Creating a Hospital-specific Sewage Clean-up Management Plan

Brad Prezant 1

Chief Scientific Officer, Validair Sciences, Nunawading, VIC, Australia


Small and large sewage leaks occur periodically in health care environments, resulting in potential infection risks to patients, staff, and clean-up personnel. Biological proliferation, including bacterial and fungal growth, can occur following all water release incidents, including sewage release incidents. There is little published guidance on choosing and evaluating a sewage clean-up contractor, and specifying the work processes and verification processes to successfully minimise risk. This document presents a step-by-step protocol for planning and conducting a response to such an incident, from the perspective of infection control.

The document addresses critical issues including pre-planning administration and organisation, evacuation, isolation, personal protective equipment (PPE), HVAC management, specific clean-up and decontamination techniques, methods of verification of work practices, and close-out documentation.

Development of a hospital-specific sewage spill response plan is facilitated with the issues and protocols identified in this plan.

Appropriate management of a sewage release incident in a health care facility requires pre-planning, excellent contractor communication, agreement on appropriate protocols, appropriate health and safety measures, and agreed verification methodology to insure minimising risk to patients, staff, and clean-up personnel. Involvement of infection control personnel is essential to insuring that this work is conducted in an appropriate manner.

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