Terrible sewer smell from one tub

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Jonathan Peoples, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Jonathan Peoples

    Jonathan Peoples New Member

    Feb 20, 2013
    Hello everyone!

    My house is a little over 1 year old. We have a septic tank with a float that pumps out into the county system as needed. We have 2 shower/tub inserts and 1 shower insert. The least used of the shower/tub inserts has a terrible smell coming from the drain. It is the same smell we had noticed a few times after we first moved in and the pump on the septic tank wasn't working correctly. It seems to be working now because the yard isn't wet and the toilets flush fine. The smell has persisted for a couple months now without any noticeable septic tank issues.

    I can probably contact my contractor and have him figure it out, but I thought I might get an idea of the problem first. Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.


  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    I think the term for what you have is a cesspool. A septic tank is part of a system with leach fields, and is normally self-contained sewage disposal system. A cesspool is a holding tank.

    But, that doesn't really matter for your question! If that tub isn't used on a regular basis, the trap can dry out. If that happens, it becomes a direct path to the sewer. If running water (only need a pint or so) stops the smell, that's the issue. But, if the tub drain is not vented properly, it can get siphoned dry quickly, and make that happen as soon as something else drains, pulling that trap dry. If you can hear water draining while carefully listening at the (when you're not using it!), the trap is dry. A less likely thing could be if the trap has a hole in it, but that doesn't happen too often.

    It's possible there's an accumulation of hair or other crud in the drain, and that's smelling.
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