- May 12, 2017
- Premises Accidents
Penn Station Sewage Situation
Usually, the addition of an indoor waterfall is an interior decoration asset. Not so last week at Penn Station, when a cascade of accidental sewage came pouring through the ceiling near the ticket booths by Track 19.
The spill originated upstairs at 2 Penn Station, inside the Vornado Realty Trust building, who have rented the space above Penn Station for years. A pipe somewhere in their plumbing line must have fissured somehow. They apologized for the “inconvenience” that the broken pipe caused.
Workers from the eateries that line the Penn Station strip came out with mops and buckets trying to rectify the situation as perturbed passers-by held their noses. Service may not have been affected by the leak, but several stomachs were assuredly turned. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported. Though, try as they might, the powers that be just couldn’t cap the leak entirely by the time rush hour rolled around. A little after 5pm, a vestigial drip of sewage could still be seen as the end-of-day work whistle blew.
A disgusting mess, to be sure, but a relatively harmless one, all things considered.
We have already touched on subway and train safety in articles that can be found here and here. Today, we’ll discuss how you can avoid suffering from a similar sewage situation in your own home. In the next section, we’ll provide preventative tips for safeguarding your home against sewage leaks and instructions on what to do in case of a leak.
Sewage Safeguarding Tips
Many of these tips require a certain level of expertise and experience. Remember, when in doubt, always call in a professional. If the following are within your capacity, however, then you’d be advised to take these steps:
- Make sure to schedule routine maintenance and safety inspections.
- If a sewage leak occurs, shut off the electricity servicing the area. Live electricity will only compound the danger.
- Try to determine if a pathogen, presents a biohazard. If so, contact immediately the proper authorities.
- If you are the point person investigating the leak, make sure you outfit yourself with the proper protective equipment. This may include but is not limited to: gloves, surgical masks, hazmat suits, etc.
- Make sure that the affected area is vacated by all who are not participating in the clean-up / restoration process. Sewage contains particles that may cause illness or disease. Leaks can create highly toxic environments which should be avoided by all whom are not directly involved in the repairs. Evacuate pets too!
- All surfaces contacted by raw sewage should be considered contaminated and treated as such.
- Open windows and doors, so long as opening these windows / doors won’t exacerbate the spill itself. This will help aerate the scene and diffuse any dangerous chemicals. Doing this will increase the safety of those contributing to the clean-up. However, do not run central air conditioning units or heating systems because this can cause the unwitting transmission of pathogens across long distances. You may unknowingly contaminate connected rooms which were previously unaffected by the sewage leak.
- Stop flushing toilets, and cut off the source of running water. This may mean shutting off the main valves of your building’s water supply or heating and cooling system.
- All carpet, furniture and assorted items that’ve been contaminated with sewage should be discarded.
- Notify your insurance company and your municipal authority or sewage department. If you use a septic tank, you may also want to contact your septic tank company as well to report the damage.
Sewage leaks may cause gastrointestinal illness, skin infections, and rashes. If there’s been a sewage leak in your home, do not panic. Try to contain the spill, and then contact an experienced plumber to assist with restoring order to your sewage situation!
Attorney Jared S. Kaplan
Attorney Jared S. Kaplan has focused his career on advancing his legal knowledge though the day to day practice of law. Jared is a partner in the law firm of Kaplan Lawyers PC in Syosset, New York and has been a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. His career started in litigation, so Jared is aware of the pitfalls in litigation and uses that knowledge in the representation of his clients in complex matters. [ Attorney Bio ]