Sewage smell in basement

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    • #278717
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      About 2 years ago I noticed a “wet” spot in the yard. When I dug I found that septic water was coming from the D Box. I called a plumber and the Health Dept. Both said that it may be a saturated leach field. They suggested that I have the septic tank pumped and see if it helps. I did this and for a short time it appeared to help. However, about 2 weeks later I once again saw some “pooling”. Since that time the pooling has stopped. I see no more wet spots in my yard. However, whenever we wash clothes, or take showers water trickles into the sump hole in the basement. The sump never fills to more than 1 – 1.5 inches above the gravel. However, the water has a foul smell. Over the course of the following week, the water seems to recede and the odor is not as apparent. Then, the next time we do laundry, it happens again. The sump hole has a plastic liner. When the home was built the contractor cut the bottom out of the sump liner and filled the hole about 1/2 way with gravel. It appears that the water is “perking” into the soil. However, I’m worried about why the water is draining into the sump hole and where it’s coming from. I suspect that if I had a leach field problem I’d still see pooling in the yard. But this is not the case. I only see……and smell…..water in the sump hole during times of heavy water usage. Do I need to worry about this or is this a normal occurrence?

    • #299167
      John Aldrich1

      islinebkr, this is a ‘normal’ occurrence, given your description of the facilities on this site, and their performance history. More importantly, it is a situation that should be changed by way of a leach field repair. Don’t worry about it, just fix it.

      I understand that the odorous water was not present in the sump pit when the septic tank effluent was surfacing at the leach field.

      I think that the septic tank effluent was not percolating through the clogging mat, and the soil under the leach field, in sufficient volume to raise the ground water table sufficiently to expose the odorous water in the pump pit. The effluent was not going down, but rather was ponding on the surface of the ground above the leach field.

      The maintenance which was performed on the system after
      the leach field failed by surface ponding, evidently revived the leach field, and allowed a greater volume of odorous septic tank effluent to flow to, and thereby raise, the ground water level.

      So I think that you should know the three indications of a septic system failure.

      1. If sewage is backing up into your home, a failure has occurred somewhere in the septic system.

      2. If sewage effluent is surfacing on the soil over the septic tank, and/or leach field, then a failure has occurred in the septic system.

      3. If the septic tank effluent is polluting the ground water, or causes a nuisance, or poses a
      public health threat, then the system has failed to achieve its purpose.

      Pumping the septic tank evidently solved the problem associated with
      two of the indications of a failed system. But with the increase in volume of septic tank effluent being applied to the ground water table, it has caused a situation that falls under the third indication of a failed septic system.

      Contact a Professional Engineer to design an alternative leach field system that will comply with the local ISDS Regulations, and more importantly, have the Engineer design a system which will solve your problem. JWA

    • #299168
      SylvanLMP

      From what I remember from country plumbing
      these systems also are sized by the number of folks using the system plus some of the following below.

      If you suspect that your drainfield may be failing have a reputable and licensed Septic Tank Contractor evaluate your system before having it pumped.

      Pumping your tank after the drainfield has failed will offer only temporary relief until the tank fills up again. During repair of the drainfield the tank will need to be pumped so if that is required you will be throwing away the cost of the first pump-out.

      Rainwater or other drainage water should be diverted from the drainfield area. The drainfield size is designed for the amount of water coming from the house. Adding extra water from poor drainage may cause problems.

      Your septic system is designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, plus water from plumbing fixtures such as toilets, baths, and sinks. Household cleaners, detergents and bleach will not damage your system if used in moderation.

      If you are putting anything else down the drain your septic system function may be impaired. Never pour oil, cooking grease, paint, or insecticides into your plumbing system. These items can inhibit the bacteria which are so critical to the proper functioning of your system

      Septic tanks should be watertight. As waste water enters the system, the same amount is expelled into the drainfield. The bacteria that thrive in a septic tank are called “anaerobic bacteria” because they do not require oxygen. These bacteria are essential to the proper functioning of a septic system as they degrade and decompose the solids. It is not necessary to add bacterial additives to your system, no matter what the advertisers say, and some additives may cause harm.

      The better sepic tanks are made of concrete and hopefuly you dont have the plastic/ fiberglass kind

      If you need a REALLY great contractor /expert in this field please feel free to contact me via E mail

      There are way too many unlicensed fly by nights dabling in this field installing who knows what under ground garbage.

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