All You Need to Know about Sewer Back-Ups for Brooklyn & Queens residents

What are the causes of a sewer back-up?

It is possible that you experience your sewer backing up during heavy rain fall; this may be a factor of the city sewer becoming inundated with large amounts of storm water.  The city sewer lines actually become full and are not able to handle the abundance of water at one time.  Unfortunately there is no immediate maintenance that will assist or relive the overflow; you will have to wait for the storm water to slow down before normal flow occurs once again.


What to do if you have had a sewer back-up in your basement?

You can call the city sewer maintenance to inspect the city sewer line, a crew will usually check on the sewer line within 24-48 hours of your call.  If the city sewer line appears to be blocked, the maintenance crew will clear the line.  If your back-up does not diminish and the city sewer is flowing properly, you will be advised to call a professional plumber to service you house sewer line. The homeowner is responsible for the sewer line from the building to the city sewer line which is located in the roadway in most cases.  If there is a minor blockage in your sewer pipe, the plumber will clear your line leaving you with a free flowing sewer for what should be a long time to come.  If the plumber comes across a more severe issue along the lines of roots growing in your sewer line or a break in the sewer pipe, you will be instructed to call a licensed sewer contractor.  The sewer contractor will provide a more detailed analysis on the exact options you will have to resolve all issues with your sewer line.


How can I protect my house from sewer back-ups during rain storms?

One option to protect your house from future back-ups is to install a backflow valve.  Backflow valves are designed to temporarily block the private sewer line from the overflow of the city sewer entering the house.  There are several design options your plumber can provide when selecting a backflow valve for your house, a backflow valve is not a solution if your pipe is damaged with roots, small cracks or a broken sewer line.  A backflow valve is a suitable resolution if you are experiencing sewer backups only when there is rain storm


Should I be concerned with health problems that can develop from a sewer back-up?

There are no major or immediate health risks but you should be aware of residue carrying bacteria that may be dangerous to your health.  Any area that has come in contact with this contamination should be thoroughly cleaned with disinfection that is suitable for the infected area.  All carpeted and rugged areas should be paid special attention, these sections may not be properly disinfected by applying disinfectant.  It may be necessary to contact a local carpet cleaner pending the severity of the sewer back-up.  The walls and floors are another area that may be infected with bacteria but hard to notice upon a visual inspection as bacteria is known to hide in cracks and crevices.  It is important to be aware of the organisms that may carry more serious side effects such as, pinworms, E. Coli, Hepatitis A and Pinworms.  Rubber gloves, masks and boots are important to wear when cleaning after a sewer back-up; it is strongly suggested to dispose of all cleaning tools upon completion of the cleanup.  Fans, open windows, and exhaust fans are a good way to assist with the removal of the moist air.