How to clean outdoor sewage spills

Written by shae hazelton
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How to clean outdoor sewage spills
Inspecting your sewer lines can often help prevent a sewage leak. (Pump Station image by Midwest Yankee from

An outdoor sewage spill can be an unpleasant and unsanitary mess to clean up. One thing is always important: quick response. Raw sewage can cause health problems and severely damage your lawn or property. Through a quick and decisive response, you can minimise the damage the sewage causes. Some leaks are too big of a job for a single person, so you may need to call in professional help when confronted with a particularly disastrous sewage leak.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Mask
  • Goggles
  • Agricultural lime
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Soap
  • Vacuum

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  1. 1

    Turn off any water sources that may be pumping the sewage. If you are not sure which water valve controls the sewage water, shut them all down. This should help prevent the leak from spreading.

  2. 2

    Don a pair of rubber gloves, rubber boots, a cotton face mask and goggles. Wear some thick clothing that you are not afraid to throw away. Taking these precautions will protect your health and make cleanup easier.

  3. 3

    Examine the type of sewage leak you have. For sewage leaks that are mostly liquid, you can handle them on your own. For an outbreak of sewage with a large amount of solid waste, call a licensed sewage removal agency.

  4. 4

    Quarantine the affected area. Keep everyone away from the spill for safety and convenience. Too much foot traffic in the affected area can spread the mess.

  5. 5

    Remove any items in the infected area such as toys, lawn ornaments or clothing. These items require separate cleaning. Do not let anyone handle them until they undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

  6. 6

    Spread agricultural lime over the affected area. The lime will help break down the harmful components of the sewage.

  7. 7

    Fill a bucket with 3.8 litres (1 gallon) of water. Mix one tablespoon of unscented bleach into the water. Distribute the mixture over the contaminated area to help with disinfection.

  8. 8

    Suck the contaminated water into a heavy duty vacuum. Transport the vacuumed water to an operational sewage pipe or a cesspool to dispose of it properly. Thoroughly clean the fixtures of your vacuum after you finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Wash any infected items with hot water, bleach and soap. Scrub down every surface. Thoroughly clean yourself after you finish working with the sewage. Throw away any clothing and other equipment (aside from goggles and boots) that you wore while cleaning the sewage spill and take a hot, thorough shower.

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