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Old 09-01-2010, 11:32 AM   #1
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


We live in an old house (100 years old). All the bathroom works (three of them) great. The toilet flushes great upstairs, but after a few days diluted sewage water creeps back into the toilet and leaves an unbearable stench.

We have a bathroom in the basement that works great. No issues. And a full bathroom as well on the main floor - no issues. It's just the 2nd floor bathroom that is holy hell. We're renting, so the landlord comes over and flushes the toilet upstairs and says, "It works fine. Just keep flushing it."


Anyone have any ideas about this? Thank you!!

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Originally Posted by Yikes View Post
The toilet flushes great upstairs, but after a few days diluted sewage water creeps back into the toilet and leaves an unbearable stench.
P.S. I should mention, sometimes it doesn't take a few days... sometimes a day. We don't use the upstairs bathroom daily. Three days passed before the diluted sewage back-up in to the toilet happened. We don't see actual feces and urine (though, clearly that's what the yellow/browish water is.

Going to vomit again.
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


I would have a plumber look at it, and if work needs to be done, tell your landlord they need to pay for it or you wont be paying rent....that'll get them moving
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


I would guess that you have a poorly designed waste pipe system. The only way to know for sure and repair it would be to get access to the toilet waste pipe and see if there is a sanitary tee that is installed incorrectly or some other improper use of fittings. It could be that the waste pipe isn't run an enough of a slope and there is residual waste in the pipe.

Have you asked the landlord if he would be willing to run a snake through the pipes just to see if that cures the problem?
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:41 PM   #4
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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I would guess that you have a poorly designed waste pipe system. The only way to know for sure and repair it would be to get access to the toilet waste pipe and see if there is a sanitary tee that is installed incorrectly or some other improper use of fittings. It could be that the waste pipe isn't run an enough of a slope and there is residual waste in the pipe.

Have you asked the landlord if he would be willing to run a snake through the pipes just to see if that cures the problem?
My landlord is as unresponsive as they come. I may have to resort to getting a plumber and taking the cost off my rent if he doesn't respond appropriately.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:52 PM   #5
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


What happens three days later if you flushed the toilet twice quickly (just enough time in between for the tank to refill)?

I find it hard to believe that residual waste would come back down into the bowl with the exception of decomposition of a piece of feces that did not make it over the hump inside the toilet on the first flush. In order for diluted residual waste in general to come back into the bowl, it would have had to pool up in the channel in the back (front on very old models) of the toilet up to the height of the hump, and if the toilet flushes even half decently, such a pool up cannot happen. Furthermore if such a poolup happened, it would leak out of the drain channel at the joint between the toilet and the floor if the wax ring seal there was not absolutely perfect.

Or maybe there is to this day the residue of feces just out of sight beyond the bottom of the bowl and given enough time, a little more decomposes and discolors the water sitting in the bowl.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-01-2010 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:06 PM   #6
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


My neighbor across the street was having problems over the weekend with a plugged toilet and asked to borrow a plunger. I guess she plunged and plunged for 1-1/2 days. No joy.

Her friend came over, removed the toilet, tipped it upside down and out dropped one of those large spring clips for hair...she won't be keeping them on the back of the toilet anymore.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:15 PM   #7
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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What happens three days later if you flushed the toilet twice quickly (just enough time in between for the tank to refill)?

I find it hard to believe that residual waste would come back down into the bowl with the exception of decomposition of a piece of feces that did not make it over the hump inside the toilet on the first flush. In order for diluted residual waste in general to come back into the bowl, it would have had to pool up in the channel in the back (front on very old models) of the toilet up to the height of the hump, and if the toilet flushes even half decently, such a pool up cannot happen. Furthermore if such a poolup happened, it would leak out of the drain channel at the joint between the toilet and the floor if the wax ring seal there was not absolutely perfect.

Or maybe there is to this day the residue of feces just out of sight beyond the bottom of the bowl and given enough time, a little more decomposes and discolors the water sitting in the bowl.
How do I put this delicately? A child lives upstairs and prefers to come downstairs to use the bathroom. Even if she were to have expelled a monster feces, I don't think it would be large enough to be the culprit. Now, we've only lived here for two months ... perhaps the previous tenants.

This is great info. Thanks for talking it through with me It didn't seem plausible that once flushed (and it flushes fine) that it would come back up the pipes a few days later to what looks like diluted sewer matter. If a lodged monster feces were the culprit, wouldn't you think after two months the thing would've decomposed? And if not, wouldn't have decomposed enough to where it didn't stink up the whole upstairs to the point where it'd make one want to vomit?
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:27 PM   #8
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


I'm wondering if it may be a plugged or partially blocked vent which could cause the toilet to not drain completely.

One way to tell if this might be an issue in your case is to have someone watch the water level in the bowl of the second floor toilet while someone else flushes the toilet on the main floor. If the water level drops or the toilet gurgles it means the vent isn't working as it should and the trap is being siphoned. It also means the toilet might not be flushing properly and residual waste may be staying in the trap.

It's easy to check and at least rule that out as a possibility.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:32 PM   #9
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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Originally Posted by fabrk8r View Post
I'm wondering if it may be a plugged or partially blocked vent which could cause the toilet to not drain completely.

One way to tell if this might be an issue in your case is to have someone watch the water level in the bowl of the second floor toilet while someone else flushes the toilet on the main floor. If the water level drops or the toilet gurgles it means the vent isn't working as it should and the trap is being siphoned. It also means the toilet might not be flushing properly and residual waste may be staying in the trap.

It's easy to check and at least rule that out as a possibility.
Thank you so much for the recommendation. My daughter is coming home in an hour and we'll experiment. I'll report back at 3:30 to let you know what happens. Thanks again for talking it through with me!
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:46 PM   #10
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


heres one that might get the landlords attention;

set the toilet up so it overfills the tank, and leaks down the drain pipe.
that should keep the crap flowing downstream and spike his water bill.
you might want to even tell him "Oh, by the way, I fixed the problem myself, no need for a plumber. The toilet always runs now so I don't have to deal with the stink!" I bet you have a plumber knocking on your door in no time
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


FWIW. Is it possible that the smell is coming from the sink? Does your sink have a pea trap? If so, maybe the water in it evaporates over the course of 2 days, allowing sewer gases to come up?
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:22 PM   #12
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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Originally Posted by forresth View Post
heres one that might get the landlords attention;

set the toilet up so it overfills the tank, and leaks down the drain pipe.
that should keep the crap flowing downstream and spike his water bill.
you might want to even tell him "Oh, by the way, I fixed the problem myself, no need for a plumber. The toilet always runs now so I don't have to deal with the stink!" I bet you have a plumber knocking on your door in no time

HAHA!!! To bad *I* pay the water bill, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fabrk8r View Post
I'm wondering if it may be a plugged or partially blocked vent which could cause the toilet to not drain completely.

One way to tell if this might be an issue in your case is to have someone watch the water level in the bowl of the second floor toilet while someone else flushes the toilet on the main floor. If the water level drops or the toilet gurgles it means the vent isn't working as it should and the trap is being siphoned. It also means the toilet might not be flushing properly and residual waste may be staying in the trap.

It's easy to check and at least rule that out as a possibility.
Okay, just finished experimenting. I flushed the toilet downstairs while my daughter watched the water in her toilet upstairs. Then we switched and did it again, where I watched it upstairs while she flushed downstairs. There was no movement at all in the toilet upstairs.

We do have to hold the handle down for quite a while until the toilet completely flushes, which has been the case since we moved in. The other toilets in the house flush mightily with just lightly pushing the handle, but the one upstairs is rough-going.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:28 PM   #13
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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FWIW. Is it possible that the smell is coming from the sink? Does your sink have a pea trap? If so, maybe the water in it evaporates over the course of 2 days, allowing sewer gases to come up?
It can't be the sink because:

1. The toilet water, after several days (or even a day sometimes) will turn a yellowish color. Like a dark yellow/brown.

2. Once the toilet is flushed again, the smell goes away after I open the windows and an hour goes by.

3. I sniffed out the tub and sink and nothing ... it's definitely the toilet.

Thanks for talking it through!
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:33 PM   #14
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


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We do have to hold the handle down for quite a while until the toilet completely flushes, which has been the case since we moved in. The other toilets in the house flush mightily with just lightly pushing the handle, but the one upstairs is rough-going.
In light of this fact, my guess then is that there is something lodged in the toilet trap of this particular toilet.

Have you had any problems with it clogging frequently?
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:24 PM   #15
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Vomit! Diluted sewage after a few days...


The toilet bowl and the first foot or so of channel just beyond it and up to a hump inside is the trap.

I don't think anything is coming back up the pipes but rather whatever is coming back into the bowl remained nearby all along.

Quote:
We do have to hold the handle down ...
You just added something new to the argument/equation/discussion; you began with "The toilet flushes great ..."

Now this strongly suggests that the channels inside the toilet itself are partly clogged -- with the residues that are decomposing and staining the water. And every time you do flush solids down, some new residues may be added to whatever is caking up inside. If you did not hold the handle down and the toilet flushed sorta' okay, the slower flush also increases the chance of residues left behind.

Are the first and second floor toilets directly below/above each other? If so they could share the same vent so a vent problem would not affect just one.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-01-2010 at 05:34 PM.
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