Septic Contamination

I live in a lovely finished basement apartment. The landlord renovated it with many modern details, but the recurring septic backup problems are leaving me less than satisfied… a little concerned actually. Last month the showers overflowed into the bathroom with sewage water, rising two inches and spilling out into my hallway. It was cleaned up promptly, bleached intently by me twice, yet still I feel doubtful. I have mild skin irritation and many stomach problems since this occurance.

Has anyone had experienc with something like this before? Is there a test that I should require the landlord do on my apartment? How about a solution so this doesnt continue to back flood sewage into my house.

Suggestions welcomed…


There is tape or swap test for bacteria such as E.Coili.
Most likely there is a bad section of sewer line that is causing the problem. A sewer camera can be used to determine the condition of the line and how much line needs to be replaced.
Getting sick after a sewer back-up is common, especially anybody that has a weak immune system. If the landlord will not take any action, then find another place to rent. You may need pay for the bacteria test yourself for you can break your lease.
Note: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on T.V.

Report it to the local housing authority and find someplace else to live. No rental property is worth getting sick over. It can cost thousands in legal fees trying to fight a non-compliant landlord. Make sure everything is documented by city so that you can not be sued for breach of contract if you decide to break the lease. Most major cities will have varies programs out there to advise and protect tenant rights. I would suggest you contact a few in your area and notify them of your condition.


You cleaned this mess yourself??? Well, there lies your health problem. You should have NEVER touched or cleaned the raw sewerage yourself. This stuff is exceptionally dangerous and could make anyone very sick if not handled or cleaned properly. Due to the severity of the difficulties sewage may cause, there are distinct types and processes for the treatment of sewage cleanup. YOU should have immediately left this place once the sewage back-up was apparent and contacted sewage clean-up personnel.

I’m pretty sure that raw sewage water has oozed into/under walls or floor coverings. Were these areas cleaned properly? The activity of this sewage damage cleanup becomes many times more difficult than what you already did yourself. Each infected surface and area touched by the raw sewage has to be taken care by utilizing the correct antiseptic. Then a sewage clean-up specialist must review everything completely before permitting use of any of those substances in the parts of your living. Bacteria and mold could develop in concealed areas that might create a health risk for anyone living in this or adjoining units. This must be verified ASAP.

IMO, I feel you should evacuate your home instantly and contact a professional sewage clean up company. This could be an inconvenience for you, but it will be advantageous for you and your household’s welfare. Then you should visit you physician and have him/her check your sickness and skin irritation to determine if it’s related to this sewage back-up.

Remember: Safety First. You can always clean up the minor mess at a future point in time.

If you decide you are staying in this home have a professional indoor environmental consultant investigate and consult you through the process of any remedial activities necessary. There are endotoxins that can be airborne after everything is dry, bacteroides, E.Coli, and other coliforms left over after a loss such as yours. Having a professional without an interest in remediation will give you a clearer picture of what the condition of the home is and what needs to be done to clear it up. I’d even have them back to make sure things are done when the work is done. How else are you going to know? I’ve been in the industry for over seventeen years and seen a lot of avoidable complications (health and building related) from not having a complete investigation performed before and after cleaning. If I can ever be of assistance feel free to write or call. Best wishes.

You probably need to have the system pumped. Then go to and order product to treat your system so this doesn’t happen again. You can also sell this product to your inspection clients, neighbors, etc. with septics.
Good Luck

This thread is ready for the “Spam” forum.