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.
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.
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
Cleanout caps need to be
replaced after servicing.
Sewer pipes should never be
allowed to rust or corrode through, allowing sewer vapors to
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.
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.
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.