Septic Tank Odors

Odors coming from your septic system or leach field area are a sign that excess pressures are building up underground within your tank, lateral lines or drain field. Septic tanks and cesspit systems occasionally experience odors and in many cases, smells now and then are fairly normal. When the odors are consistent, you need to diagnose what is going on so as to avoid further damage or clogging.

Your cesspit or septic tank chamber generally acts as a scaled down version of a wastewater treatment plant. Bacteria within your system digest waste as it enters through your homes internal piping. This bacterium is fed by the constant addition of bacteria from our waste, food and any other organics that make their way down into your system. Bacteria eat away at the organics and convert it into water and carbon dioxide. If your tank, pit, lines and fields are all in tact, the leach area or drain field is usually the culprit. If the leach area is clogged and creating pressure buildup, there are several things you can do to help lessen the odors and restore free flow to your system.

Try to reduce water use for a few months. Excess water created excessive pressure on the already taxed system and usually results in incomplete breakdown of the organic sludge. Try using organic or truly ‘green’ laundry and dishwasher detergents. Harsh chemicals can kill massive amounts of bacteria with every cycle. Add bacteria to your tank at least once a month to assure high colony counts and maximum breakdown of organics. Too little bacteria allows for large particles of waste to travel into the leach field and lodge within the sub-soils. This lodging causes clogging which results in pressures – and more smells.

Take it easy on your system for a few months while you try to alleviate the pressures. Apply your septic tank bacteria regularly and have your system inspected at least every three years.

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