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News Release: April 4, 2014

Sewage Line Leaks Threaten Health of Residents & Employees, Warns Environmental Hygienist

Leaks, separations, and breaks in sewer plumbing lines inside the walls, floor, crawl space, and basement enable dangerous untreated, raw sewage to enter into the living and working areas of homes and commercial buildings.

“Raw sewage can facilitate the growth of dangerous indoor health threats such as toxic mold growth, botulism, E-coli, salmonella, campylobacter, intestinal amoebas, shigella, and cholera, which are dangerous pathogens that can grow and multiply in raw sewage,” warns Phillip Fry, Certified Environmental Hygienist and Professional Industrial Hygienist.

While the bacteria and germs that commonly live in the human intestines are not dangerous while inside the intestines, these microorganisms can cause many serious illnesses if ingested or go airborne after leaving the body in bowel movements.

Sewage line leaks are commonly caused by age and corrosion deterioration and degradation of the sewage pipe connections and pipes over time, by the settling down of the ground and buildings, and by earthquakes and earthquake aftershocks.

Property owners and managers should regularly inspect exposed sewer lines in crawl spaces and basements, and notice and act upon indoor and outdoor sewage smells and visible water damage.

Outdoors, sewage line leaks can be detected by noticing soggy spots outdoors when it hasn’t rained, unusual bumps in the ground, and concrete slab cracks or breaks in the basement floor and outdoor sidewalk and driveway.

One additional major cause of sewer line leaks is tree root growth into the sewer line. As the roots search for water, they can slowly squeezing into sewer pipes through the pipe joints. Over time, the roots can grow and eventually crack the pipes.

When environmental hygienists and industrial hygienists do a careful physical inspection of a home or workplace, they regularly look for and test for (using a professional moisture meter) water leaks, water damage, and mold growth---whether from water supply lines or sewage disposal lines. Water leaks are one of the primary causes of toxic, health threatening indoor mold growth.

For information on how to do mold inspections, visit the mold information websites,, and

For free answers to mold and environmental hygiene questions, phone mold expert Phillip Fry toll-free 1-866-300-1616, or Mr. Fry’s cell phone 1-480-310-7970, or email

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