Help, I have poo coming out of my ceiling

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This is not the type of phone call any plumber wants to receive. But it does happen. Usually it’s caused by a blockage in a sewer pipe and it’s backed up so much that it’s found an opening to burst through to release the pressure in the pipe. The opening could be a vent or a cracked PVC pipe or the shallowest waist point on that level.

It’s rare to hear help, I have poo coming out of my ceiling from house owners. Usually it’s in high rise buildings and apartments. The waste pipes for each floor run in the ceiling of the level below and connect to a common stack (large waste pipe) which runs the full length of the building. When an apartment has sewerage dripping from their ceiling, it’s usually not the occupant’s sewerage. It’s from the apartment or occupants who live above because their waste pipes run through the ceiling of the apartment below.

If you live in an apartment and find yourself in this awful predicament, RUN! Call a plumber as soon as possible. Stay safe if you choose to remain inside because the ceiling could collapse from the weight of the water and sewerage. In this case I don’t suggest cutting a hole in the ceiling and placing a bucket under the leak. The bucket may become full in a matter of seconds.

A plumber will need to investigate why the sewer backed up and fix any broken waste pipes. You will most likely need to take pictures and organise a visit from your insurance company to inspect the damage.

Earlier this year, a man from Chicago took footage of a ceiling shower of poo caused by a burst pipe. His office was on the 15th floor of a skyscraper in Chicago and the overflowing sewerage rained on cubicles and desks where he worked. Luckily he and his colleagues were able to run before their work area was showered with brown water. That office would have been a shocker to clean up afterwards and I wouldn’t want to know how they dealt with the aftermath of the smell. Most skyscrapers don’t have open windows.

Image source
Image source

Have your waste pipes ever backed up? Are you put off living in an apartment now?

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