French Drain? Smells Bad in Basement

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    • #279118
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        I live in a house built around 1900. There is some messed up plumbing in the basement. Here’s the way it looks: The kitchen sink (also in the basement)drains laterally some 20′ and into a 6″x 10″ 15″ deep concrete box. 3″ of those 15″ of depth extend above the basement floor. The kitchen sink lines enters this concrete box at about 4″ or 5″ from the top of this concrete box. This concrete box has an outflow hole (drain) on an adjacent wall of this concrete box at about the same height (4″ or 5″). The outflow hole from this box extends only about 4″ laterally to a basement floor drain that looks very typical. As you can imagine the concrete box smells pretty foul.

        Is this a french drain? It seems like a very bad idea in this context. I bought the house from an old woman who grew up in the house. I believe her father built it. I believe the kitchen has always been in the (walkout) basement and that this crazy system has been in place for about 100 years.

        My long term plans are to modify the system described to more conventional/modern plumbing standards.

        In the meantime do you have any idea how I should deal with the concrete box. There is an awful smell that eminates from it these days?

        I’ve been in the house 1 year now and I’m very careful about what I put down the kitchen sink drain. There is no garbage disposal.

      • #300081
        Avatar photoKen Zoeller

          What you have described is a form of a grease trap. Normally, or the ones I have seen, have been outside, not within the house. The reason you do not see them today is the detergents used today do a great job of emulsifying the fats, oils, and grease. You might be able to do away with it if it is a grease trap. Please check with the local health department. They may not allow it to be removed. If so, move it to the outside to get the smell outside. Or seal it, and vent it correctly. If they do not allow it to be removed make sure you can service the unit. It will need to be cleaned out from time to time.

          » This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 09 November 2002

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