Terrible Sewer Odors from sump pump

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by wishon1, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. wishon1

    wishon1 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Hello Everyone,
    I am new to this forum but would really appreciate any help I can get. I seem to be running out of options. I will give the best details I can. Whenever it rains hard we always get a sewage smell from our sump pump and our heater is next to it so the smell eventually travels throughout our 2 story house. The smell is so bad it awakings us in the middle of the night and makes us nautious. It lasts for 2-3 days until the water dries out a little. We have a septic system and my house is roughly 40 years old. I also noticed my washer drain line to the septic has been capped off and is now running to the sump pump. I have had numerous people give me different answers but no real solution. I have even had the health department involved because it got so bad. I have a cleanout riser on the tile that runs in the back of my house and have had tree roots cut because they said there is blockage in the tile. I share this one and only tile with 5 other houses. But there is no cleanout riser on there property and he can only run 100ft. of line. Bottom line is even if the tile is partially blocked I should not have a rotten sewer smell in my house. Anyone have any ideas on how to fix this problem. the soil in my area is only about 1 ft deep and then it is clay. I need help desperatley. Thanks wishon1
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Sewage

    First and foremost I would do whatever necessary to find the offending septic system that is allowing sewage to run back towards your house and have the issue corrected.

    Secondarily, your sump pit can be sealed so that no fumes from the pit enter your basement.
  3. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Washington
    I am not quite sure what you are describing in terms of the things in the ground. When you are talking about "tile" are you talking about a clay pipe going to your septic system?

    You say there is only one "tile" for 6 houses. Do you mean that all the houses share the septic system?

    Or are you talking about a drain field when you say tile?

    cacher_chick has certainly got it right about finding out where the sewage is coming from.

    If you have a foot of clay on top of rock an inground drain field (especially for 6 houses) seems odd to me. It is also certainly possible for the water from leaking pipes or the drain field to move along the rock under the clay. I have no idea what the topology involved is. If there is not a lot of drop and the system is bad or overloaded you could be getting effluent where you don't want it.

    Where does the water from your sump pump go? If there is no check valve in the sump exit line it could be letting contaminated water back into the sump. Or the sewage is working its way under your foundation.

    Have you checked for any drains with a dried out trap?

    Do you or your neighbors use a well for your drinking water? If so you may also have a serious problem with that if sewage is moving around underground.

    You can track the source by adding flourescine (that is spelled wrong) dye in your sewer line and see if it shows up in your sump pit. It may take a while to get there.

    Is your drain field wet?
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You can make a cover that goes over the sump pit, out of plexi glass and use silicone to seal it, that is air tight. You would need a vent pipe running from the inside of the pit out through the cover and out the sill plate or similar to allow the pit to work right and keep the odor out side.

    This will take care of the immediate problem, then I would dye the septic tank and see if the dye shows up in your sump water you want dyes like those found here

    http://www.brightdyes.com/

    Personally I like the fluorescent yellow/green, it is easy to see with the n a k e d eye.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2008
  5. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Washington
    Trying to lift a plate glued down with silicone rubber might be a bit tricky. It would be more complicated but if you are going to cover the sump you might want to glue/seal down some strips of wood all around the pit with silicone rubber. If the floor is not even you can carve the pieces of wood a bit. Now make a cover of Plexiglas or something.

    Put a gasket around the edge of the cover. You can use the stuff they sell for sealing around doors and windows. The stick-on foam tape would be good. Be sure the package says closed dell foam. ACE hardware and many others sells it.

    Drill holes for mounting screws around the cover (don't go through the foam). Put it together. Now you have it sealed but you can still get in there for the pump or other things.

    Attach the vent pipe to the cover. Where the pipes and wires penetrate the cover. Use some blue masking tape for short term; or a decent duct tape for long term. Something that is more rubbery might be easier. Just be sure that whatever you use can be removed when you want to open the pit.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    These dyes often filter out in soil so I would not say the dye not appearing is not conclusive there is no leak. Its worth a try and if it does appear it would be conclusive.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have never had it filter out...course I use 5-6 X the recomended amount...and it shows under UV light also.
  8. wishon1

    wishon1 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    When I said tile I meant field drain, sorry. And I also have a check valve on my sump line. So It leads me to believe the smell is coming from the tiles from my foundation that lead to the pit or when it rains the sump pump is constantly running and since there is a drainage problem with that field tile my lines fill up and there is no where for the water to be pumped. I don't have a problem with my drinking water that I know of. I am the last house on this field drain and no one else has these odors, but the guy on the other end of this drain line has standing water all over his field. He is getting the water and I'm getting the odors. Would sealing my pump pit be a solution to these odors?
  9. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Washington
    That is really really not the way a septic system is supposed to work. That drain field should never have been permitted.

    As noted above, sealing the pit (and I would encourage using something that can be removed for access to the pit) will keep the odors in the pit. And you have to add a vent to the pit that goes to the outside. That vent will most likely smell just like the pit. You might try one of those flapper vents you can buy for clothes dryer outlets or a vent damper made for duct work installed backwards to keep odors contained. Us a good one with a rubber seat. The ones for use in ducts are available in better quality models.

    If I were living there, and drinking water from your well, I would stop until I had the water tested for bacteria. Total coliform and e. coli. Probably nitrates and phosphates as well. Maybe more. Whatever can come from sewage effluents (household chemicals, non-household chemicals you neighbors may decide to flush).
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