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Thread: plumbing question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    plumbing question

    Well, sort of plumbing. We live in the country and have a septic system. The toilets have vent pipes through the roof. Depending on how the wind blows we can get quite a whiff of ....

    I understand there is some kind of cap valve that goes on the vent pipe and reduces odors.

    Can someone tell me what it is and what it's called? Any advice as to use? Or any other solutions to the problem?

    Thanks,
    Ken

  2. #2
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    We're on septic, and the only time I've ever had a whiff of it, was when I was on the roof running a snake down the vent in an attempt to clear a clog. But I was about 2' from the vent. Never smelled it on the ground unless the cleanout cap was off. I'll be interested to see if someone has heard of this cap. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Same here. Live with septic many years, never got a whiff. You might think about looking to other problems. Your 'whiff' might be a symptom of a problem elsewhere. Another thought, your vent pipe might be too short and getting downdrafts off the roof. One of mine is 12" high, the other 18".
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  4. #4
    Oh yeah...living on this hill I can get a good whiff of septic smell, but outside the house and not inside though.

    I noticed it only happens on days when the wind is really cranking and when we use a lot of water...say when we do extra laundry for the day or wash the tractor or something. Interestingly enough it happens when we have parties and whatnot too like our Annual Redneck Luau. The bathroom is used by so many people and of course on this hill the wind always blows so it can be embarrassing.

    So far I have just lived with it. Now for us its just when we are outside. We never smell anything inside. If that is your case GET IT FIXED NOW. Those smells can really make you sick.

    And the reason for the constant winds...

    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 11-03-2007 at 09:46 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
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    It only smells outside. Travis, I notice it is weather related too. Cold damp and overcast seems to be the worst.

    Ken

  6. #6
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    Oregon
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    We just replaced our drain field it was in the way for a new drive way. The installer said the drain lines evaporate up is where most of the water goes, he didn't say if the smell came with it but they had the be so deep. How old it the drain field and when was the last time it was pumped?
    Bob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    This can be normal with a septic system Ken, ours is only a couple years old and we see the same thing. Depends on wind and weather. Still a good idea to pump every 5 years or so, depends on how perky your soil is. I know people out here that go 10 years or more, sandy soil and you can get away with that.

  8. #8
    I think it is working just fine in that case. I think its just the vent pipe doing what it is supposed to do. It would be great if you could vent it to someplace that would be better suited (like your worst enemy) but the piping has to stop at some point so its just going to smell.

    My theory is (and this is just a theory) that more waste is being driven into the tank in a greater rate then can be digested by enzimes and the like. Kind of like how a well working compost pile does not smell but one that is off on browns and greens smells terrible. Anyway I think that smell goes up the vent pipe and then the heavy air or wind pushes it down to the ground on certain days. Anyway I think that is what happens.

    As for my septic system, I know its designed right because I installed it. I live on a 6% grade and live on top of a gravel bank. Our soil is called Gravely Loam to a depth of 52 inches. Its great for potatoes because it drains so well...hence the reason why we had a potato farm for so many years. That means it drains well too. Fortunately my leach field is only 20 feet square because of this soil, but I pump my tank every 5 years because that 150 bucks is CHEAP insurance.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Travis said, in part, ".......I pump my tank every 5 years because that 150 bucks is CHEAP insurance."
    "$150.00 bucks?"
    Around here they charge $400.00 to $500.00 and recommended every two years. I'm going to stay with a five year schedule now that only two of us live here.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
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    Sep 2007
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    Ken:

    All I know about septic tanks is that my folks had such a system while I grew up, they are a pain, and that from here on out my idea of the ideal house is to pick the point still on municipal water and sewage but beyond which there is no longer municipal water and sewage.

    Is it possible that you need to recharge the bacteria happily growing there? Even if this is not the case, as a brewer, I know that adding more yeast to a working ferment won't hurt the fermentation, so adding the proper, erm, human fecal material eaters to the pot even if there's already an active culture shouldn't hurt.

    Next question, did the periodic smells start last summer with the big flooding in our area? I think we got a crack in our basement floor around that time due to the dramatic increase in hydrostatic pressure. I hope you don't have a cracked tank.

    Again, these are just brainstorm ideas - like I said, my only experience with septic systems is that I don't want to deal with them. Good luck!

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