Health Issues from Sewage Spills

You may be asking what health risks come from a sewage spill like that one... And if the area will ever be safe again.

You may not know what goes into cleaning up sewage or why it is so important that it is done right, and right away.

Environmental officials say there is no health risk from breathing sewage.. But it does poses a health problem if you come in direct contact. For example: if you get it on our hands and eat or touch your mouth or face. Or if it comes in contact with an open cut or wound.

There are specific things that have to happen to clean up the area to kill the bacteria and diseases.

Mark Belew with Servpro of West Amarillo says, "Actually remove the affected contents. And any type of contaminated content or material, then you want to go in and clean up any sewage or anything that may be in there."

Bbelew says it is not the initial clean up, but the disinfecting that makes the area safe again.

"If you get an epa registered one, the ones disinfectant we use are listed to kill hepatitis, HIV, and one particular we use has a kill time of about 3 minutes. It will kill what ever it comes in contact with, bacteria or whatever in three minutes."

It isn't only about disinfecting the area after the clean up either.

"We will actually apply the disinfectant before we go in. What that does is help to control any what we call bio-aerosols, which are any bacteria that might have gotten up in the air, then after we get it all cleaned up, then we will reapply that disinfectant."

The local environmental office says once the area is disinfected it is safe again be around without worrying about infection or disease.