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Old 07-08-2019, 11:19 AM   #1
winterh
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Default septic smell

My neighbor tells me there has been a smell coming from my leach field several times over the last few months. I have never noticed it but do not doubt that it could happen. The system is approximately 10 years old and does not see much use so it should be well within its life cycle. Depending on the wind it blows right into his yard or house. I want to be a good neighbor and obviously take care of any issues. Had the tank pumped and the field inspected and all seems fine. I do have 2 pipes venting the system. One at about 3 ft and the other fairly high up. Any suggestions? He mentioned a charcoal filter on the vents. I was thinking that plus maybe extend the vents higher into the air.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #2
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I am guessing you have an enviroseptic system.

The vents are at different heights for a reason. This is called differential venting and it helps to create a draft through your septic system and introduce oxygen into your effluent disposal area. Do not make the vents the same height it will not work the same. The vents are the way they are for a reason. This will ensure that the organisms that live within your system have plenty of oxygen and your system is at peak performance.

They do have charcoal filters like you mention. They may be worth a shot if they are not too expensive.

A properly functioning septic system should not have much if any odor associated with it. Are you noticing an odor as well? Your neighbor may have an overly sensitive nose or just not like looking at your vent pipes.

FWIW...I am a licensed septic system designer and a licensed professional engineer in the State of NH so I have a decent idea of what I am talking about.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
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https://odorhog.com/

•Filters can also install onto vents that are directly connected to the septic tank

In your case the vents are on the leach field "downstream from the tank" but I assume these would work for that as well. The only thing you'd really need to understand is if a filter such as this would significantly restrict the free flow of air as these vents are put into the field in strategic locations to allow ample air flow in the field to help dissipate gases that build up in the drain\distribution pipes.

Talking to a septic designer, ideally the one who did your system may help answer if this is a viable solution. Smell emitting from those vent pipes is not uncommon after all they are installed for a reason.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link to the odor hog. I contacted them about the use on a leach field and here is their reply in case anyone else was thinking of trying it.
No, unfortunately it won't. OdorHogs are designed to work on pressurized, sealed plumbing systems. There's nothing in a leach field that would force the odors up and out of the vent stack. They would act like a cork in the vent pipe instead of a filter.
Best,
Dana

I assume there are other filters that will work and will find one
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:25 PM   #5
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If all else fails you could call this company and have them send their septic truck and have it pumped!

I was waiting in line last week for the Woods hole Ferry to Martha's Vineyard and saw this plate on a septic truck. Who thinks this stuff up?

OK sorry (Not sorry) for the hijack!
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Old 07-09-2019, 04:29 PM   #6
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Arrow New and Mandated...

Interesting that the later (and mandated) septic systems have a name: enviroseptic. The early systems were anaerobic; meaning, they were sealed from the oxygen in the surrounding air. On the roof, small vent pipes keep pressures even.

These new ones appear to have large PVC "candy canes" to vent the system's contents.

Our neighbors' systems are "shared", and certain wind directions bring the odors to us.

Fortunately, the odors have been much reduced, although the reason is lost in time. It seems the problem was worse when new--ten years ago.

I'd suggest painting the "candy canes" in camouflage colors to reduce that visual reminder.
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Old 07-09-2019, 05:30 PM   #7
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Who thinks this stuff up?
Simply truth in advertising!
If you’ve ever hovered over an open septic tank cover....it’s STINKY!
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Old 07-09-2019, 05:34 PM   #8
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From my experience in having a system installed in 1989 we only had to have one of those outside "candy cane" vent pipes installed if the system was above our basement bathroom.

Since I am on a hill everything (including the basement bathroom) easily flows downhill, so an outside "candy cane" pipe was not needed.

I agree that all those outside candy cane vent pipes should be painted in either dark green or black to better blend in with the landscaping. Actually, I believe they make those PVC pipes in black (as well as white).
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Old 07-09-2019, 06:33 PM   #9
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From my experience in having a system installed in 1989 we only had to have one of those outside "candy cane" vent pipes installed if the system was above our basement bathroom.

Since I am on a hill everything (including the basement bathroom) easily flows downhill, so an outside "candy cane" pipe was not needed.

I agree that all those outside candy cane vent pipes should be painted in either dark green or black to better blend in with the landscaping. Actually, I believe they make those PVC pipes in black (as well as white).
Yes, those “candy canes” are pretty hideous and I always thought if I had to “own” one, I would plant a shrub or something to cover it.
I also call them “s*#t snorkels”
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:29 PM   #10
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Default I have one of these to cover the candy cane

https://presbyeco.com/product/create...-granite-post/
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:51 AM   #11
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Some camo tape might be cheaper and still maintain the uniqueness
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:54 AM   #12
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This has been an interesting thread. Our tank is downhill from the house, but then pumps up 200 feet to the leaching field. The system is in its 6 season of use and works great, we had it pumped last year and they said it looked good.

The only issue we have is once the pump stops the 200 ft of pipe drains back into the tank, thus forcing fumes out the vent on the tank. So then we get some smell that lingers. I wonder if the charcoal filter would work in this situation.

Our installer painted the vents on the leaching field with brown paint and it blends in nicely.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:26 AM   #13
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Default Waste backflow

We had a similar issue with material back flowing into our holding tank. The septic company put a baffle or valve that prevented the material from flowing back into the tank. This solved our problem.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:28 AM   #14
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Satellite septic pump systems like yours always have a $25 check or flapper valve installed in the line just above the pump that keeps all the septic semi liquid waste from return flowing back downhill like a siphon drain.

Heavy rain fall soaking the leach field above can cause a system to drain down especially when the leach field turns into a large frozen puddle.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:00 PM   #15
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Default But, winter...

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Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Satellite septic pump systems like yours always have a $25 check or flapper valve installed in the line just above the pump that keeps all the septic semi liquid waste from return flowing back downhill like a siphon drain.
The septic installer drilled a hole in the flapper valve, so the water would slowly drain out of the pipe between the holding tank and the leach field. This is so that if we're gone for a few months in the winter, we don't end up with a pipe full of frozen effluent. We have the vent pipe both at the leach field and holding tank, but no odor in 12 years.
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