Sewage Overflow Health Dangers: What Homeowners Need to Know

The infectious disease prevention and indoor air quality (IAQ) experts at SEHC offer tips to the public to prevent disease following sewage contamination.
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Sussex Env. Health Consultants Logo
Aug. 22, 2011 - PRLog -- Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) happen every day across the nation and the Mid-Atlantic region is no exception.  When they occur they can spread raw sewage into basements and out of manholes that cause extensive damage and the risk of disease in both indoor and outdoor environments.

According to Delaware’s Division of Public Health, “Human waste contains many organisms that have the potential to cause disease. Even if they are not ill, people can carry the organisms that cause disease and transmit them through their feces. Viruses such as Hepatitis A, which causes liver disease, are commonly found in wastewater.”  The agency goes on to warn, “Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common type of bacteria found in feces that is used to monitor for fecal contamination of water supplies. Bacteria have the potential to cause intestinal infections such as gastroenteritis (stomach upset) and dysentery (diarrhea). Another common type of bacteria found in human feces is Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that cause tetanus. People with wounds or scratches that have been exposed to flood waters should seek medical attention, as bacteria, viruses, protozoans and worms can enter the body through such breaks in the skin.”

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by many factors. They are typically associated with sewer pipe blockages that may have been caused by pipe breaks or cracks due to tree roots, system deterioration, insufficient system capacity or construction mishaps.  

“For those unfortunate enough to have this occur in their home or place of business there are environmental and health and safety concerns that need to be addressed,” stated Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm.  “Sewage can host an array of chemical and microbial contaminants and pathogens.  These contaminants soak into porous building materials and can be an immediate threat to building occupants.”

SEHC recently sponsored a public outreach video on sewage contamination dangers that can be seen at:

To learn more about SEHC’s IAQ, environmental, or health and safety services, please visit, email or call (302) 947-1810.

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About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services. The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide. SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 corporations.
Source:Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
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Tags:Sso, Sewage, Flood, Bacteria, Mold, Fungi, Virus, Infectious Disease, Delaware, Maryland, Iaq, Indoor Air Quality
Industry:Environment, Government, Construction
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