Sewer fumes making family ill

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    • #279143
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        In October 2002 I had the septic system pumped on the new home I just purchased in July 2002. Ever since then, when ever I do laundry in my utility room, located downstairs, or dishes in my kitchen sink the septic odor (fumes) are so bad that I have to open all the windows and doors. I have had the septic company back to my house 5 times to check for problems, they have removed the covers in the yard, used a camera to check for cracked pipes and they are stumped. This is the same septic company that passed the Title V before my purchasing the home. I have also had an independent plumber with 50 years of experience here and all he recommended was having the vents checked for a blockage. Well I did this, and they used a “powered snake” to check the vents and they were fine, no blockages. I have had the city plumbing inspector here and he thought it could have been the seal on the toilets, which he checked and ruled out as the problem. I just discovered a stain on the foundation of the house where the sewer pipes leaves the home. I have also had the water department come in and they are currently testing the water, just in case.

        I am hoping that someone has some suggestions on what to do or go next. I have contacted the city and state health departments and they have been no help. You see I have a 22 month old son and am 7 months pregnant. When I contacted the Environmental Protection Agency, since I’m grabbing at anything now, they suggested that I stay out of the utility room because the fumes (odor) could be somewhat toxic. Well it is a fact of life that laundry and dishes need to be done!

        I would greatly appreciate any type of suggestions.

      • #300119
        Avatar photoRetired plbg1

          Sounds like you need a trap in the line to the septic tank.

        • #300120
          Avatar photoLgordon

            We are having a similar problem with our laundry room. For the past week there is a sickly septic smell in the laundry room which is across the hall from our 3 month old baby’s room. It is so upsetting. And we can’t seem to get a plumber out to figure what is going on. I’m also worried about the effect of the smell on our baby and ourselves. We had a similar problem with one of our bathrooms last year and the plumbers had to reset the toilet. That worked but now it seems that the problem as moved to another room. What does it mean to put a trap in? How costly?

          • #300121
            Avatar photobozo

              Retired plbg trap in the line to the septic tank? get real.Why do all the other fixtures have traps on them?Are you a retired plumber for sure.Best re think your reply.

            • #300122
              Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1

                Sick Mom, Lgordon and Bozo, the plumbing code and the on-site system regulations in many jurisdictions allow for the installation of a whole house trap. This trap prevents the gasses created in the digestion process in the septic tank from being vented back into the house vent system, and ultimately up through the roof vent. The installation of a whole house trap may solve the sewer gas odor problem, or it may not. The “down side” of installing a whole house trap is that the potential of sewer pipe clogging at the trap may become problematic. This is the reason that many jurisdictions disallow the installation of whole house traps.

                If the regulatory agency rules allow it, and you decide to install a whole house trap, be sure to include cleanouts upstream, and downstream of the trap so that a snake can be run in both directions. Even with 2 cleanouts it may be difficult to run a snake through the trap. In regard to the cost involved, it depends upon the difficulty of excavating the sewer pipeline. The material costs are minimal, but the labor cost could be substantial.

                I believe that the correct and prudent approach is to find the leak in the plumbing system which is allowing the sewer gasses into the house, and then seal the leak.

                To determine the location of the leak, pour a little oil of mint into a cleanout outside of the house, or into the roof vent. Then have another person sniff the air in the room where the offending odor is present. With a good “sniffer” the location of the leak can be determined. If the oil of mint trick doesn’t work for you, then contact a Licensed Master Plumber who is qualified to perform a smoke test.

                It is quite dangerous to allow this sewer gas odor problem to continue. The hydrogen sulfide gas in high concentrations can be deadly, and the methane gas, although odorless, is explosive in high concentrations.

                John Aldrich (Septic Tank Yank)
                Septic System Consultant

                » This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 30 December 2002

              • #300123
                Avatar photoRetired plbg1

                  When I had my tank installed I started to smell sewer gas from the roof vent so I dug it up and put in trap and never smelled anymore gas. They used to put a Tee and a cleanout inside of the tank . Now Bozo you ought to listen before you open your mouth and down some one else.

                  » This message has been edited by John Aldrich on 30 December 2002

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