Unusual odors can escape from your septic system. While the smell can vary, don’t ever expect a pleasant fragrance. In any case, the cause for the stench could be sewer gas. We’ll explain what this is and whether it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.
Sewer gas is an odor formed from a combination of toxic and non-toxic gases. The gases are the byproduct of decaying household products and sludge undergoing the anaerobic decomposition process. The gas is mostly made up of methane. While an odorless gas, methane can take on a variety of odors when combined with ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other gases. Many homeowners compare the smell of sewer gas to rotten eggs or sour mayo.
Hydrogen sulfide is poisonous at high levels. If you smell a small hint of rotten eggs near your septic system, you don’t need to worry. If the stench overwhelms the nostrils, however, then this is a cause for a septic system inspection.
The amount of hydrogen sulfide that leaks into the air from the septic tank may make you mildly sick. However, the gas can be fatal if one was to actually enter the septic system. Don’t even think about performing a DIY inspection.
Sewer gas typically escapes from the dry trap. This is a P-shaped pipe with water that provides a seal to keep out odors. When the toilet, shower or other drain is unused for prolonged periods, the water dries out, causing the gas to enter. Backups are another common cause
Edited by Justin Vorhees
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