Sewer back-ups

Instructions to residents in case of a sewer back-up in a basement

  • Make sure the toilets and sinks are not blocked.
  • Put on appropriate protective clothing and try to remove any obstruction (boxes, furniture) to allow adequate flow.
  • Should the problem persist, dial 311 to report a sewer back-up.
  • As long as the problem is unresolved, do not attempt to open the sewer cleanouts and refrain from using the plumbing fixtures and appliances that use water. The water released in the sewers could flow to the basement.
  • If the water level poses a threat for gas appliances, such as a furnace, a water heater or a stove, contact Gazifère at 819 771-8321.
  • If the water level has reached an electric plug, an extension cord or an appliance such as a baseboard heater, contact Hydro Québec at 1 888 385-7252.

Gatineau's actions in case of a sewer backup in a basement

A municipal employee from Travaux publics will be inspecting the sewer line located near your home in order to determine if the back-up is caused by a blockage on the street.

If the employee finds that the blockage is on the resident's side, the resident will be responsible for taking measures.

Steps for the resident to take after a sewer back-up

  • Owners must unblock the line themselves with a rod that can be rented. They can also use the services of a certified professional.
  • If the blockage is recurring or difficult to resolve, owners must have the entire line inspected, at their own expense, with a camera to find the source of the obstruction. However, after examining the video inspection, if Travaux publics finds that the problem is located on the City's property and that the cause of the blockage does not stem from the resident's property, Gatineau could reimburse the costs incurred to rent the video equipment.

    The video recording must be brought to the municipal workshops of the sector involved.

    If you wish to file a claim, please inform the city clerk, in writing, in the fifteen (15) days following the event, at the following address:

    Greffier
    Ville de Gatineau
    P.O. Box 1970, Hull station
    Gatineau, Quebec  J8X 3Y9

    A claim form to this effect is available on the Gatineau's website.

How to disinfect your home after a sewer back-up

Before carrying out work in your home, it is very important to wear all the necessary protective gear (gloves and goggles) in order to avoid any contact with water and wet materials, since the risk of infection is high.

Even once the surfaces are dry, they can contain bacteria and cause infections.

  • Keep children and pets away from the contaminated area.
  • Dispose of all food that came into contact with sewage, bottled drinks and jars of food, including homemade foods in Mason jars. All undamaged cans must be washed and disinfected.
  • Dispose of all medications, cosmetics and other toiletries that came into contact with sewage.
  • Remove all wet materials as soon as possible, since they promote the growth of mold that could cause major health problems. Dispose of carpets, mattresses, bedsprings, pillows, toys made of material and furniture with wet upholstery. These items cannot be thoroughly cleaned, quickly dried or dry-cleaned.
  • Replace the insulation on the water heater, the refrigerator and the freezer, if it got wet.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces, interior cavities and structures with an all-purpose household cleaner, making sure to thoroughly air out the area. Even clean the surfaces that did not come into direct contact with the water.
  • Once this is done, disinfect the surfaces with a bleach solution (½ cup [125 ml]) with a 5% concentration diluted into 2 gallons of water [10 for 1]), making sure you air the place out adequately.
  • Rinse and clean all floors. If there is a subfloor, make sure that no water was left. Clean the subfloor. Quickly and thoroughly dry and check for mold often. Wait until everything is completely dry before closing cavities.
  • Check the walls up to 50 centimetres (20 in) above the water line. Open the walls that got wet or that absorbed water. Dispose of wet insulating wool, which will no longer be a good insulator and can promote the growth of mold.
  • Air the place out or close the windows to dehumidify the home and bring the humidity level down to a normal range. In winter, this range should be between 30% and 50% and should not be above 60%.

Source: Les inondations : désinfection de la maison by ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec.

For any additional information, please dial 311. You may also dial 811 for Info-Santé or Info-Social.

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