08:26AM | 10/11/04
Member Since: 10/10/04
4 lifetime posts
I am on a 7 year old septic system, which was pumped and inspected last month with no problems. I have owned the home for 2 years. For the past year, we periodically get a strong sewer smell in the kitchen and laundary room areas - but not in the bathrooms. Both the kitchen and laundary room are on the ground floor and not far apart - I believe they are both on the same sewer vent. The odor comes periodically with no pattern. It does not seem to be coming up from the sinks and the traps appear to be working. I don't believe it is blowing in from outside.

Do you have any suggestions of what may be causing it? I thought it could be the wind blowing back down the 2" vent on the roof (I have a high pitched roof). A local plumber suggested installing a trap on the line between the septic tank and the house - is this a possible cause? Like I said, the problem has only been noticeable for the last year, but I don't know what changed to have caused it.


03:39PM | 10/11/04
If the vents are steel then they could have rusted out. Usually above the top tee. If you have an older structure you may not have enough vents for your system. That is common on older septic systems. An additional trap is used sometimes when the odor from the city main is strong. We have trap districts in my jurisdiction. Adding a trap would not be a guaranteed cure.


06:18PM | 10/11/04
Member Since: 10/10/04
4 lifetime posts
As a follow up, how can I check if the vents are rusted out? Also, where would I find the top tee?

Do you give any credence to the idea that the wind is blowing gasses back down the vent and then it is leaking out the vent pipe seams in the wall?


07:34PM | 10/11/04
The drainage vent system is a closed system. You should not get smell from wind blowing back down the vent pipe unless you have a leak in a vent pipe. Which you are evaluating. Knowing whether you have a plastic, cast iron and lead, or cast and steel helps determine the likely hood. You can do a smoke bomb down your vent but I think it's too early for that. I presume you do have a p trap for the washing machine and one for the laundry sink.

By top tee I meant if you have the washing machine and laundry sink tied into this vent the upper most connection. Often if this is steel or copper then they rust out and odors come out.


07:53PM | 10/11/04
Member Since: 10/10/04
4 lifetime posts
Thanks. This has been very helpful. One final question - any suggestions on how to evaluate the top tee to determine if it is rusted out? I am assuming that I need to open the wall where the laundary and sink gas vents "T" to the roof?


01:42AM | 10/12/04
Opening the wall to look.
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