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Thread: Bad sewer gas smell from outside vents

  1. #1

    Default Bad sewer gas smell from outside vents

    Hi all!
    This is my problem.
    My neighbor's house has 3 waste vents thru the roof. 2-2" and 1-3", all pvc.
    This house is about 60+ years old, and has remodelling done.
    She does not live there full time,And has not for 20 years since she purchased the place.
    She is maybe there 2 weekends a month at max, but at times not there for 6 weeks.
    Septic tank was replaced about 10 years ago.
    At any time of the year, and which way the wind is blowing, it smells bad around the outside of the house.
    I know it's coming out of the vents cuz I got on the roof and put my nose near the vents.
    I am the caretaker, so I check the house everyday, and also run water in the sinks and toilets couple times a week.
    The main waste lines, 3", are all pvc, and branch out like a "t" through the foundation. One line is about 45' long and the other is 50-55" long.
    There are no traps in the main lines, to the septic tank, just clean outs.
    So!, How can I stop this smell outside the house!
    Can I get some AAV and put on the vent stacks? Help please!

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    Sorry, but constantly venting sewer gas is what vents do, for one thing.
    If you're down wind of the prevailing wind there, there isn't a lot that you can do taht I know of. (I'm not a pro plumber, just a long-time DIYer.)
    You might try putting extensions (unglued) on the vent pipes to see if that helps. Raising the height a couple of feet might help the wind blow it away.
    Mike

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    There are charcoal odor absorbing filters that you can install on vents.http://www.spotfree.net/

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Falcon67's Avatar
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    *comments deleted to help keep things calm*
    Last edited by Falcon67; 01-19-2008 at 08:45 AM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks all, I will see if she wants these sweetfilters.....I bet she will, it would be perfect, and easy for myself to install.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon67 View Post
    As a former septic tank owner, I'd suggest you send the tank some Rid-X and a good dose of water and give it some time to work. If that fails to help, a last resort sort of thing would be to shoot about 2 gallons of bleach down each stack and see what that does.
    With the advice you give about septic systems I certainly hope you are on a sewer now!

    Rid-X is a totally unnessary product. The bacteria occurs naturally in a septic tank and does not need any bacteria added to it!

    Strong doses of bleach should be avoided with septic system as it has a sterilizing effect and can kill the bacteria in the septic tank... In which case you would need Rid-X

  7. #7

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    I'm wondering if the septic tank doesn't need cleaned. Also, I wonder if the baffles in the tank have broken. If no one is home, maybe the bacteria are having a field day and if there is no obstruction, the gas can back up through the line. Or perhaps the water level in the tank is too low. (Cracked tank?) In normal use, a septic tank has either baffles or pipes on the ends that would trap the air in the tank while allowing the water to flow through from the middle portion of the tank.


  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Falcon67's Avatar
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    * deleted *
    Last edited by Falcon67; 01-19-2008 at 08:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon67 View Post
    We used RidX all the time with that house - it made a huge difference in performance with our short lateral lines and clay soil in that location.

    Yes, the bleach will kill the bacteria - complete last resort item. Should never, ever be necessary if the septic is working properly.
    As I said in the post above I sincerly hope you are on a sewer and not on a septic system!

    ARE ADDITIVES USEFUL? - Septic System Additives and Chemicals - are they needed?
    Septic Additive Companies are Asked for Independent Supporting Research
    Many septic treatment producers and distributors contact us with suggested products. We ask for independent, peer-reviewed, professional research supporting each suggested product. Such support is particularly needed for two reasons:

    The high cost of replacing a failed septic absorption field or seepage pit system naturally breeds an industry of "magic bullets" which are questionable (see the citations which follow.)
    Because of the lack of demonstrated effectiveness, and perhaps more important, because some septic additives or cleaners are dangerous or can cause serious ground water contamination they are illegal in many jurisdictions.
    Septic tank additives or "rejuvenators" are not needed in your septic tank, whether the additives are chemically-based (organic or inorganic compounds that claim to break up sludge or scum or to unclog drainfields), or biologically-based septic additives (septic tank yeast cultures, septic tank bacteria, starter bacteria, or septic tank enzymes).

    Some septic tank or septic drainfield additives such as yeast or harsh chemicals can actually damage the septic system. Yeast can cause frothing and excessive activity in the septic tank, preventing normal settling of solids and coagulation of greases. This agitation forces solid waste into the drainfield and by clogging the soil, shortens its life. Other septic chemicals intended to kill tree roots or unclog clogged leachfield soils can contaminate the environment.

    Can Some Conditions Kill Off Needed Septic Tank Bacteria?
    If other conditions at a property have resulted in killing-off the (needed) septic tank bacteria (such as adding unusually large amounts of bleach, disinfectants, or antibiotics to a septic tank) some folks sell bacterial "starters" to "rejuvenate" the septic tank. To me this makes little sense for the following reasons:

    Calculations of "septic tank die-off" which demonstrate that about 2 gallons of bleach is likely to harm septic tank bacteria have been based on a "static septic system", a fixed septic tank volume into which no new wastewater, sewage, and their diluting and re inoculating effect have been considered.
    If you don't correct the conditions that have caused a bacterial die-off in the septic tank, no amount of starter or booster is going to make any difference.
    Adding products such as enzymes which claim to break down grease risk destroying the floating scum layer in the septic tank, forcing unwanted oils and debris into the leach field.
    As soon as you stop putting inappropriate bleach, disinfectant, or antibiotics into the septic system and after the first time someone uses a toilet, the septic tank has been re inoculated with what it needs.
    Forcing hydrogen peroxide or other chemicals into drainfield or leach field soils can damage the soil and contaminate the environment.
    http://www.inspect-ny.com/septic/septadds.htm

    Before you get on a septic system again it would behoove you to visit this site linked above and learn about septic systems. The misinformation you are giving out could be costly to a septic system owner.
    Last edited by Redwood; 01-18-2008 at 08:43 PM.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Falcon67's Avatar
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