How long does sewage contamination last in soil and water; indoors and outdoors? Let’s find out.
Their times when accidents occur during wastewater treatment. This leads to sewage (wastewater containing feces, urine, etc) leaks thereby causing contamination to the environment including water bodies.
Sewage Contamination Duration
When it happens, how long will such contamination last?
We’re all about finding answers to the question of the duration of sewage contamination. It’s important to know when it’s safe to be around such areas.
With such information, you’re either able to intervene in cases of minor contamination or let the pros get the job done for both minor and sewage contamination scenarios.
Sewage Contamination Process
Both sewer and septic systems are two common treatment methods for sewage.
Now, sewage itself is a complex wastewater mixture that contains excrements such as urine and feces, as well as water from laundry in addition to industrial releases among other things.
Raw excrement within wastewater or sewage poses the most danger as it contains a wide range of harmful microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Sewage is meant to be properly channeled to where it’s treated before safe disposal.
However, when raw sewage gets spilled within your surroundings or elsewhere before it’s treated, it’s considered contamination. You may have to call for treatment of such contamination or allow nature to do its work.
Also, the source of the spill needs to be checked for possible repairs by a professional
How Sewage Contamination Occurs
Sewage contamination or spills occur in several ways. One of them is when underground pipes or lines conveying such wastewater to a treatment reservoir become broken.
There’s also a possibility of sewage overflow through a manhole or cleanout.
Asides from sewer systems, septic systems are also used for sewage treatment. Now, contamination could occur when there’s a system failure. Such failures are common with septic systems that aren’t well maintained.
The leach field gets flooded with sewage, thus leading to contamination.
Never Use Water Supply After a Spill Until it’s Deemed Safe
After sewage contamination is noticed, it’s important to safeguard your health and that of your household members by discontinuing the use of the existing water supply.
The reason is simple! Such water could be contaminated.
Call for assessment of the area and only use when directed by a professional.
How Long Does Contamination Last On Average?
When there’s an intervention, whether DIY (not recommended) or through a sewage professional, contamination shouldn’t last long. On the other hand, allowing nature to take its course in treating sewage contamination will take longer.
If you choose the latter option, you’ll need to ensure that the source of contamination is fixed to prevent further sewage spills. A sewage technician or plumber will need to come around to have the contaminated area inspected.
We must state that it’s never ideal to allow a contaminated area to stay unattended unless of course, the area of contamination is quite large. Under such circumstances, advice from a pro will serve to curtail the problem.
In terms of the time, it will take for sewage contamination to be declared safe, you’ll need to consider the microorganisms involved.
You want to know how long bacteria within sewage will survive after spillage. After contamination happens, there’s a potential of being exposed to about 300,000,000 bacteria within the first hour!
This is huge and scary, right?
Well, thankfully, these will drastically reduce to about 30,000 bacteria within a short period of time. Irrespective of whether the number of harmful bacteria is reduced or not, you’re still faced with significant risks of exposure.
Do You Grow Crops on Contaminated Land?
If sewage contamination occurs around your garden area or within your farm, you may need to avoid or stop growing crops on such land for a period of 12 months.
This is sufficient time to ensure that the area is decontaminated.
Contamination Lasts Longer Indoors than Outdoors
The area where contamination occurs influences how long it lasts. When such contamination occurs outdoors, it won’t take much time as it will for indoor contamination.
The sun helps in killing such bacteria contained in sewage.
However, in winter, sewage contamination tends to last longer due to the absence or lack of sun. Under such circumstances, artificial intervention is necessary to decontaminate the area.
Sewage Contamination Cleanup
After experiencing sewage contamination, the next action to take involves decontaminating or cleaning up the area. This is best performed by approved professionals such as sewage cleanup companies or professionals.
During cleanup, a good amount of spilled liquid sewage is cleaned up using a vacuum tanker. However, this leaves solid wastes behind. At this point, manual removal of such is performed.
Protective gear is worn by professionals to get the job done.
Diseases From Sewage Exposure
When exposed to sewage, you’re likely to contact a wide range of diseases such as typhoid fever, shigellosis, paratyphoid fever, and yersiniosis.
Other diseases include salmonellosis, methemoglobinemia, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and leptospirosis.
There are still other sewage-related diseases like cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis, encephalitis, Escherichia coli diarrhea, giardiasis, and gastroenteritis among others.
You’ll want to have every member of your household stay away from the contaminated area until help arrives.
What Can I Do When Faced With Sewage Contamination?
Although we recommend calling a cleanup company for sewage contamination cleanup, there are several things you can do to decontaminate the area if you’re a DIY freak.
However, you’ll need to be extra cautious of your safety.
Minor contamination requires first isolating the area. Such isolation ensures that further contamination is prevented. Have all items removed especially those that can be decontaminated later on.
Common items include pegs, garden furniture, and the likes.
Get some garden lime and sprinkle over contaminated soil. For areas with thick sewage, you’ll need to have lime mixed with the help of a shovel or spade. Leave for 24 hours before shoveling or cleaning up the area.
Durable bags should be used and should be doubled.
Any remaining sewage around the area is washed off with the help of a garden hose. Allow the treated area to dry under the sun without using it for about a day or more.
Now you know how long sewage contamination lasts. We’ve provided ways to deal with such situations and who to call for cleanup. Also, small spills can be easily handled.
However, you’ll need to put on protective gear like long rubber boots, gloves, and face masks.