Sewage Backup in Basement Floor Drain – Causes & Cleanup

As a homeowner,  the last issue you’ll probably want to deal with is sewage backup in your basement drain. 

If you do see sewer backing up from the floor drain in your basement – it means your sewage system is clogged.

It’s Important not to let the sewage from your basement floor drains sit on your basement floor.

As soon as you diagnose the problem, It’s extremely important to stop it & start removing any visible sewage right away. 

The more that the sewage water remains on the floor, the more severe the harm.

Most Common Causes of Sewage Backup from Basement Floor Drain 

For starters, sewage can potentially back up into your basement floor drain if the main sewer line of the drain pipes becomes clogged.

If wastewater exits from the main trap of your house or the basement’s floor drain, this is because the water is under pressure and finds its way out eventually.

Below, we outline some of the most common causes of sewage backup in the basement:

1.Bathroom Backups

Perhaps an obvious cause, if you experience a sewage backup in the basement of your home – the first thing to check out is your showers, toilets, and bathtubs.

While these points may not necessarily be cause for concern, it’s the very first place worth checking to rule out the cause since their plumbing sits low. 

2.Sewage Backup Due to Heavy Rainfall

If you live in an area that often experiences heavy rainfall or even flooding, you might want to be extra cautious about experiencing some serious sewage backup in your basement.

If the city’s sewer system is overwhelmed by all the rainfall, it may reach a point where it stops being effective – potentially causing basement sewage backups in people’s homes.

Be on the lookout for water backing up from your basement’s floor drain, because this drain usually doesn’t take in water. So, if you do see water backing up from the floor drain – it means your sewage is clogged.

3.Outdated and Possibly Damaged Sewer Lines

If your house is an older build, one of the reasons for a sewage backup in your basement floor drain may be because the pipes were made out of cast iron and clay piping.

These don’t last quite long for obvious reasons.

Due to the pipes breaking down, sewage backups in your basement floor drain may occur.

Today, plastic sewer lines are incorporated into construction – making a much more effective solution to a threat like sewage backups in your basement.

4.Long Tree Roots Around Your Property

Perhaps a less common cause for sewage backup from your basement floor drain.

If you have trees surrounding your property they may be the root cause of the issue.

Really long roots (especially in older trees), can possibly tangle with your sewer line and damage it.

So, if you have sewage backup in your basement floor drain and all other causes have been eliminated, you might want to check out for trees around your property and call a professional.

The above may be some of the reasons behind a sewage backup in your basement, and if you do identify any one of them, it’s best to call a professional and have the situation carefully assessed. 

Try not to rule out any causes, or handle the issue yourself if it’s a large sewage backup in order to avoid the situation from getting worse and eventually running into even bigger costs trying to fix it yourself.

Hiring a professional is probably your best bet to start with in order to diagnose the problem.

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Steps to Take if Sewer Backs Up In Basement from the Floor Drain 

Response Protocol after Identifying a Sewage Backup

1.Turn Off Electricity & Stop Using your Plumbing System.

First things first – turn off any electrical power that’s within reach of the flooded area!

Next, immediately stop using your plumbing until the sewer problem is checked and fixed. 

Stay away from sewage water as much as you can, particularly in or around any electrical lines/outlets in your home. 

2.Contact a Professional or your Landlord in case of a large Backup

If your home is served by a private sewage system, we highly recommend that you contact a licensed professional immediately who’s better equipped at investigating the problem.

If you don’t own the property and are a tenant, contact your landlord after you’ve taken the above steps in order to keep them in the loop!

When it comes to finances, make sure to call your insurance as soon as possible to get an understanding of whether or not a sewer backup coverage is included in your policy – this will help keep down the costly fix.

3. Gather Protective Gear for Cleanup

Before you begin collecting the sewage , you’re going to need a few tools that will make the process a little easier, and safer. 

The first thing you’ll need is to wear protective gear!

This is not as complicated as it sounds, you just need to cover all parts of your body to avoid any contact with the sewage water and possibly any health hazards associated with it.

Items like: boots, an old pair of pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a face mask, and gloves will all do the job. 

If you have any open bruises or wounds on your body though, be sure to cover them up with a bandaid.

In addition, wear a pair of glasses for added safety, and if you happen to have a face-mask then wear that as well. 

After you’ve completed this step, double-check to see if your body is covered appropriately before attempting to pick up the sewage backup water.

If you’re overwhelmed by the process of attempting to stop a sewage backup, it is best to call a professional who’ll more effectively help you.

Not only will they probably do a more accurate job of stopping the backup from your basement floor drains, but they’ll likely also prevent further issues from happening. 

How to Clean Basement Floor After a Sewage Backup from Floor Drains 

If you’re ready to tackle the job yourself, next comes the cleanup of the basement following a sewage backup from floor drains.

This part is integral to avoiding any long-term issues arising in your home, like mold and mildew, damage to electrical units, etc. – but most importantly, damage to your health from the sewage backup itself.

So, gather any shovel, a bucket, a big plastic box, or any item around your houses that’s deep enough to help you collect any solid waste from the sewage. 

1. Collect the Sewage

Slowly and carefully start picking up the waste and dump it into a trash bag that’s strong enough to hold it. 

Then, if you have a wet and dry vacuum, consider using it to clean up the rest of the puddles.

Any old towels can also be used to further soak up the area.

2. Remove all Moisture

Be careful about moisture in your basement after a sewage backup.

This means, due to the sewage backup, you’re going to have more-than-usual moisture around the area if your cleanup is not effective enough. 

To help eliminate the growth of mold and mildew, be sure that the area is completely dried out by using a fan or dehumidifier to remove all the residing moisture. 

The last thing you’d want is for mold growth to initiate in your basement because of an already damaging issue like sewage backup water!

3. Dispose of all Sewage Contaminated Items that aren’t Salvageable.

Next, perhaps the worst part of this cleanup, is throwing away surrounding items that’ve been in contact with the sewage water!

From rugs, carpet, to any other fabric lying around – it all goes into the trash bag along with your sewage mess!

It’s possible you will need to get rid of some furniture as well in case of a severe backup.

What good does the cleanup serve if any surrounding items have been stained/damaged due to the unfortunate event of a sewage backup? 

So, be sure to finish off your cleanup by carefully studying the basement for any items that have soaked up sewage.

4. Sanitize your Basement

Once your basement is completely dry of any sewage water, and once all residuals have been discarded, next is to actually sanitize the space! 

A good starting point is warm soapy water, followed by warm water mixed with bleach to help effectively sanitize the area.

Sewage Backups from Basement Drain can cause a lot of Damage…

Sewage backups from basement floor drains can instantly ruin any belongings you have in your basement, this includes any valuables…

What’s worse, is further damage done due to any moisture-related issues if the sewage backup was left untreated properly. 

As mentioned before, when soaking up the sewage water during the cleanup, make sure that ALL the water has been absorbed AND use a fan/dehumidifier in order to eliminate moisture-related issues. 

Any damage to your home will also degrade the value of your property, so perhaps hiring a professional to fix and cleanup the sewage back from your basement floor drain is your best option. 

In addition, consider hiring professional help during the cleanup process to make sure that no sewage waste is left nestling inside your home.

Moreover, a sewage backup may also cause issues when it comes to your electrical units in the house. 

More importantly, and more of a threat than any damage done to your property, is the damage to your health that any lingering sewage waste will cause.

Can sewage backup really be a cause for concern when it comes to health? Of course, read on. 

Health Hazards Related to a Sewage Backup in your Basement

Sewage water is contaminated water, meaning that it may carry pathogenic micro-organisms that’ll likely make you ill if you are exposed to it long enough.

Sewage is basically the dirty brown water with clumps that’s carried down toilet drains, and it carries a ton of different viruses, contaminants, parasites, and bacteria that pose a very high risk to human health. 

Most commonly is the E.Coli bacteria found in sewage, along with Salmonella, and Hepatitis.

All these diseases, or even one of them, could be fatal. 

What’s more, is that if the sewage gas emitted from the backup sits around the floor drain for too long, more harm will be done. 

This is why it is key to wear protective clothing when dealing with the mess, as well as covering up any open wounds!

A sewage backup can also potentially contaminate drinking water supplies, so stick to bottled water until the issue is resolved. 

Preventing Sewer Backups From Your Basement Floor Drain

Now that you’ve learnt about the serious health concerns associated with a sewer backup in your home, below are some steps you can follow to help prevent the expense, causes, and hassle of a sewer backup from your basement floor drain happening to you in the first place:

Clogged Drains

  • Avoid pouring any oil down the drain, this eventually hardens and clogs drains – increasing the risk of a sewer backup.
  • There’s a reason why flushing paper towels and wipes down the drain is a big no – they also end up clogging the drain in the long-run. Don’t do it.
  • If you wash any food waste down the drain, make sure you’re following the right way of doing so. 

Heavy Rainstorms

  • If you live in an area that often experiences heavy rainfall, then be sure to disconnect downspouts, foundation drains, and weeping tiles from the municipal drain. 
  • Another key point here is to add extensions to your downspouts. This way, rainwater will be directed away from your house and into the grass/driveway and NOT towards your home. 
  • Moreover, perhaps you can install rain barrels to help collect rain – and eventually prevent runoff. 

When to Call a Professional

More often than not, sewage backups from basement floor drains are a mess and dealing with them pose a great health hazard.

If you feel like you’re not well-equipped to even approach the correct response protocol, we highly advise seeking professional help from the start. 

This way, you’ll avoid causing any further damage to your property, and you’ll receive the correct treatment so that the problem doesn’t occur again. 


We have Sewer& Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Find the Source of the Backup , Clean it up & Repair any Water Damage Caused.

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