Sewer Gas Odors

When a problem relating to odor from the wastewater system is suspected, customers should first inspect all access points to the sewer system on their property, such as cleanouts and drains, to ensure they are closed and secured.Odor Monitor

Sewer gas could be flammable, displace oxygen or contain toxic materials that should not be inhaled and could be a serious threat to life and health.

Wastewater contains small concentrations of dissolved gases. Some of these gases are carbon dioxide resulting from the decomposition of organic matter, nitrogen dissolved from the atmosphere, dissolved oxygen and hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide gas is toxic. It is heavier than air and will collect in low places. Hydrogen sulfide is responsible for the rotten-egg odor of wastewaters. Only a small amount is enough to cause an odor.


Prevent Problems
Residential plumbing systems have P-traps. These are curved pipes that collect water. They prevent odors from backing up into the house because the water in the trap acts as an airtight seal that blocks out the odor.
  • Fixtures that don't have any P-traps should be corrected.

  • If there are any openings in the waste plumbing from removed fixtures, these need to be closed.

  • Cleanout caps need to be replaced after servicing.

  • Sewer pipes should never be allowed to rust or corrode through, allowing sewer vapors to leak through.

These are all potentially dangerous situations that should be corrected by a qualified plumber at once. They constitute a harmful vapor hazard in the home.


Protect Yourself

Keep Water In All P-Traps

Water should be added regularly to plumbing fixtures, especially any seldom-used sinks, toilets or floor drains that may have dried out. If any fixtures have not been used in a while, the water in the water-seal traps may have evaporated which could allow sewer gas and odors to enter your home or business.

Report Problems
If you need to report sewer gas odors at any time, call 480-644-2262. If the odor is strong, evacuate the building and make the calls from a neighbor's house.