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Anonymous Poster

New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/20/2008 10:02 AM

HI - We recently installed a new 1000 gallon cement septic take along with new pipes to the house and to the new D Box. We did not replace the leach field. We also moved the vent pipe further up the roof to prevent future ice damage. Anyway, we feel good about all the new parts of the septic however we now have a really bad smell coming from the exterior vent pipe. We do not have the smell anywhere inside our house. It is both frustrating and unpleasant to open our door and smell the sewer gas every morning. We recently tried the carbon filter (no luck) and then extending the vent pipe higher by four feet. It has now moved the smell away from our front door and into the driveway. The smell is in our cars. We have had many septic people, plumbers, contractors and they all shake their heads and say we have to live with it. I am worried it is unsafe and not convinced that we should have to live with the disguting smell. Please help!! Suzi in New Hampshire

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Guru
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#1

Re: New septic, nasty smell

10/20/2008 10:36 AM

I suspect that when they replaced the plumbing to the septic field, they removed a trap. I also suspect that your area has a lot of temperature inversions.

Here is a good site to help diagnose and cure the problem.

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Guru
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#2

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/20/2008 10:59 AM

I would quickly feed the new septic system with enzymes. It has not had time to develop them. ???

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#3

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/20/2008 11:18 AM

Have you innoculated your septic tank with the necessary bacteria? If not, get it done immediately to kick start the biotreatment process. If you've already innoculated it, check your water pH level. A septic tank must maintain a pH level as close to 7.0 as possible. If it drops below 6.5 or rises above 7.5, then the desirable methanogenic bacteria will die, leaving behind bacteria that will produce foul odors. If your pH level has drop to 6.5, add lime or caustic soda to raise it to 7.0 immediately. If it has been below 6.5 for some time, you'll need to increase the pH to 7.0, then re-innoculate your tank.

One final thing, yes, it IS unsafe: that rotten egg stench you're getting is hydrogen sulphide, H2S, and it's HIGHLY TOXIC. Sorry for being so blunt, but you'll have to rectify this problem immediately before someone gets seriously hurt.

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#4

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/21/2008 4:19 AM

You mention ice damage, have temperatures been low since installation? All bacterial activity is slowed at low temperatures but not evenly. This could upset the bacterial balance in your tank, leading to smelly operation.

How well is your tank insulated?

The suggestion has been made to inoculate the tank. Good idea, it will do no harm and may well solve your problem.

Good luck

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#5

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/21/2008 8:11 AM

Here in India I learn that all new septic tanks are initial loaded (I don't know the quantity) with common salt for generating bacteria which decomposes the night soil. It may solve your problem but consult local Civil Engineer first.

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#6

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/21/2008 12:16 PM

Set you a small flame at the end of the vent pipe untill you can get the repairs done on the trap. The flame will burn off the gas and kill the smell.

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Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: New Septic, Nasty Smell

10/22/2008 1:33 AM

We always installed a properly installed trap in the line between your home and your septic tank to catch water and provide a water seal to prevent gas oder from backing up.Also,too much of a angle on this pipe could empty your trap when flushing.A crack or leak allowing your trap to drain will also allow this.I would get in touch with the ones who installed your tank and the inspector as inspection is required in most places before the system is covered.Check in your codes.Make sure this trap is in your line or you will be venting your septic tank through your vent and in large burst as you flush.

Bleach from your washing machine,the caustic in Dishwasher detergents,garbage disposal residue and grease will often kill your septic tank bacteria .This is why they were often and still are often piped to a separate smaller tank and systems.These were often called "grease traps".

Please do not attempt to light your vent pipe off as suggested.The right gas and air mix in the pipe will go BOOM!This is rare but has happened.

Normally your drain field will get root bound or plug up with solids before the septic tank goes bad.Septic tanks fill with solids and have to be pumped or dipped out(Dipping is a bad,bad job).I know of septic tanks built out of block in the early 50's that are still great today.They have been dipped and pumped out many times over the years.The drain fields have had to be reworked or extended.Something is WRONG with your system.The vent is there for the relief of air when you have a flush or slug of water traveling down your pipe.Also you normally have a second smaller vent near the kitchen and wash machine with the larger vent for the bathrooms.Without these vents,the action will often blow out the water in your traps and allow odor.

Last,but did happen to a relative.A rotting opossum was found in the vent pipe by removing the pipe.Crawled in and could not back out???Alfred

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