How to Deal with a Floor Drain Backing Up with Feces: Tackling Drain Line Blockages

How to Deal with a Floor Drain Backing Up with Feces: Tackling Drain Line Blockages

Dealing with a floor drain backing up with feces is a distressing and unsanitary issue that homeowners may face. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to tackle drain line blockages effectively. From understanding the underlying causes to taking immediate action, employing DIY solutions, and knowing when to call in the professionals, this article covers all aspects of managing and preventing such unpleasant incidents. We also delve into the health risks associated with sewage exposure, how to navigate insurance claims, and long-term solutions to ensure your home’s plumbing system remains in top condition.

Key Takeaways

  • Identifying the causes and signs of floor drain backups is crucial for timely and effective intervention.
  • Immediate response to fecal backflow should prioritize safety and containment of contamination.
  • Some blockages can be resolved with DIY methods, but severe cases require professional plumbing services.
  • Preventative measures, including regular maintenance and proper disposal practices, are key to avoiding future backups.
  • Understanding the health risks, sanitation procedures, and insurance aspects is essential for comprehensive management of sewage backups.

Understanding the Causes of Floor Drain Backups

Common Blockage Issues

Floor drain backups can be a messy and unpleasant problem, often caused by a variety of blockage issues. Understanding what contributes to these blockages is crucial for both prevention and resolution.

  • Deposits of fat or oil can congeal within pipes, creating stubborn clogs that disrupt water flow.
  • Plant roots may intrude into buried pipes, especially those that are cracked or aging, leading to significant blockages.
  • Unflushable products such as wipes, diapers, and feminine hygiene products are notorious for causing backups as they do not disintegrate like toilet paper.
  • Construction sites contribute to the problem when silt, aggregates, and building debris are washed into drains in large quantities.

It’s important to be aware of what goes down your drains. Even small items can accumulate over time, leading to a full-scale backup that requires professional attention.

Regular inspection and maintenance of your home’s plumbing system can help identify potential blockage issues before they escalate into a full-blown crisis.

The Role of Sewer Lines in Backups

Sewer lines are the critical conduits that carry waste away from your home to municipal treatment facilities or septic systems. When these lines function properly, they’re out of sight and out of mind. However, damage to sewer lines can lead to significant problems, including floor drain backups with feces. Cracks in old pipes or tree roots that invade and block the flow of wastewater are common culprits. These issues can cause sewage to reverse its course and come back through floor drains, leading to unsanitary conditions and potential property damage.

Loose joints and sagging pipes can also contribute to backups. Over time, the accumulation of dirt and debris, along with pipe materials deteriorating, creates an environment ripe for blockages. Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify these vulnerabilities before they lead to a full-blown sewage backup.

RIDGID, a well-known brand in the plumbing industry, offers a range of tools that can assist in diagnosing and addressing sewer line issues. From inspection cameras to drain cleaning equipment, having the right tools on hand can make all the difference in preventing and managing backups.

Identifying Signs of a Clogged Drain

Spotting the early signs of a clogged drain can save you from a messy situation. Keep an eye out for water that drains slowly; this is often the first indicator of a blockage. If you notice a gurgling sound as water goes down or a foul odor emanating from the drain, these are also telltale signs that something isn’t right.

When multiple fixtures back up at the same time, it’s a clear signal that you have a blockage in your main sewer line, rather than a singular drain.

Other symptoms include water backing up in other fixtures when you use the sink or toilet, or if your basement floor drain is pooling water. If you’re dealing with a floor drain backing up with feces, it’s a severe sign of a sewer line issue. Immediate action is required to address these problems before they worsen.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you identify a clogged drain:

  • Slow draining water
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Water backing up in unexpected places
  • Basement floor drain issues

Immediate Response to Fecal Backflow

Safety Precautions

When dealing with a floor drain backing up with feces, safety should be your top priority. Before attempting any cleanup or unclogging methods, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). This will minimize your exposure to harmful bacteria and contaminants present in sewage.

  • Wear waterproof gloves to protect your hands.
  • Use goggles to shield your eyes from splashes.
  • A mask or respirator is essential to avoid inhaling hazardous substances.

Remember, proper preparation and protection can prevent health risks associated with sewage exposure. Inspecting the affected areas and identifying the source of the backup is a critical first step in taking safety precautions.

Always ensure that the space is well-ventilated to reduce the concentration of toxic gases that can emanate from sewage. If you’re unsure about the level of contamination or how to proceed safely, it’s best to wait for professional help.

Initial Cleanup Steps

After a floor drain backup involving feces, it’s crucial to act swiftly to minimize health risks and property damage. Begin by donning protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a face mask, to avoid direct contact with hazardous waste. Next, remove any solid waste using a shovel or other appropriate tool, placing it in heavy-duty plastic bags for disposal.

  • Turn off electricity to the affected area to prevent electrical hazards.
  • Use a wet vacuum to remove standing water, being careful not to dispose of the contents down other drains.
  • Clean all surfaces with a mixture of hot water and disinfectant to kill bacteria and viruses.

Remember, a thorough cleanup is essential not only for sanitation but also to prepare the area for further inspection and repair. If water levels are high or the blockage is severe, consider using a Jetter to effectively clear the drain line.

Once the initial mess is managed, assess the situation to determine if you can handle the clog or if professional help is needed. Keep in mind that improper handling can lead to further complications.

Containing the Spread of Contamination

Once you’ve addressed the initial cleanup, it’s crucial to contain the spread of contamination to prevent health risks and further damage. Start by isolating the affected area:

  • Close all doors between the contaminated zone and the rest of your home.
  • Shut off any air vents to stop the spread of airborne contaminants.

Reducing water use during this time is also essential. It minimizes the pressure on the sewage system and helps prevent additional backups. Remember, only sanitary waste should go down the drains.

It’s easy to underestimate the severity of a sewage backup, but remember that any area touched by sewage requires proper cleaning. This isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about safety.

If you’re dealing with a small area, you may be able to manage the cleanup yourself. However, for larger or more severe backups, professional cleaning services are recommended to ensure thorough decontamination and sanitation.

DIY Solutions for Unclogging Drains

Plunging Techniques

When faced with a floor drain backing up, a plunger can be your first line of defense. Start by securely positioning the plunger over the drain opening to create a tight seal. This is crucial for effective plunging as it ensures that the pressure is directed towards dislodging the blockage rather than escaping around the sides.

To enhance the seal and improve suction, consider adding a small amount of water to cover the lip of the plunger.

Once you have a good seal, use a forceful, rhythmic up and down motion to generate enough pressure to clear the obstruction. It’s important to maintain the seal throughout this process and to be persistent, as it may take several attempts to dislodge the clog.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to ensure you’re using the plunger correctly:

  • Fill the plunger cup with water to avoid air pockets.
  • Tilt the plunger to remove trapped air and create a vacuum.
  • Place the plunger over the drain and press down firmly.
  • Plunge vigorously while maintaining the seal.
  • Check for drainage improvement and repeat if necessary.

Homemade Drain Cleaners

While commercial drain cleaners can be effective, they often contain harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes over time. Homemade solutions can be gentler and just as effective for minor clogs. For instance, a popular home remedy involves using vinegar and baking soda. This combination can cause a fizzing action that helps to break down the blockage.

If you’re dealing with a stubborn clog, you might want to try a combination of dish soap and hot water. The soap can help to lubricate and break down organic matter, while the hot water flushes it through the drain.

Remember, these methods may not be as powerful as professional Drain Cleaning Machines, but they can be a good first step in addressing clogs. If the problem persists, it might be time to consider more robust solutions or call in a professional.

Using a Plumbing Snake

When your floor drain backs up with an unwelcome surprise, reaching for a plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, can be an effective solution. A plumbing snake is a flexible coil of wire that can navigate through the twists and turns of your pipes to dislodge blockages. It’s a more robust tool than a plunger and can tackle obstructions that are further down the drain line.

Before you begin, make sure you have the right type of snake for your drain. A smaller hand-cranked snake is suitable for minor clogs, while a larger, motorized snake can handle more serious blockages. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  • Unscrew the cleanout plug in the side of the floor drain, if accessible, to provide a direct path for the snake.
  • Insert the end of the snake into the drain and begin to feed it down.
  • Turn the handle or engage the motor to advance the snake further into the pipe.
  • When you feel resistance, you’ve likely reached the clog. Crank the snake against the blockage to break it up or hook it to pull it out.
  • Retract the snake, clean off any debris, and flush the drain with hot water to clear any remnants.

Remember, patience is key when using a plumbing snake. It may take several attempts to clear the clog, and you should avoid forcing the snake as this can damage your pipes.

If the snake doesn’t resolve the issue, it may be time to consider other methods or call in a professional. Persistent problems could indicate a more severe blockage or underlying plumbing issues that require expert attention.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Assessing the Severity of the Blockage

Before taking any action to unclog a floor drain, it’s crucial to assess the severity of the blockage. This will determine whether a DIY approach is feasible or if professional help is needed. Start by considering the nature of the clog and its impact on your plumbing system.

  • Nature of the clog: Is it organic waste, non-flushable items, or a buildup of grease?
  • Frequency of backups: Is this a one-time occurrence or a recurring problem?
  • Extent of water flow: Is there a slow trickle or a complete stoppage?
  • Other affected drains: Are other drains in the home experiencing issues?

The presence of stagnant water and rotting debris not only indicates a severe blockage but also poses health risks and can attract pests such as cockroaches and rats.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can gauge the complexity of the situation. A simple plunger might suffice for minor clogs, but persistent or widespread issues suggest a deeper problem that could require a plumber’s expertise.

Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning

Opting for professional drain cleaning services offers a multitude of advantages. Professionals use specialized equipment, such as a Heavy Duty Commercial Drain Cleaning Machine, which is far more effective than standard household tools. This equipment can tackle all kinds of blockages, ensuring that your drains remain clear for longer periods.

  • Suitable for All Kinds of Drains: Whether it’s a residential sink or a commercial sewer line, professional cleaning is adaptable to various types of drains.
  • A Safe Alternative: Unlike over-the-counter chemicals, professional cleaning methods are safe for your pipes and the environment.

Regular professional drain cleaning not only prevents the buildup of debris but also enhances the effectiveness and longevity of your drainage system. It’s a proactive measure that can save you from costly repairs and untimely plumbing emergencies.

Remember, while DIY methods can provide a temporary fix, they often fail to address the root cause of the problem. Professional cleaning, on the other hand, can identify and rectify underlying issues, ensuring a thorough and lasting solution.

Finding a Reputable Plumbing Service

When your drain is backing up and you’ve exhausted all DIY methods, it’s time to call in the professionals. But not all plumbers are created equal. To ensure you’re getting quality service, it’s crucial to do your homework. Start by asking for recommendations from those you trust. Friends and family can provide insights into their experiences with local services.

Next, turn to the internet. Online reviews and ratings can be a goldmine of information. Look for a service that has consistently high ratings and positive feedback. Don’t forget to check for proper licensing and insurance, which are indicators of a reputable company.

If you’re in a pinch and need immediate assistance, remember you can always Call 801-930-8000 for reliable help. However, if you have the time, consider creating a shortlist of potential plumbers. Compare their services, availability, and pricing. Here’s a simple way to keep track:

  • Recommendations: List the names of plumbers suggested by friends and family.
  • Reviews: Note down ratings from various online platforms.
  • Licensing: Check and confirm the licensing status.
  • Quotes: Gather and compare pricing for the services offered.

Ensuring you choose the right plumbing service not only solves your immediate problem but also prevents future issues. A reputable plumber will not only fix the blockage but can also provide valuable advice on how to avoid similar situations in the future.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Future Backups

Regular Drain Maintenance

Keeping your floor drains in good working order is essential to prevent unpleasant and unsanitary backups. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring that wastewater flows freely and does not cause a health hazard in your home. One simple yet effective practice is to pour hot water down your drains on a weekly basis. This can help dissolve and loosen substances like oils, grease, and soap residues that commonly build up and lead to clogs.

  • Inspect your drains regularly for any signs of blockage or slow drainage.
  • Clean drain stoppers and strainers to remove hair and debris.
  • Schedule professional drain cleaning services annually to clear out any potential blockages.

By maintaining clean, clear sewer drain lines, you can ensure they effectively rid your home of wastewater without issue. It’s a straightforward routine that can save you from the hassle and expense of dealing with a backup.

Remember, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way in keeping your plumbing system healthy and your home safe from sewage-related problems.

Proper Disposal Practices

Ensuring that only appropriate items go down your drains is crucial in preventing backups. Avoid flushing anything that isn’t biodegradable or specifically designed to be flushed. This includes products like wipes, even those labeled as ‘flushable’, and feminine hygiene products, which can create significant blockages.

  • Coffee Grounds: A Morning Mishap
  • Eggshells: Compost, Don’t Dispose
  • Grease and Oil: Slippery Slope to Clogs

It’s not just personal hygiene products that can cause issues. Kitchen waste, such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and especially grease and oil, can solidify in your pipes, leading to stubborn clogs that are difficult to clear without professional help.

When it comes to hazardous substances, they should never find their way into your sewer system. Dispose of automotive oil, gear oil, and machinery grease as hazardous chemical waste, not down the drain. This not only protects your plumbing but also the environment from potential contamination.

Installing Backwater Valves

Backwater valves are a critical component in preventing sewage backflow into your home. Installing a backwater valve can be a smart investment to protect your property from the unpleasant and hazardous consequences of sewer line backups. These valves are designed to allow water to flow out of your property but prevent any backflow into your home.

  • Initial Construction: Installing during the initial construction phase is more cost-effective, with prices around $500.
  • Retrofitting: Retrofitting a backwater valve involves modifying the home’s foundation and can be more expensive.

The Sentinel Drain Guard is an example of a backwater prevention valve that is both affordable and straightforward to install. It’s designed to be placed directly in your basement floor drain, offering a simple yet effective solution to keep your living space safe from sewage backflow.

Remember, while the upfront cost of installing a backwater valve might seem high, the potential savings in avoiding damage from sewage backups can be significant.

Understanding Health Risks and Sanitation

Hazards of Exposure to Sewage

Exposure to sewage, especially when a floor drain backs up with feces, poses serious health risks. Sewage contains a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can lead to infections and illnesses if not properly managed. It’s crucial to understand the potential hazards to ensure adequate protection and response.

  • Hydrogen Sulfide Poisoning can occur when sewer gas builds up in confined spaces.
  • Asphyxiation is a risk in extreme cases where high concentrations of gases displace oxygen.
  • Explosion and Fire are potential hazards due to the flammable nature of methane present in sewage.
  • The characteristic Rotten Eggs Odor is a telltale sign of sewer gas leakage, which can have health implications.

The immediate area around a sewage backup can become a hotbed for microbial activity, increasing the danger of infection from airborne pathogens. It’s essential to ventilate the area and wear protective gear when dealing with the aftermath of a backup.

The symptoms of exposure to these hazards can range from mild discomfort to severe health conditions. It’s important to be aware of the signs and seek medical attention if symptoms persist after exposure.

Effective Disinfection Methods

After a floor drain backup involving feces, it’s crucial to thoroughly disinfect the area to prevent health risks. Start by ventilating the space to reduce the concentration of harmful gases and airborne pathogens. Next, remove any solid waste and absorbent materials, such as rags or paper towels, that have come into contact with the sewage.

For hard surfaces, use a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water to sanitize effectively. Apply the disinfectant generously and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping away. Always wear protective gear, including gloves and a mask, to minimize exposure to contaminants.

Remember, porous materials like carpet or upholstery may need to be discarded as they can harbor bacteria and are difficult to clean thoroughly.

For larger areas, consider the following steps to ensure a comprehensive cleanup:

  • Spread heavy plastic sheeting or tarps over the ground as you clean and disinfect the area.
  • Use a pump sprayer to apply disinfectant solutions evenly and reach all surfaces.
  • After cleaning, ventilate the area for an extended period to help remove any lingering odors and to allow surfaces to dry completely.

Dealing with Persistent Odors

After addressing the immediate mess of a floor drain backup, you may find that an unpleasant odor lingers. Persistent odors can be a sign that the cleanup process isn’t complete, or that there are deeper issues within your plumbing system. To combat these stubborn smells, consider the following steps:

  • Ensure thorough ventilation of the affected area.
  • Clean all surfaces with a mixture of water and disinfectant.
  • Use odor neutralizers or baking soda to absorb residual smells.

Remember, persistent odors often indicate that there’s residual waste or biofilm clinging to the pipes. A deep, enzymatic cleaner can help break down this material and eliminate the source of the smell.

It’s also important to inspect your plumbing fixtures as part of the odor elimination process. Loose or damaged parts in sinks, drains, and toilets can contribute to the problem. Regular use of drain strainers can prevent debris from clogging pipes and causing odors to arise.

Navigating Insurance and Damage Claims

Determining Coverage for Sewage Backups

When facing the unpleasant reality of a sewage backup, one of the first concerns is whether your insurance will cover the cleanup and damage. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies may not cover sewage backup without a specific endorsement. It’s essential to review your policy’s declarations page to understand the specifics of your coverage.

Sewer backup insurance is a separate coverage that specifically addresses the cost of repairing or replacing property damaged as a result of sewage backup incidents.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you determine if you have the necessary coverage:

  • Check your insurance policy for a sewer backup endorsement.
  • Review the limits and exclusions of your policy.
  • Confirm if additional living expenses are covered in case of displacement.
  • Understand the deductible that applies to sewage backup claims.

Documenting Damage for Claims

When dealing with the aftermath of a floor drain backup, documenting the damage thoroughly is crucial for insurance claims. Start by taking detailed photos and videos of the affected areas as soon as it’s safe to do so. Capture the source of the backup, the extent of the water damage, and any items that have been compromised.

  • Take Photos and Videos: As soon as possible, document the extent of the damage.
  • List Damaged Items: Create an itemized list of damaged property, including descriptions and estimated values.
  • Keep Records: Save receipts for any repairs or replacements, as well as any professional assessments.

It can take time to resolve insurance claims, but by documenting everything and staying proactive, you can increase the chances of a successful resolution.

Remember to store all documentation in a safe place and back it up digitally if possible. This will ensure that you have all the necessary information ready when working with insurance adjusters.

Working with Insurance Adjusters

After experiencing a sewage backup, it’s essential to work closely with insurance adjusters to ensure your claim is processed correctly. Insurance adjusters are tasked with assessing the damage and determining the compensation you’re entitled to. It’s crucial to understand your policy’s specifics, as coverage for sewer backups can vary greatly.

When the adjuster arrives, be prepared to provide a detailed account of the incident and any steps you’ve taken to mitigate the damage. Keep all receipts and document the damage with photos or videos. This evidence will be invaluable when substantiating your claim. Remember, public adjusters can represent your interests, which might be beneficial if you’re facing a complex claim.

It’s important to be proactive and thorough during the claims process. Ensure all communication with the insurance company is documented, and don’t hesitate to ask questions if any aspect of your coverage is unclear.

Lastly, be aware that certain terms in your policy, such as ‘sump pump failure’ or ‘sewer backup,’ may affect coverage. Policies often exclude sewer backups, so it’s vital to review your policy language carefully and consider additional endorsements if necessary.

Long-Term Solutions for Drainage Issues

Assessing the Need for Drain Line Replacement

When it comes to your home’s plumbing, the decision between repairing or replacing a sewer line can be daunting. It’s not just about the immediate inconvenience; it’s about considering the long-term implications for your property’s plumbing health.

  • Assess the age of your current pipes; older pipes may be more prone to recurring issues.
  • Evaluate the frequency of blockages; frequent clogs might indicate a deteriorating system.
  • Consider the material of your pipes; some materials are more durable than others.

Making the right choice between repair and replacement requires understanding the condition of your current system and the potential for future problems.

If you’re facing persistent issues, it might be time to weigh the costs and benefits of a full replacement. A new sewer line can provide peace of mind and prevent the hassle of repeated repairs. However, if the damage is localized and your system is relatively new, a repair might be the more cost-effective solution.

Landscaping to Improve Drainage

Effective landscaping is a practical approach to mitigating drainage issues and preventing future backups. Proper grading of your yard can ensure that water flows away from your home’s foundation, reducing the risk of it seeping into your basement or causing a backup.

  • Slope the Ground Away From the House: This is a fundamental step in landscaping for drainage. By adding dirt and creating a gentle slope away from your home, you can significantly improve surface water runoff.
  • Planting the Right Vegetation: Deep-rooted plants and trees can help absorb excess water and prevent soil erosion.
  • Installing French Drains: These are trenches filled with gravel or rock that contain a perforated pipe to redirect surface water and groundwater away from an area.

While these methods can be effective, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your property and consult with a professional if necessary. Not all solutions will work for every landscape, and improper implementation can lead to further issues.

Remember, the goal is to create a landscape that not only looks good but also functions to protect your home from water damage. With the right techniques, you can enjoy a beautiful yard that also serves as a defense against drainage problems.

Upgrading Plumbing Infrastructure

Upgrading your home’s plumbing infrastructure can be a significant step towards preventing future drain backups. Investing in higher quality pipes and fittings can reduce the likelihood of blockages and collapses that lead to unpleasant incidents. For instance, replacing old, narrow pipes with wider PVC pipes can facilitate better flow and resist root intrusion.

When considering upgrades, tools like an Auger or a Rooter can be invaluable for maintaining your system. An Auger is a flexible rod that can navigate through the twists and turns of your plumbing to break up clogs, while a Rooter is a more powerful machine designed to cut through tree roots and other tough obstructions.

Upgrading your plumbing infrastructure may require an initial investment, but the long-term savings and peace of mind are well worth the cost.

Remember, even with upgraded infrastructure, regular maintenance is key. Here’s a quick checklist to keep your drains in top shape:

  • Schedule annual inspections with a qualified plumber.
  • Use strainers in sinks to catch debris.
  • Avoid flushing anything other than waste and toilet paper.
  • Consider installing a backwater valve to prevent sewage backflow.

Are you struggling with persistent drainage issues? Don’t let water damage undermine the integrity of your property. Visit our website for comprehensive long-term solutions that cater to residential, commercial, and industrial needs. From kitchen sinks to sewer mains, we have the expertise to tackle any challenge. Take the first step towards a dry and secure environment by exploring our services today!


Dealing with a floor drain backing up with feces is certainly an unpleasant experience, but with the right approach, it can be managed effectively. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing protective gear and to try simple solutions like plungers or drain cleaners first. If the problem persists, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. Regular maintenance and being mindful of what goes down the drain can help prevent future blockages. Stay calm, act swiftly, and your drain line will be clear in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of floor drain backups?

Floor drain backups are commonly caused by blockages in the drain line due to accumulated debris, grease build-up, foreign objects, or tree root intrusion. Problems with the main sewer line can also lead to backups.

What should I do immediately if my floor drain backs up with feces?

Immediately after a backup, ensure safety by wearing protective gear, turn off electricity if necessary, avoid contact with the waste, and begin cleanup by removing standing water and waste material.

Can I unclog a floor drain myself?

Yes, you can attempt to unclog a floor drain using a plunger, a homemade drain cleaner solution, or a plumbing snake. However, if the blockage is severe, professional help may be needed.

How do I know when to call a professional plumber for a drain backup?

Call a professional plumber if the backup is recurrent, if DIY methods fail, or if you suspect the blockage is severe and could be related to the main sewer line.

What are some preventative measures to avoid floor drain backups?

Regular drain maintenance, proper disposal of waste, not pouring grease down the drain, and installing backwater valves can help prevent future backups.

What are the health risks associated with exposure to sewage from a backed-up floor drain?

Exposure to sewage can lead to infections, illnesses, and diseases due to harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites present in the waste. It’s crucial to practice good hygiene and sanitation during cleanup.

How should I document damage from a sewage backup for insurance claims?

Photograph all affected areas and items, keep a record of all cleanup and repair expenses, and report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Are there long-term solutions to recurrent drainage issues?

Long-term solutions may include assessing the need for drain line replacement, improving landscaping to facilitate better drainage, or upgrading the plumbing infrastructure to prevent future backups.

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