this with your insurance company. You should have a professional clean the area after stopping, if possible, the spill or leak.

Then to confirm the area is clean, sewage testing should be done immediately after cleaning. Sewage clearance testing looks for two things: E.coli and Coliforms. Colifoms grow in dirt, so if people or pets walk through the area, dirt may be introduced. Then sewage clearance fails. No occupancy (people or pets) should be allowed until successful lab results are in your hand.

Sewage Testing After Floods

Floods haven’t been a problem for the San Francisco Bay Area recently. When the rains finally do return, flooding is likely to occur, due to massive deforestation from the recent wild fires.

Floods bring sewage and toxic chemicals along with water damage. Don’t wade in flood water. Don’t allow your children or pets to wade, splash, or come in contact with flood water. 

Keep in mind that COVID-19 can be spread in water – flood water, spa water, water droplets in public bathrooms – lots of places. E.coli is a bacteria, so it weighs more than a virus like SARS2, but E.coli can also be spread in water droplets.

So, when you see it and smell it, it’s time for professional cleanup with clearance testing. It si best to have clearance testing done as soon as the cleanup is complete. No rebuilding should be done until successful clearance. You don’t want contactors in the area if it is still dirty. They will spread E.coli everywhere they walk. Keep all people and animals out of the contained area until successful clearance.

E.coli can also come from animals (cows). One form of E.coli O157:H7 that can become deadly. O157:H7 lives in the intestines of cows. Cow waste or manure can contaminate water that spreads to fruits and vegetables. Cooking destroys E.coli in meat, and thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables will remove E.coli. Other bacteria – like Listeria – can also be washed off. Listeria can be fatal, so it’s very important to always wash all fruits and vegetables. Also, SARS-2 virus can briefly live on fruits and vegetables if you need another reason to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.

Prevent Mold Growth

If you begin professional drying within 24 – 48 hours of a water (any kind of water) spill, mold growth in the area may be absent or greatly reduced. After flooding you will often see the bottom of the sheet rock cut out 2 feet up from the floor all around the area. This is done so the area can dry faster. If the wet sheet rock stays in place all that moisture will feed the mold and the problem grows!