Nobody likes stepping out into their yard and discovering a big puddle. When that puddle is comprised of smelly sewage water, that's even worse. Sewage is rife with contaminants, from bacteria to parasites, so it poses a threat to you, your family members, the neighbors, and even your pets! What do you do in such a situation. Well...first, you take a deep breath and try not to panic. Then, you tackle these five tasks ASAP.

Call the Sewage Department

The problem may be a leak in your own sewer line, or it may be a leak in the publicly owned sewer line. The easiest way to tell is to call the local sewer department. They will typically send someone out to investigate. The inspector may send a camera down into the public sewer lines to see if the leak is somewhere in these larger lines. Or, they may already be aware of a leak in another location, and they might tell you that the sewage you're seeing in your yard is a byproduct of that leak.

In any event, if the sewer department discovers that the sewage leak is there responsibility, your work mostly is done. The municipality should take care of repairs and cleanup.

Call the Health Department

Sometimes, the sewage department may get in touch with the health department on your behalf. But if they do not do so, you may need to call yourself. The health department can assess the risk depending on where, exactly, the sewage is pooling. They will help guide the cleanup efforts to ensure the soil left behind is safe. If you have any issues with illness following the sewage cleanup, the health department can coordinate with your doctor or the hospital to ensure you are diagnosed and treated properly.

Stop Using Your Water

Whether the problem is in a line you own or in the public line, you need to stop sending water or sewage into the system. Otherwise, it will just leak right out! Use a neighbor's toilet -- assuming they are not also having leakage issues -- until you're able to have the problem addressed. If you must wash your hands or run the water for other purposes, catch the waste water in a bucket rather than allowing it to go down the drain.

Secure Your Pets

If you have cats or dogs that go outside, gather them up. If you think they may have been exposed to the sewage, put on some gloves, and then give them a thorough bath using an antibacterial soap. (Don't drain the tub afterwards -- let the water sit until you're sure the leak has been repaired or the sewage department tells you its safe to drain the tub.) Then, do not let your pet out into the yard unattended until the sewage leak has been addressed. This may mean you need to walk your dog at a park or down the sidewalk for a day or two rather than letting them roam in the yard.

Call A Sewage Repair Company

If the municipal sewage department finds that the sewage leak is not in their pipes, then you will need to have the problem fixed yourself. Many sewage line repair companies, such as Streamline  Plumbing, offer emergency service, since sewage leaks are urgent business. They can usually fix a repair by sending a new sleeve down into the existing pipe, rather than having to dig up the pipe and replace it completely.

Finding sewage in the yard can be scary, but if you complete the five tasks above, you can rest assured that you're handling the situation properly.