When The Poop Hits The Fan


How to Clean Up a Stinky Mess

This stinky mess should be cleaned up like this:

      1. Shut off the water source (toilet, etc.) first.
      2. Seal off the area from people and pets. Both can get sewage on their feet and track it throughout your office or home.
      3. Call a professional to do the gross removal.  These contractors work 24/7.

The sooner the sewage impacted water is cleaned up and professional drying started the less chance you will have of mold growth. Drying needs to begin 24-48 hours or sooner after the sewage spill.

When the poop hits the fan a stinky messes can happen to anyone. Because of the potential health hazard, this should be considered an emergency. Trained professionals should be consulted as soon as possible. It’s important that sewage cleanup not contaminate other areas of your home or business. This is an unpleasant task and it’s best left to trained professionals who are licensed and insured. 

After cleaning up a sewage or black/gray water spill, it’s important that you have professional bacteria testing done. This should occur in the area before access to your family or the public. Here’s a good example of such a situation: We were called by an insurance adjuster to confirm a sewage clean up that had spilled in a common hallway of a multi-family building. Our testing confirmed the area was safe for reoccupancy, saving the occupants displacement and possible sickness, and the property owner and insurer potential liability.

My professional opinion is that you never want to take a chance, whether it be for your family’s or business’s health by opening the area up before bacterial levels have been tested and found acceptable.


How Dangerous is Poop?


Human fecal waste contains E.coli but there are lots of different stains of E coli. Normally in cities we do not find the potentially fatal strain of E coli O157 that is normally found in cows. This strain can be passed human to human. People that have contact with cows and sewage spills containing E coli 0157 can and do transit E 0157. However, not many of us living in the Bay Area don’t come in contact with manure.

E coli 0157 can be found in crops that are grown next to a water source that has cows – cow poop – upstream.


The IICRC S500 is the national standard for cleaning up water (sewage – bacteria) events. 


This ANSSI Standard classifies water spill according to what is in the water and how long it has been standing in the area.Water evaporates over time. Mold growth occurs over time.

  • Class 1 Water Event is less than 5% of the combined floor, wall, concrete, and porous materials that have been affected.
    Water is from a sanitary water source and usually does not pose a substantial risk.
    Example: water from a broken water supply line, sink or tub overflows, appliance water line failures, melting ice, snow, rain water. Also included are broken toilet bowls or tanks with no cleaning additives.


  • Class 2 Water Event is between %5 and 40% of the combined floor, wall, concrete, and porous materials that have been affected.Water contains significant bacterial or chemical contamination and poses risks to humans through consumption or contact. Examples: overflow from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowls with urine but no feces. Water events become Class 3 if not abated quickly.

  •  Class 3 Water Event is over 40% of the combined floor, wall, concrete, and porous materials that have been affected.
    This would be a grossly contaminated spill, whether from sewage or wasteline, regardless of the color of the water, backflows; flooding from seawater, rivers or streams, or floodwater that contain hazardous materials or toxic organic material.


  •  Class 4 involves a water spill in an area that has little to no available ventilation. Drying will probably require longer drying times, dehumidification, and other special methods.
    Example: Hurricane Katrina with all that floodwater inside buildings for 28 days.