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.

About the College

The ACIPC is the peak body for Infection Prevention and Control professionals in the Australasian region. Our stated vision is the prevention and control of infection in our communities. We commenced in January 2012 bringing together the various State and Territory infection control associations formerly in AICA (The Australian Infection Control Association) to support and encourage collaboration across Australasia.

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