House smells like kitty litter!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by donnat, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. donnat

    donnat New Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    I have a 105 yr old house downtown in colorado springs. I have lived in it for over 15yrs. The foundation has always been on the "move", but the last 3 months it is in a race to fall down! All the old plumbing is gone and new was installed...inbound and outbound. The only old plumbing is the roof vent and we hook up to the clay 4" drain at the base of the house. I have had the water lines tested, no leaks. The problem they found is "internal inspection of 4" drain line and identified negative slope below cleanout. Unable to camera past this point." I do not have any overflow or backup issues. I live alone so my water use is not high. What is the smell in my home? I do not have any cats, but kitty litter is the best description of the odor. It seems like the house is falling apart, and all I have done is work on this house for the last 15yrs. It is not lacking any attention. The house has got to be moving so drasticly and quickly due to water...but I cannot find the leak and can hardly stand the smell anymore. I have hired an engineer and the soil test have yet to give much information. The did remodel the hospital 3 blocks away, on the same street as I live. They did put new sewer and water lines in at the hospitial, but only 2 blocks of new...the old lines are still in front of my home. My neighbour said his house was not moving out of the ordinary and did not stink! Any ideas?
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Do your down spouts go into drains located next to the foundation?

    How old is the house?

    What type of foundation do you have, poured concrete, block, slab, fieldstone ?

    1 thing I can think of is drilling test holes around the foundation to a depth of 2' below the footers and see if they fill with water and how high it gets.

    The kitty litter smell is common when carpeting gets wet from moisture and / or flooding. The house moving and the kitty litter odor may or may not be related.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2007
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  4. donnat

    donnat New Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    Hi Cass,

    First of all, thanks for your response...I am at my witts end!

    The downspouts are hooked up to 3" pvc. The pvc drains to the curb and to the alley. I keep them clean.

    The house is 105 yrs old. Foundation is rock and mortor. The basement was dug out partially, and those walls are poured concrete. The 2 walls were never joined with rebar and the quality of cement is poor. The floor is concrete and is also of poor quality. There is bowing in all the walls poured concrete walls. The rock and mortor portion that was left, is now failing as well. I have been here 15yrs...the house has always moved. The last 2-3 months the movement is drastic and the whole house is affected. Some thing is causing this rapid failure.

    The engineer drilled a 22 ft hole next to the worst wall. It was dry on the day of drilling. The following day water was at 17ft. Where is it coming from? I had all my supply lines tested, and we tested the neighbours as well. No leaks detected.

    As far as the smell goes, I do not have wet carpets. Colorado is very dry even though we have had quite a bit of snow. The more I have been reading, it could be sewer gas. It too has become almost unbearable!

    I could have a underground spring. Why would it now start causing so much damage?

  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Geological / underground springs, streams, rivers, and water table can move and change. It sounds like you may have something on that order happening. A water table 5' from ground level in is high and would affect a foundation like yours you have described.

    Are you on a hill?
  6. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    how about some pics???

    I used to live in Colorado south of Littelton in the
    King Carl Ranch area,,,, 20 miles north of the springs..

    Their was lots of Bentinnite in the soil and things

    moved pretty quickly......

    The house we rented in King Carl..... was built over an old 1800s silver mine shaft

    and quite a number of houses around us were condemmed becasue

    these old mines were never found out about until after the homes

    were built..... and of course it was a big legal mess....

    How they were allowed to build in that area is unknown ...
    and is exactly what the law suit was about...
    sueing the city of Littleton, the bankrupt builder , ect
    basically someone was bribed to look the other way

    the people that owned this beautiful home just had to
    walk away from it and then sue everyone involved..... we rented it from the
    owners while it was in the lawsuit... (very cheap rent)

    it was not dangerous but every time
    it rained heavy , you could see the cracks in the
    drywall getting larger and larger......
    we had some minor movement ,
    but we did not have the smell seeping up into the house.

    Of course , your situation is probably just
    a natrual spring or bentinite
    makeing the home move ,

    or possibly just a broken sewer pipe

    Not to alarm you but the smell does make me wonder......

    You might want to look into the possibility of old abandoned
    silver mines in your area..... they dug them on most every one of
    the hills and hogbacks back in the 1800s between Denver and Colorado
    springs their still are old pock marks and tailing piles everywhere further in the mountains.......

    of course that is something the city would or
    local county court house should have old records and
    knowledge of.if you ask the right questions....

    good luck.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2007
  7. Mrs.Janowitz

    Mrs.Janowitz New Member

    Feb 18, 2020
    Lee County Florida
    My apologies if I'm doing this incorrectly!
    Before I begin... please keep in mind that I've never done this before. I could be setting this as my bio for all I really know. Buuuttt... anyways, I live in a beautiful modular home that sits about 10 feet from the Peace River here in South West Florida. I am on a concrete slab and elevated off the ground about 4ft. I recently moved back into my home after having renters for about 4 years. Very clean people with no pets. Over the past 6 months since I've been back I have noticed the worst smell under only one cabinet in my kitchen. Everytime I have to open this cabinet (which happens to be pots and pans) it literally takes my breath away. It smells asif there has been a cat living inside my cabinet with their very "seasoned" litter box for a very very long time! I have been under the house, nothing dead. And to be honest, don't really know what else I should be looking for. Could this be a water issue? Only because 2 years or so ago, my cute little piece of paradise barely made it through a very powerful hurricane. Our home is on blocks... some of them almost gave way... thank God they didn't but the thing is, water literally reached to my front door! It did not get in the home at all. We were saved by the 1 to 2 inches that separated our home from becoming a part of the Peace River itself. So with all this blabbing and the information I've given... is there anyone who possesses the knowledge that I so desperately wish I had right now?
    If you've read this far... God Bless and Thanks in advance!
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