Your yard is a place of refuge and relaxation for you and your family. When sewage starts to seep into the ground, it can take away that sense of peace by creating an environment hazardous to your health. We understand that this topic isn’t pleasant, but it is important to know how to clean up sewage in your yard.
Raw sewage contains a wide variety of bacteria, harmful viruses, parasites, and toxic chemicals that you should never come into contact with. Therefore, always wear protective gear such as rubber gloves, boots, hair coverings, as well as a respirator or mask for your face.
This article provides you with the steps and tools needed for this process. Read on!
- What is Raw Sewage?
- Signs of Sewage Leakage in Your Yard
- How to Clean up Raw Sewage in Yard
- Step By Step Guide to Cleaning Up Raw Sewage in Yard
- Step 1: Locate and Isolate the Source of the Pollution
- Step 2: Move any Valuables Away from the Contaminated Area
- Step 3: Excavate and Remove any Contaminated Soil
- Step 4: Check for Cracks on the Ground Pipes
- Step 5: Fix the Problem
- Step 6: Cleaning the Yard with Chemicals
- Step 7: Prevention Tips
- Sewage Overflow in Backyard
- What to Do When There is a Sewage Overflow in Your Backyard
- 1. Contact Health Department
- 2. Set up Barriers around the overflow
- How to Clean Up Sewage in Yard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How is sewage-contaminated soil treated?
- Can you get sick from cleaning up sewage?
- How long does sewage contamination last?
- Bottom Line
What is Raw Sewage?
Before we delve further, let’s first understand what we mean by raw sewage.
Raw sewage is untreated sewage containing viruses, bacteria and pathogens, and toxic things like heavy metals. But how does it get into the yard?
Raw sewage often seeps out of a crack in the pipe or accidentally gets poured directly onto the ground. This can happen due to a leak or if the sewage lids are left open on purpose. In both cases, you’ll notice raw sewage in your yard because it is usually smelly and discolored.
Signs of Sewage Leakage in Your Yard
The easiest way to tell if there is raw sewage is by checking for the characteristic smell. If there’s an apparent odor coming from your yard it means there is some kind of waste on your ground!
Also, you may notice that the color of your yard is different. It may look brown, grey, dark grey or black and have a bubbly texture to it.
More signs may include:
- Strange-looking moss, algae, or other plants
- A layer of sludge underneath the surface of the soil
- The moss, algae, and other plants look unhealthy (i.e., discolored) or are dead.
- The yard is constantly wet or muddy
- Seeing bugs and mosquitoes in the yard.
- Strange colored puddles
How to Clean up Raw Sewage in Yard
Cleaning up raw sewage in your yard is often a daunting task. However, with some careful planning and patience, you can eliminate that pesky sanitation problem without fuss.
Cleaning tools you will need:
- Garden hose
- A sturdy shovel or similar tool
- Bleaching solution/Disinfectant
Expert tip: Make sure the tools are easy to clean as they may become coated in sludge.
The following items should be at hand when dealing with sewerage in your yard:
- Sturdy rubber boots
- Latex gloves
- Watertight containers to catch any spillage
- Plastic overall
Check out this disposable coverall from Amazon.com
CAUTION: If you come into contact with raw sewage, thoroughly wash with soap and running water as soon as possible.
Step By Step Guide to Cleaning Up Raw Sewage in Yard
Step 1: Locate and Isolate the Source of the Pollution
Once you don your protective clothing and equipment, find the source of the contamination. This may be a broken sewer pipe or drainage ditch on your property, or it could be from a neighbor’s yard.
If it is not on your property, try to find out where it first entered onto yours; this will make dealing with the mess much more straightforward.
Step 2: Move any Valuables Away from the Contaminated Area
If there are prized possessions close to where you plan to work, relocate them at least three feet away from the source of contamination. If you have pets, put them in a cage or under supervision.
Step 3: Excavate and Remove any Contaminated Soil
Once you locate the source and remove any potential obstacles, it is time to get digging! Use your shovel or other tool and dig up all of the contaminated soil around the affected area. Throw this into one big pile to be taken away later on.
Step 4: Check for Cracks on the Ground Pipes
To find out if the leak is from a broken pipe, carefully check the ground around the source of contamination. Look for dark ad wet areas where there is no grass or dirt.
Step 5: Fix the Problem
Seal off the cracks in your pipes so that this problem doesn’t happen again. This could include patching up small holes or leaks or even completely replacing any damaged parts beyond repair.
Caution: If you don’t know how to go about this or discover that the pipe is seriously damaged, call a professional plumber to fix it.
Step 6: Cleaning the Yard with Chemicals
Once you remove any visibly contaminated soil from your yard, disinfect the area with a bleach solution and Scrub down any surfaces exposed to raw sewage.
Check out this bleach disinfectant from amazon.com
Step 7: Prevention Tips
This step may seem a bit obvious, but always remember – protect your pipes! Check them regularly for damage (such as cracks) and ensure that they cannot easily break open.
If there are trees close by, ensure their roots aren’t rubbing against the sewerage system; otherwise, trees may grow into the joints between two sections of the pipe, causing a leak to occur again.
Sewage Overflow in Backyard
In an emergency, sewage overflow in a backyard can happen when sewer lines fail to handle the amount of wastewater pressure forcing the overflow out through maintenance holes.
The cause for this type of emergency is usually heavy rains or problems with the infrastructure that transports wastewater from households (known as sanitary sewers).
What to Do When There is a Sewage Overflow in Your Backyard
1. Contact Health Department
Once seepage starts coming up from the ground, you should contact your local Health Department for assistance.
Exposure to sewage is a serious health concern because raw sewage can cause all sorts of nasty illnesses like diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis. Raw sewage can also contain several dangerous bacteria, viruses, and worms that may contaminate the soil. This may make yards unsafe for children to play with.
The Health Department officials will inspect the situation to make an informed decision about possible safety measures such as how to clean up the sewage in the yard.
2. Set up Barriers around the overflow
The next step in mitigating a sewage overflow is to set up barriers to contain and isolate the spill. It is essential to take these steps as soon as possible when it becomes clear the spill will not stop on its own or when there is an ongoing or anticipated issue that could lead to this occurrence.
How to Clean Up Sewage in Yard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How is sewage-contaminated soil treated?
Neutralize the acid pH of contaminated soil by adding an alkaline material, such as lime. Ground limestone is commonly used for this purpose because it is inexpensive and reacts quickly with soil acidity
Can you get sick from cleaning up sewage?
You can get sick from cleaning up sewage if you don’t use the proper protective gear to guard against water or microbes. Remember, it’s essential to not just focus on avoiding contact with the sewage but also with contamination around the area of sewer work (e.g., drops or puddles)
How long does sewage contamination last?
Sewer contamination generally lasts for 24 hours after cleanup without chemical treatment. When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, bacteria decline in numbers or even die off completely.
Raw sewage is often a problem for homeowners and property owners. It is important to know the different ways of removing this pollutant from your yard, so you don’t have any long-term effects on your home or yourself.
From this post, we hope you’ve learned how to clean up sewage in the yard and the necessary measures to contain the situation.