- This topic has 3 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 20 years, 9 months ago by Ken Zoeller.
25 Jul 2000 at 8:30 pm #278614MasterPlumbersKeymaster
Have read through most of the messages here and am not quite clear on the exact course of action…
I have 15 yr old home with a septic system (I’m sure it’s never been pumped out). All the drains in my home are emitting the “rotten egg” smell. Have checked the water itself – no odor. But turn on a faucet and there it is…esp in the kitchen.
How do I determine if the tank needs pumped out? Do I need to hire someone or can I do it myself?
If pumping out is not needed, what can I do to eliminate the odor that I have now….and how do I prevent it from happening again?
I’ve never maintained a septic before.
29 Jul 2000 at 8:03 pm #298872SylvanLMP
I would look into having the lines water jetter to not only restore full flow BUT water jetting will scour the lines to a like new condition.
The water jetting will also remove any deposits on the inside piping walls that can act as a breeding place for odor causing bacteria.
The other aspect about water jetting is it doesn’t rely on possible harmful chemicals to remove the soap/wax/grease build up .
Snaking only bores a small hole and has no scouring action.
If you like go to “plumbviews” on top of this page and read an article I wrote a few months ago regarding chemicals and snaking Vs jetting.
29 Jul 2000 at 9:53 pm #298873SylvanLMP
Hey is another point of view from a really great plumber who is on my plumbers discussion group.
Dear Many thanks:
If your septic tank hasn’t been cleaned in 15 years, that would be a good
place to start. You can do it yourself but it’ll be pretty messy and stinky
(especially when you have to siphon it with a garden hose). Your best bet is
to hire a professional “Honey Dipper” that has the experience and equipment
to do a good job.
While he has the lid off your septic tank, ask him to check the inflow
piping. It should have a clean-out cap in place, and a long pattern sweep
turned downward into the tank. If the cap or the sweep is missing, it will
allow foul odors from the tank to back up into the building drains.
If your home in the country has plumbing installed by a country plumber,
you may be dealing with improperly trapped or vented fixtures (that will
cause a noticeable aroma of rotten eggs as well as other stuff that I will
not name in deference to those with finer sensibilities.
I admire your hudzpah..and I’m sure given enough time you could unravel
mysteries related to your odor problems. But…a common sense approach to a
faster resolution to the problem without having to learn scuba diving, I
recommend you employ the services of a well respected and qualified Plumbing
Contractor in your area with a proven track record in the type of work under
The odors that you smell are actually particles of the offending
substances that are at the root of the problem. Health can be compromised by
exposure to some airborne pathogens that can be found in “Vapours de la Poo
31 Jul 2000 at 4:55 pm #298874Ken Zoeller
If your tank has not been pumped for 15 years, start there with the best pumper in your neck of the woods. Call the health department and get the name of a good one. The health department knows good from bad. You can not do it yourself unless you have several acres of ground to apply the stabilized sludge on( standard size tank for a 3 bed room house is 1000 gallons). It would be good to be home when the tank is pumped. Make sure that there is an inlet baffle and outlet baffle in the tank. Make sure that the tank is 100% emptied and not just the liquid removed. If there is a pump chamber with a pump in it, make sure it is pumped out and all the sludge is removed from it as well. With the tank empty flush a toilet or 2 and make sure there is a free flow of water out of the inlet into the empty tank. you should be able to hear the water gush in. If not then the drain pipes from the tank back to the house may need to jetted as one writer has suggested. If you have free flowing water at the inlet, check the vent stack going out the roof of your house. If the vent stack has a bird nest or some other stoppage, the back pressure on the traps in the house can feed that rotten egg smell inside. When you run water the water will flow out of the trap and if the stack is plugged, the gas below the water must go some where in order for the water to go down. The vent stack can be cleaned from the roof vent or the clean out in the basement or craw space. firstname.lastname@example.org
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