Sewer Exposure Health Risks

Sewer Exposure Health Risks

Sanitation engineers are truly essential workers. Without them, city residents could not enjoy the most basic parts of the lifestyle they enjoy. Working in a water treatment plant is not easy, however, and the job comes with certain sewer exposure health risks. Here are some of the dangerous conditions these workers must face each day.

Hazardous Gasses

Human waste doesn’t just smell bad, it also can be harmful to human health. Sewers release the following hazardous gasses:

  • Hydrogen disulfide
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon monoxide

Inhaling these invisible toxins causes chronic respiratory symptoms such as sore throat and coughing. Acute symptoms include excessive thirst, sweating, irritability, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.


It is no surprise to anyone that sewage is full of germs. However, many people do not realize the serious illnesses that these bacteria and viruses cause. Examples of diseases workers can contract from waste water include the following:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • coli infection
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Giardiasis
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Gastric cancer caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Leptospirosis from rat urine

Although preventative measures go a long way toward protecting employees, those who work with sewage on a daily basis still run the risk of exposure. Protect your employees and yourself with liability insurance that covers medical and legal expenses in case someone does become ill.