The Dangers of Black Water (Sewage)

You, of course, know the dangers of sewage. We’re all taught at a young age how to use toilets and other sanitary fixtures, to wash our hands after using the bathroom, and otherwise keeping ourselves in a sanitary situation. However, perhaps you’re not totally aware of just how dangerous the stuff really is. It’s a health hazard for a reason, and municipalities actually found the need to regulate its uses—which means that someone, somewhere, did the unthinkable.

That’s why we’re writing about it. It may seem redundant or otherwise obvious, but there might be some who don’t know about how terrible this stuff really is. You should never use sewage (or “black water”) for anything at all. It gets flushed or drained from your home immediately. It’s not worth your health to play around with it.

Pathogens

This is what we’re warned about the most when it comes to sewage. The fecal matter and other waste that is in all black water can have serious health risks associated with them. The bacteria (which, thanks to the waste products in the water, have plenty of food to survive) grow and thrive in the water, which can have serious effects. If you’re lucky, all of the bacteria in the waste are simple, non-threatening bacteria. However, if you’re not, you can get seriously sick.

Toxic Algal Blooms

These are not the same as the bacteria that we mentioned previously. While they are both microscopic, algae is a phytoplankton which feeds directly on fertilizer. They react like plants do when exposed to that fertilizer—they grow rapidly, creating the “blooms.” Not all of the algae are harmful, but some are, and can cause some serious health conditions. They can cause things like diarrhea, upset stomach, memory loss, vomiting, abdominal pain, liver failure, and coma, to name a few. (See why we said this stuff’s dangerous?)

Pharmaceuticals

Thanks to the rapid pollution that certain industries engage in, we’re seeing an elevation of pharmaceuticals and other pollutants ending up in our rivers and streams. This is not as big of an immediate problem with flood water or short-term exposure, but it’s worth mentioning. There have been studies which have found fish being born with defects and getting cancers at much higher rates when these pharmaceuticals are present. There is nothing to suggest that they wouldn’t do the same thing to us.

Fecal Matter

And, finally, the fecal matter itself. While it is human waste and came from us, it contains the bacteria that’s in the wastewater and provides the fuel for the algae previously mentioned. It smells, it’s gross, but worst of all, it can worsen any of the other dangers that we mentioned previously.

There is another problem with fecal matter and black water: the dangers it poses to your home. Of course, the primary concern is your health—that’s why you should clean it up—but your home can suffer some serious effects, as well. If you’ve been reading our blog, you’re aware of the dangers of molds and water damage in your home. Well, black water contains nutrients and contaminants that will make that damage worse. That’s why you need to clean it up as soon as possible.

Don’t wait to clean any water damage up, but especially if it’s black water damage. Sewage is not good for any environment, anywhere, at any time. It contaminates both the air and the water, and if it gets into your home and you don’t clean it up, it may end up being something that you wish you’d have cleaned up as soon as you could. Don’t wait, call today if you have a black water problem. We’re here to assist.