close-up of ruptured sewer rusty pipeline which cause sewage leakage stream and pollution. old infrastructure issues in the city construction site

Be Aware of These 3 Health Hazards of Damaged Sewer Lines

A sewage leak is not just annoying due to the mess and smell but also poses a real risk to those exposed to it. Be aware of these three health hazards associated with damaged sewer lines around Redding, CA.

1. Gas Poisoning

One of the most pertinent concerns is gas poisoning, being you merely have to be exposed to the air around a leak. Sewage produces multiple toxic gases that combine to give off that pungent smell that turns your stomach. These include:

  • Methane
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Nitrous oxides

While exposure to a small concentration of this gas for a short time won’t likely harm you, continued exposure at higher levels will have harmful effects. This could lead to a sore throat and respiratory irritation, at a minimum. On the more severe side, high enough concentrations with long enough exposure could lead to asphyxiation and death.

2. Bacterial Infections

Bacteria are all around us, and your body must have them to function correctly. One of the problems with sewage is the bacteria it contains. Your fecal matter contains between 50% and 80% bacteria. This isn’t harmful while it’s in your gut, but when your body comes back in contact with it once it leaves, it causes several nasty diseases. If you have a septic system, there are even more bacteria than what’s in fecal matter alone if you have a sewage leak.

These bacterial infections can range from minor gut disturbances to life-threatening infections. Some diseases caused by exposure to these bacteria include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis E
  • E. Coli
  • Cholera
  • Adenovirus
  • Shigellosis
  • Typhoid fever
  • Salmonella

Exposure does not have to happen through oral contamination. Rather, there are numerous ways to get exposed, and you may not even realize it. The easiest is by coming in contact with a contaminated surface. You then touch your mouth or eyes, and all of a sudden, you’ve been contaminated. Any cuts, scrapes, or scratches all pose a risk for contamination.

If you walked through your yard and it’s soggy from a sewage leak, that sewage attaches to your shoes. You then remove your shoes, exposing your hands to the mess. Even if you clean your hands, now your floor is contaminated as well. Young children and animals may now come in contact with the contaminated floor and easily expose themselves to the bacteria. This is why dealing with sewage leaks properly and immediately is critical.

3. Chemical Contamination

Beyond gases and bacteria, consider the chemicals contained in common household sewage. You have cleaning chemicals from your kitchen and bathroom. Think about the chemicals from your soaps and shampoos. Let’s not even think about the caustic chemicals you may use if you’re experiencing a difficult drain clog. All of these chemicals have different effects on the body, but they are all potentially dangerous.

A small sewage leak is not only dangerous for you, but it can also quickly affect the entire Redding community with the proximity to the Sacramento River and Turtle Bay. Call to schedule your leak detection appointment with one of the expert plumbers at Steve Beaton Plumbing today.