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Old 12-10-2009, 10:34 PM   #1
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Sewer smell in sump pit (house is on a septic system)


Hello all, I am hoping you can provide some insight to my issue. Over the past couple days, there has been a small flow of water coming into the sump pit (about 1 gallon per hour) which is not unusual given the small amount of rain / snow we have had over the past 5 days. The flow has a distinct sewer (grey water) smell. We have lived in the house for two years and get a sulfer oder on occasion, but never a sewer smell.

The home is about 5 years old, basement is 9' deep and there is a footing tile that runs the 2000 sq. ft. perimeter. The tile is the only input to the sump. The house is serviced by a 1500 gallon septic system which was pumped 2 years ago (there are 4 people in the house). The leach field is no closer than 25' to the foundation.

The only major "change" that I can think of is a rapid cold snap. Here in Illinois, we went from 60 degrees to 5 degrees in a matter of days.

My initial thought is that water from the septic must be finding its way into my tile.

Looking for your opinions on diagnosis and repair. Many thanks in advance.

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Last edited by NateDogg1955; 12-18-2009 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Sewer smell in sump pit (house is on a septic system)


I think your initial thought sounds reasonable. You can remove all doubt by taking a sample to your local health department and ask them send it to their lab for analysis.

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Old 12-18-2009, 06:01 PM   #3
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Sewer smell in sump pit (house is on a septic system)


Problem solved. Today, I had the septic tank pumped down and inspected. As I suspected, there was a problem between the house and tank.

The first indication was, when looking into the inspection hole in the septic tank, the 4" PVC coming into the tank from the house had significantly pitched up. As I dug between the house and tank, it became evident the ground under the PVC had settled, causing the PVC to sag (in the center of the 6' pipe run) about 3", pulling the PVC away from the house.

The dirt near the house was wet, which expains why the water coming into my drain tile, then eventually into my sump pit smelled like sewage.

The PVC between the house and tank was then replaced, all joints glued and hydraulic cement placed around the PVC joint at the tank side to seal it tightly. When I backfilled, I tamped the dirt up to about 1" below the pipe and then filled with pea gravel until the pipe was nearly covered. Then, filled the rest of the hole with dirt.

I assume the foul smell will eventually dissipate as moisture from above filters down through the dirt.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Last edited by NateDogg1955; 12-18-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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