The mere mention of the word “sewage” often makes people want to change the subject. We don’t want to see it and we don’t want to smell it, let alone talk about it. However, since it’s one of the main ways we get rid of what we don’t want, it’s important to make sure it leaves the premises without incident. Sewage typically contains different types of wastes, some of which harbor microorganisms that pose health hazards. Not surprisingly, sewage has the potential to damage any concrete it touches, given enough time.
Bacteria and Sulfuric Acid
Bacteria are vital organisms for processing sewage. Although you might find bacteria in places without sewage, you’ll always find bacteria wherever sewage goes. When bacteria start the process of breaking down these wastes, a common result is a very corrosive liquid known as sulfuric acid. Now, previous articles in this series pointed out the corrosive nature of acids in many foods and drinks. Sulfuric acid is strong enough to eat away at carbon steel! Add to that the uric acid in urine, and you have a potent corrosive force. Clearly, unprotected concrete is vulnerable to degradation by sewage!
Locations Prone to Sewage Exposure
When you think of places that have the most worry over sewage, a municipal processing plant is probably on top on your list. However, there are other areas just as susceptible, such as:
- Zoos and Veterinary offices
- Pet stores, animal shelters and pet groomers
- Stables and dairies
- Compost yards
- Restrooms and bathrooms
The main issue in areas like these is continuous exposure. Even if spills in an area are quickly cleaned up, not all cleanup efforts are thorough enough to remove the entire spill, or to stop the bacteria. Each spill does a certain amount of damage, and that damage accumulates over time, eating away at the integrity of the surrounding concrete.
Keeping Sewage and Concrete Separated
The best way to make sure concrete is not deteriorated by sewage or its component acids is by installing a protective barrier between it and the muck. An epoxy coating from West Coast Epoxy resists the corrosive nature of sulfuric acid and other compounds, so it’s good to place it in areas where sewage passes by — regardless of the expected amount or exposure. Options like non-slip finishes or coved flooring also make cleanups easier and safer to complete.
It’s important to keep sewage contained so you don’t have to worry about seeing, smelling, or talking about it. West Coast Epoxy can help you reach that goal. Give us a call or schedule a free consultation online for help in Sacramento and Northern California.