Wastewater incidents in and around the home

Wastewater spills need to be cleaned up as soon as possible.  Wastewater, whether sewage (combined solid and liquid waste) or effluent (liquid waste), contains organisms that can cause a risk to your health.

Who is responsible?

A professional cleaning contractor may be engaged where required. If your wastewater service provider is responsible for the overflow, contact them to discuss the clean-up process.

Before you begin

  • Assume that any surface or material that has touched wastewater is contaminated.
  • Keep children and pets away from wastewater and contaminated surfaces.
  • Turn off electrical power in any flooded areas where there is a chance of electrical components, cords or fixtures coming into contact with wet materials or pooled water. Contact a licenced electrician for advice.
  • Contact your insurance company for advice on making a claim. An assessment may need to be undertaken, to determine which items require repair or replacement
  • Engage a licenced waste transporter to arrange the pump out of excess wastewater, if necessary.
  • Arrange for a skip bin to be delivered, if necessary.

Prepare your supplies

Supplies needed may include:

  • hot water and detergent
  • chemical disinfectant (usually containing an active ingredient of 1% quaternary ammonium compound)
  • rags, cloths and sponges
  • buckets and mops
  • rubbish bags
  • liquid or granular chlorine
  • fans for drying.

Protect yourself

Cover any cuts, scratches or broken skin with a bandage or waterproof dressing.

Avoid contact with wastewater and aerosols by using personal protective equipment:

  • disposable protective coveralls
  • long pants and long shirt
  • boots
  • rubber gloves
  • face mask and safety glasses.

Preventing mould growth

Mould growth is likely when materials and surfaces remain wet.

Items exposed to wastewater must be able to be effectively cleaned, disinfected and dried. Items should be disposed of when this cannot be achieved.

Keep areas well ventilated after the clean-up, to assist with drying. Keep windows and doors open and use fans to aid with drying where available.

How to safely clean and when to discard specific items