Occasionally we have people call in to tell us about smells they’re noticing near their septic tank, wondering if it’s normal for the tank to produce odors. As a general rule, if you notice bad smells coming from near your tank leach field, this is a sign that there’s a problem with your septic system, as a well-maintained tank should not produce any smells. This doesn’t necessarily mean the tank needs to be pumped—the odors are caused by gases in the system, and their emanating up through the surface could be caused by a variety of issues.
Here are a few examples from a plumber in Modesto, CA of places you might notice odors and what you should do if you notice them.
Outside your home near the tank
Weak smells near the septic tank are normal, but strong odors should prompt you to take action. It could be that you have a leak at the manhole. Check the risers and manholes to make sure the covers are secured in place. Keep in mind that manholes for your septic tank could be buried under the soil. You can temporarily seal some manhole lids that are leaking with weather stripping, which can help contain the odors until you can get repairs done.
Odors in the leach field
The leach field is where the fluid that comes from your septic tank gets naturally treated in the soil. You should not notice strong septic odors there, so if you do, there’s a problem in the system that requires prompt professional attention. Call in the pros to inspect your septic system pipes to make sure they haven’t been damaged or crushed in any spots. They should also check for roots that could be causing a blockage in the pipes. If there are any areas of soggy or wet soil on the surface, this is an indication that sewage is rising to the surface. This needs to be addressed immediately, as it is a major health risk to humans and animals alike.
Odors inside your home
If you notice septic odors inside your home, you could potentially be dealing with a plumbing problem, but you don’t necessarily have to call in a plumber. You might have a floor drain trap in your basement that’s dried out, in which case septic tank gases vent back into the house. Filling up the drain trap with water should resolve the issue. Other issues that could cause a septic odor in your home could include a blocked plumbing vent on the roof, an improperly sealed ejector sump pump, a dried-out wax toilet seal that needs to be replaced, a hole or leak in your plumbing or a cleanout access plug (inside the drain) that has come loose and needs to be tweaked.
For more information about some of the most common causes of septic odors and the steps you should take to address them, reach out to a plumber in Modesto, CA at Alvarado Pumping Septic Service today.