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HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

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  • #31
    Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

    Thank you for the followup. That is a clean dig. That is a small hole to get that deep. Good double cleanouts as well, you now have great access for any future problems. You found good people.
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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    • #32
      Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

      Did they hand dig that?
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      • #33
        Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

        That must have been either a hand dig or a vac truck, there is no way to dig that small of a hole cleanly with a decent sized machine. I am suprised do a lot of people use that thin PVC for waste pipe, here we only use sch 40 or sdr, the only time we use that soil tight pipe is for septic systems after the septic tank.
        Last edited by wrench spinner; 09-09-2008, 07:25 AM. Reason: so joey doent make fun of me again......

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        • #34
          Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

          Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
          Did they hand dig that?
          Yes it was a hand dig. They jack-hammered the driveway and then started digging. I can't imaging digging a 2x5' hole almost 6-7' deep and getting in there to find this and then filling 'er back up.

          All I can say is I'm glad I wasn't in that hole for 3-4 hours (4-5 hours probably digging down).




          Thanks again

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          • #35
            Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

            Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
            The best thing I can tell you is that enough drain cleaning chemicals will usually clear the problem right up. Find the ones in the where they put them in a sealed plastic bag. Those seem to work the best.
            LOL I saw through the cynicism in this. Yes, those chemicals that I see in hardware stores that have the jug come in the bag are pretty scary and I imagine would do some major corrosive damage.

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            • #36
              Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

              My eyes glazed over after chapter 14! Woke up around 3 AM Cat was barking , flames everywhere! Cat didn't make it , sad
              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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              • #37
                Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                Thanks. I hope the problem is resolved now. I have a quick follow up question...


                I came home today from work and noticed a bit of faint sewer smell emanating from the front floor drain area. (At least that's what my nose locator was indicating. ) Didn't seem to smell near the back house drain, bathroom area, etc.

                It also rained tonite here in Toronto and seemed to get much stronger. Could it be rain water absorbed by the weeping tile pushing sewage stained soil water where it was leaking? I'm on combined sewers here in this part of the city as the downspout was originally connected into the sewers as well. If I understand correctly the weeping tile would be tied into the sewers as well?

                Since it is conceivable that some of the waste water for the last while (2-3 months I've been here) has entered the soil perhaps being picked up through the weeping system especially when it rains (making stronger smell?)? (the property was vacant for 1-2 months previously while being reno'd so it may have dried up from time that original owner was here).

                I would imagine a lot of the waste water would have leaked into the water table below the house as well.

                When they were digging yesterday you could smell some of it in the soil that they piled on the driveway.

                Should I expect to have a bit of smell for a little while until the rain flushes it away?

                I've put a bit of Javex in the drain after putting half a dozen buckets of water in the drain (could smell still). Also, there is a small hole (erosion possibly?) in the concrete floor near the top of the drain hole opening that sewage water could have entered so I put a bit of javex in there as best as I could to disinfect the bacteria that could have entered this small area. (I don't expect to see drain water to raise to this level again)


                Thanks again

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                • #38
                  Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                  Wait and see.

                  Shouldn't be anything to do with the rain.

                  Dead rat smells, small gas leaks, other smells are often mistaken for sewer gas, go sniff your cleanout and compare to smell at drain.

                  Many floor drains have a 1 1/2" cleanout plug in the side of the drain bowl which is often missing. If yours is like this, it can be a source of smell.

                  What is Javex?? some sort of disinfectant? a little bleach in water works well. You may well have sewage in cracks in concrete floor left over from backup, causing smell.

                  Sewer smell in house comes from an open air path from drain pipe to air in house. Commonly dried out trap in floor drain, vent pipe with a nail hole in it or other failure, failed studor vent, poor seal at wax ring at toilet, abandoned untrapped line left open.

                  Your discussions of the floor drains you've been checking the level in has seemed vaguely like they are kind of an odd installlation....are you certain they are floor drains, and not pipes that are untrapped and used to be for other fixtures that are now gone?
                  This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    Wait and see.
                    Shouldn't be anything to do with the rain.
                    Seems to have died down a bit. Bit musty down here maybe. I think I'm going to pick up a dehumidifier as I understand that odours are stronger in humid air and it might help take some of the smell out as well. They are on sale now I would think since it is close to end of season.


                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    Dead rat smells, small gas leaks, other smells are often mistaken for sewer gas, go sniff your cleanout and compare to smell at drain.
                    i'll check the exterior cleanout if I notice the smell again. I see a bit of dirty water at the bottom of the drain so maybe just need to keep pouring more buckets of water (did like 6-8 yesterday ) in to push it through the trap as it may be falling back into the drain as it doesn't get over the hump.

                    The plumbing tech suggested putting the garden house in just below the surface of the water in the trap to push the water through (rather than in the trap quite a bit as it will not push the water). I used the nozzle head on full/jet, etc yesterday but didn't put the hose inside the water so I guess that's my task for tomorrow. I figured the nozzle would have enough force to push the water through.

                    The water is almost clear not quite (still bit brown) (compared to the other drain where I can see the glue from the joint in the PVC). The front drain that is slight brown water is clay and I can see some gravel at the bottom and the drain at the back is PVC where you see the yellow glue lines.


                    Here's the rear drain that is ABS/PVC that was tied in as part of the basement reno. As you can see water is clear and the PVC glue. I guess I need to get the garden hose out tomorrow and see if I can push the murking / brown water through the trap in the front clay drain (1st picture)




                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    Many floor drains have a 1 1/2" cleanout plug in the side of the drain bowl which is often missing. If yours is like this, it can be a source of smell.
                    Nope, my drain is old school. I have clay piping for the most part so you can see the top of the clay bell about 4-6 inches below the floor level where you see the concrete floor and tile. They put a floor grate drop in place to prevent stuff from getting into the hole or from stepping through it. (the bathroom/laundry/furnace area in the basement is PVC that is tied into the clay mainline under the floor)


                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    What is Javex?? some sort of disinfectant? a little bleach in water works well. You may well have sewage in cracks in concrete floor left over from backup, causing smell.
                    Javex is another name for Clorox Bleach... perhaps a Canadian marketing thing? I poured some in the crack/hole as best as I could and down the drain hole a bit. it seems to have killed some of the odour.

                    When the drain was near overflowing it was seeping into this crack. Man, it's hard to believe it is so low now. I hadn't studied drains so much until the last couple of weeks (now I know what to look for - what water level it should be at).



                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    Sewer smell in house comes from an open air path from drain pipe to air in house. Commonly dried out trap in floor drain, vent pipe with a nail hole in it or other failure, failed studor vent, poor seal at wax ring at toilet, abandoned untrapped line left open.
                    Well you can see the pics above to see what the drains are like... everything else is new standard/code PEX (upgraded) and PVC for the fixtures (sinks, tubs, toilets, laundry drain, furnace drain, washing machine, dishwasher).

                    Only the underground mainline (and front drain) from the front corner of the house to the furnace area is clay where they tied in with PVC.... and now a PVC joiner between the clay leaving the house and the clay going to the wye shared with the neighbour for the street sewer connection.

                    I'm not going to dig up my basement floor and replace with PVC just for the heck of it as I don't have that kind of cash and it will likely be okay way past my time here. I don't really see the clay deteriorating under the ground as most of piping would be straight line with no major curved joints and there are no trees near to intrude. If any pipes burst I guess I would call the insurance company at that point to get them to pay to dig up the floor and fix.

                    As far as the street connection is concerned I don't see the city replacing their part (which is likely clay as well) unless there is a major problem like root infiltration, etc.

                    this is how I figure the layout of the drain system is in the house:




                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    Your discussions of the floor drains you've been checking the level in has seemed vaguely like they are kind of an odd installation....are you certain they are floor drains, and not pipes that are untrapped and used to be for other fixtures that are now gone?
                    Well I see standing water in hole. If it used to be for a toilet (the only thing I could think of to have that big of a hole), I don't think the toilet hole would be that deep (see pictures above). I've seen toilet drain flanges installed on TV shows (such as "Holmes on Homes" here in Canada) (before they fill in with concrete) and it is only down a maximum of 1 foot before the drain slants/slopes.

                    That looks like a drain to me. I think I just need to wait for the smell to die down which seems to have done and maybe run the garden hose in the drain to push the murky/dirty water entirely out of the bottom.

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                    • #40
                      Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                      Alright.... Enough playing games.... time for a peppermint test. Go to your pharmacy get some "extract of peppermint" go up on your roof and pour the bottle down your main vent then follow you nose to the peppermint smell as soon as you find it you have identified the smell issue which is either a cracked pipe or an untrapped fixture or floor drain. Let us know what you find!

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                      • #41
                        Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                        I guess I need to go get a ladder then too and get someone to hold it since my roofline is quite high.

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                        • #42
                          Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                          This is the cheapest and easiest way to make sure that everthing is trapped/ vented and connected correctly

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                          • #43
                            Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                            Originally posted by wrench spinner View Post
                            Alright.... Enough playing games.... time for a peppermint test. Go to your pharmacy get some "extract of peppermint" go up on your roof and pour the bottle down your main vent then follow you nose to the peppermint smell as soon as you find it you have identified the smell issue which is either a cracked pipe or an untrapped fixture or floor drain. Let us know what you find!
                            That must work or you wouldn't be posting it.... what a good trick; don't have to smoke the building out... thanks for posting it.
                            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                            • #44
                              Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                              So if you don't smell the peppermint through any of drains then you know that you are properly vented then? However if you smell the peppermint in a drain or a fixture than you have a leak somewhere. Interesting.

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                              • #45
                                Re: HELP sewer/drain issue - smell and toilet flushing

                                you can tell if you are properly vented by runnning water in each of the fixtures after you ascertain that there are no leaks or trapless fixtures, by running water you are making sure that the traps are "resealing" themselves

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