septic system smellgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I was wondering what I could add to my septic system or attach to the vent pipe on the roof of my house to reduce or eliminate the odor coming from the septic system. Depending on which way the wind is blowing the odor can be very powerful. I extended the pipe on the roof but that did not seem to help. Any advice or company referals would be great. Thanks and keep up the good work with your magazine!
-- John Eric Seitz (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 01, 2000
Are you sure it doesn't need to be cleaned out?
-- Patty Gamble (email@example.com), March 02, 2000.
You didn't mention why you thought it was a problem with your vent pipes. Is the sewer gases in the house? Is the toilet not flushing properly? (as in not enough suction). If these things are ok, I'd guess it was the drain field. If the drain field is the old crock type, there might be a blockage or breaks somewhere. You might want to concider a replacement field.
We had the problem of our septic tank overflowing all the time into the yard. We'd have it cleaned out only to have the same problem 6 months later (it's a small tank). The township said if we replaced the system, we'd have to do an above ground system at a cost of about $12,000. One weekend we rented a trencher and made trenches 4 feet deep, 1 foot wide. we connected all of our 7, 50 foot rows with another trench across the ends and connected the front of the rows together and then to the tank outlet. We filled all the trenches (they're about 6 foot apart) with about 3 feet of gravel slanting toward the back trench. We laid preferated drain tile and conected it all together. Covered it all with tar paper and backfilled with about a foot of dirt. We haven't had to have the tank cleaned out since than (it's been 6 years). The cost was really cheap, and we don't smell or step in sewage. I know the old crock is helping the system also, we ran through sections of it a few times with the trencher.
The way we did it is NOT code. I figure who is going to dig it up to check?
-- Peggy (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2000.
If you are getting sewer odor in the house, you most likely have either a leak in a vent pipe, or a non-functioning trap in one of the drains. Otherwise there would be no place for the smelly fumes to get into the house. Make sure that there is water in all traps, including floor drains, sinks that aren't in use, etc.
-- Jim (email@example.com), March 02, 2000.
John, If the sewer gas is in the house-do something right away-it's very toxic! Keep a window open 24/7 till you get it fixed. We had this last spring when we renovated, the vent pipe 'looked' fine so we didn't replace it, big mistake. All the banging around cracked the old pipe after the walls and tile were up! We ended up running a new vent pipe, what a disaster. If the smell is outside, the cheap 'out' is to pour "rid x" in the toliet, and/or spread lime on the fields every month. When you can, call a pro. Good luck!
-- Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2000.
If the smell is backing up into the house, I've heard that it could be a birds nest (or similar blockage) in the vent pipe. A neighbor said that you could pour water DOWN into the vent pipe and that might clear the blockage. Good luck....
-- don barnes (email@example.com), March 02, 2000.
John, I am an environmental consultant specializing in onsite sewers and septic tanks. I would suggest that you do check all plumbing for "dry traps" and other vent problems as the other readers have suggested. If, after all investigations are completed and all is fine with the inside plumbing, and you have no disposal line problems (ie sewage surfacing) then it may well be something to be solved by a carbon filter attached to your vent line. A company in Oregon by the name of Orenco Systems, Inc markets a very affordable charcoal filter that mounts on the top of the vent stack. They come in several sizes. The telephone number is 541.459.4449 in Sutherland Oregon. They are an excellent company and can help. PLEASE do check all traps and plumbing for leaks though
If I can be of any further help, just drop me an email
-- J. Michael Ledbetter (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 05, 2000.
In spite of comments otherwise, sewer gas isn't toxic, just unpleasant. It could be explosive if it was mostly methane, but that is unlikely in a home septic system.
-- Jim (email@example.com), March 06, 2000.
I seem to remember we had this problem when I lived at home with my parents. My dad said something about there not being the right kind of bacteria in the septic. I may be way off base here, but it seems to me he flushed some yeast.
-- Tracy Rimmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 08, 2000.
John, my husband owns his own plumbing and heating co. here in NY and he recently ran into this same issue with a newly build log cabin. After several frustrating attemps to solve it they installed a "house trap", a trap placed in the line out side, in the ground which keeps the odor from backing up into the house. You did not say what kind of pipes you have or if they are old or new. Sewer gas will eat through cast iron and copper pipes over time so you may have a crack that could be hard to see but you may be able to feel it. Have you called any professionals in your area. My husband is always willing to advise someone who calls him with a question, with out charge, of course it's hard to be sure your on track without visiting the site. He also does free estimaties, I'm sure if you called around you would find someone in your area that does too. Good luck.
-- Kathy (email@example.com), March 11, 2000.