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How to Clean Up a Sewage Spill

Updated July 20, 2017

Sewage spills can bring illness to adults, children, and even animals that come into contact with it. It is important to clean and disinfect the affected area as soon as possible to prevent bacteria and harmful viruses from spreading to people or pets. Tetanus, leptospirosis, hepatitis A, Gram-negative bacteria, cryptosporidium and giardia are some of the health problems that can result from exposure to sewage. Everyone involved in the cleanup must take safety precautions to reduce the chance of becoming ill from one or more of these health conditions.

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  1. Wear goggles, rubber gloves, rubber boots and a dust mask. These items will prevent you from coming into direct contact with the sewage. Remove all furniture, rugs and everything else that can be moved from the area.

  2. Dispose of any carpets, rugs, carpet padding or other saturated items that cannot be completely cleaned and disinfected. Throw rugs with little spillage may be able to be washed and disinfected. For items that you are unsure about, throw them out instead of risking further contamination.

  3. Remove piles of solid waste with a shovel and plastic bag. Double bag the sewage and dispose into a trash container.

  4. Clean hard surfaces such as concrete, metal, linoleum and hardwood floors using mild detergent and hot water. Rinse with one gallon of water mixed with one tablespoon of bleach. Allow the area to air dry.

  5. Remove and then replace drywall and plasterboard saturated by the sewage. For plasterboard or drywall that was only slightly hit with sewage, clean and disinfect as you did for the hard-floor surfaces.

  6. Clean all furniture, appliances, sinks, showers, tubs and toilets with detergent. Rinse with one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water.

  7. Throw away or disinfect all brooms, mops and brushes that were used for the sewage cleanup. Open all doors and windows to bring in fresh air. You can use heaters and fans to help air the area out.

  8. Tip

    Children and pets should be removed from the area until cleanup is complete. Wash the clothes that you wore for cleaning the sewage as a separate load of laundry.


    Do not touch your face unless you have washed your hands with antibacterial soap. Do not eat, drink, or smoke in the building with the sewage spill.

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Things You'll Need

  • Goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Dust mask
  • Shovel
  • Plastic bags
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Bleach
  • Detergent

About the Author

Jennifer Wiley has over two years of professional writing experience, writing for sites such as eHow and Associated Content. She also has her Bachelor of Science degree in communications and plans to continue her education further.

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