Smells Like Sewage Outside My House: Reasons & Solutions

Is it normal to smell septic outside? No.

Sewage smell around a home is abnormal and can be nauseating. Asides from the awful smell, it is dangerous to inhale for extended periods of time.

Such problems are likely to arise in the event of a malfunction of your sewer or sewage system. Of course, this will continue and may worsen when the problem isn’t fixed.

What Smells Like Sewage Outside My House?

Do you perceive smells like sewage around your home?

You’ll have to take that seriously by carrying out a visual inspection of your surroundings. However, such action may not be enough to find and resolve the problem.

This article discusses the possible causes and how to go about solving the problem.

Sewer Gas Leaks

A well-built sewer system will normally have a vent pipe mostly located on the roof.

This helps channel out sewer gases the proper way. Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t perceive the smell coming from the vent pipe because it’s easily dispersed when projected above.

Any sewer smell perceived around your home, especially outdoors is largely due to leaks. Such leaks are likely to be due to several anomalies.

It could come from a loose toilet, leaky plumbing system, dry plumbing, or cracked pipe.

Other possible causes include clogged drains, and blocked air vents.

What Makes Sewer Gas Smell?

Due to the breakdown of waste (black and grey wastewater), some gases are released during the process.

The primary gases released during the breakdown process include ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide.

Out of these gases, the smell of hydrogen sulfide gas is pronounced. The characteristic rotten-egg smell you perceive is a result of this gas (hydrogen sulfide).

Now the truth is, the awful smell you perceive should be the least of your worries. These gases are toxic and could knock you out unconscious at concentrated levels.

In some cases, it could become fatal. You don’t want any of these scenarios playing out. You should activate immediate steps towards fixing the problem.

Let’s discuss more the possible causes of sewage smell outside of your home.

Reasons For Sewage Gas Smell Around A Home

Why does it smell like sewage in my neighborhood?

Well, whenever you perceive sewage smell outside and around your home, it could due to many reasons. These issues are even more likely when the smell doesn’t seem to dissipate.

It’s a clear sign of malfunction that needs to be inspected and addressed.

You may have a leaky plumbing system or the P-trap(s) in your drain system(s) may be dried up. Outdoor sewage smells may also be a result of a broken vent pipe.

Let’s have a look at each of these points for a more detailed understanding.

  • Leaky Plumbing System

Leaky plumbing or drain systems can be the primary causes of smells around your home.

Such leaks could be due to broken pipes or drain lines which are could be due to heavy machinery passing over, or tree root interference among other things.

Apart from the foul odors you perceive, other symptoms of a leaky plumbing system include mold growth, blockages & backups, gurgling toilets, slow drains, and foundation cracks.

Other symptoms include yard waste, lush-green grass, sinking walkways & driveways, rodent problems, and so on.

  • Dried P-Trap

Every drain has a water seal provision called the P-trap or S-trap. These provisions are also available in toilets. Sometimes, certain drains may not be used for long.

This eventually leads to a drying up of the water seal, thus creating a ready exit for sewer gases.

Such gases escape and permeate both indoor and outdoor areas. Luckily, this type of problem doesn’t require a professional plumber to carry out extensive repairs.

Instead, it can easily be resolved by flushing the toilet.

Running water through the system restores or replenishes the dried water seal which prevents further sewer gas escape.

  • Broken Vent Pipe

Vent pipes are designed to channel out sewage gases coming from the septic tank. This venting pipe connects to the tank and leads out to the roof. It’s designed so to guarantee enhanced dissipation of these smelly gases.

Also, the vent pipes help with the smooth flow of water through the drain pipes.

However, a problem arises when this pipe gets broken. Several scenarios can play out that leads to a broken vent pipe. Whether this sounds logical to you or not, consider having a look at the vent pipe.

If it’s visible from the outside, inspect it all the way up.

You may find it broken. When broken, the vent pipe won’t serve its purpose. This is especially true when it’s broken from the lower levels.

Instead of sewer gases going up and being released above the roof, it leaks out below, thus causing the unpleasant smell you’re currently perceiving.

Fixing Outside Septic Smells

You can never hope for a sewage smell outside of your home to get better or dissipate without carrying out or performing certain fixes. The source of the smell needs to be identified and fixed.

As earlier stated, for a dried P-trap, all you have to do is flush the toilet to restore the water seal.

The approach is quite different for the other two (leaky plumbing system, and broken vent pipe). Here, the service of professional plumbing contractors is needed.

Immediate help must be sought by having contacted a reputable plumber.

The repair process begins with basic inspections. Such inspections seek to troubleshoot or find the source of the smells. Once found, a quote is given and repairs performed.

This option is the most comprehensive because it’s being handled by a professional.

You must avoid fixing the problem yourself. Of course, the only exception is when you have a dried P-trap.

Safeguarding Your Health

We’ve said that sewer gas smells can be deadly when inhaled in significant amounts. So, before a plumber arrives, it’s necessary to take certain steps towards safeguarding your health.

If the smell isn’t very strong, it will be safe to carry out a visual septic system inspection for possible causes.

When it becomes overpowering, it’s best to leave such an area until the problem is fixed once and for all. If you think you’ve inhaled a significant dose of sewer gas, it’s best to seek urgent medical attention.

Sewage smell outside of your house shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s necessary to carry out the above actions as discussed.

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