What are the health risks associated with sewage leaks in your home?

Old toilet facilities

Sewage leaks can occur in the home at any moment, sometimes without warning. The first things that spring to mind when it comes to leaks is the damage and the inconvenience they cause, but with certain types of leaks, there are also health concerns to take into account. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a sewage leak in your home, there can be a serious hygiene risk, which makes the need for swift and effective remedial action a priority. But what exactly are the health risks associated with sewage leaks?


Raw sewage emits a number of gases that can be harmful to humans if we breathe it in. The gases generated can include:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Chlorine
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Sulfur dioxide

The most common gases that arise from sewage leaks are methane and hydrogen sulfide. The latter can cause a number of problems for those who come into contact with it, including sickness, disorientation and even death, if exposed to high doses of the gas. Methane, however, does not need to be leaking in large amounts to be fatal.


In order to keep drains clean, we many homeowners often put various chemicals down the plugholes and toilets. This can be effective for the purpose of removing marks and blockages, but there can also be some hindrances in the event of a leak. If pipes are damaged and they start leaking, these chemicals can leak into homes.


Pathogens, or pathogenic organisms are the annoying organisms that cause us to get ill. There are certain bacteria that exist within us that are harmless, but if they are ingested again after they have left the body, then they can be pathogenic, or harmful. A sewage leak means many pathogens enter our homes, where they can come into contact with food and surfaces, meaning they can be easily contracted by us and ingested. Illnesses that can be caused by exposure to raw sewage include:

  • E-coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Intestinal amoebas
  • Shigella
  • Cholera


The most dramatic and potentially catastrophic consequence of a sewage leak is a rare one, but it can still happen nonetheless. As we’ve discussed in this piece, a sewage leak can expose people to a number of harmful gases, but should your pipes become blocked, those gases can get trapped within the confined space of the pipe. If these gases are exposed to a spark or naked flame, they can be ignited, which can cause an explosion.

Preventing leaks

The best way to ensure that you don’t fall victim to the aforementioned risks and problems is by being proactive with your drainage maintenance. Arranging for a CCTV survey of your drains on a regular basis means you can stay ahead of any potential issues, catching them before they worsen and fixing them before you they start causing havoc in your home. CCTV drainage surveys allow for a thorough inspection of your drain, locating any issues, no matter where they are, allowing the drainage company to devise the best course of action.

Express Drainage Surveys are a leading provider of CCTV drainage surveys for customers throughout London. Using only state of the art equipment, fully trained and qualified staff and a commitment to efficient, effective service, we offer comprehensive drain inspections for commercial and domestic properties alike. For more information, get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Want more information?Contact us today on 020 3124 1785

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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Category: Facts


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