4 Common Causes of Sewage Smells in Commercial Buildings

Properly maintaining your commercial facility is critical in order to ensure the safety and comfort of your employees and customers. When sewer odors appear in your facility, you will want to address this problem as soon as possible, as foul odors can drive away customers and create an unpleasant working environment for your staff. While it is important that you consult a professional sewer cleaning and repair service to help you find the source of this problem, here is a look at a few of the most common reasons for sewage smells to appear in a commercial facility.

Improper Venting

If your building was constructed more recently, or has had major renovations, then your problem could lie in insufficient venting in your building. Vents allow for sewer gases in your drainage system to rise and escape through the roof of your building unnoticed. If insufficient venting was installed in your building, or if a leak has developed in your sewer vent pipes, this can allow sewer gas to permeate your facility. Vents being installed incorrectly can also cause sewage smells rising up from drains in your facility.

Clogged Vents

Of course, even if you have sufficient venting that was installed properly, sewage smells can appear in your building if your plumbing vents become clogged. Damage to your vents, animal nests, or any number of other culprits could cause your sewer vents to become clogged and blocked. This will push the sewer gas back into the drain pipes and up through your drains as it will have nowhere to escape. You may even hear a gurgling sound coming from your drains, which can indicate that sewer gas is percolating through your p-trap’s water barrier. Inspecting your venting to see if this could be the cause of your problem requires going up on your roof, which is generally best left to a professional.

Clogged or Cracked Sewer Line

Unfortunately, sewage smells in your building may also be the result of a more serious problem such as a cracked or clogged main sewer line. Oftentimes, sewage smells are one of the first signs indicating that there is a block in your sewage line, which is why it is important that you have this problem professionally inspected as soon as possible before a backup in your sewage system causes damage to your facility. However, these odors can also be indicative of more serious damage such as a cracked sewer line, as it is common for hazards such as tree roots to cause damage to commercial sewage systems. Sewer line repair can likely fix this issue, however, in extreme cases sewer line replacement may be necessary. A technician can inspect your sewage line and go over your options with you to help you determine the best course of action for your facility.

Dry P-Traps

Fortunately, one of the most common causes of sewage odors in commercial facilities is dry p-traps, which is easy to find and repair. In plumbing, a p-trap is a simple but effective means for keeping sewage smells from permeating a building. A p-trap consists of a u-shaped pipe, which connects at one end to a drain– such as the drain in a sink– and on the other end to the sewer line. The p-trap collects and holds a small amount of water, which acts as a barrier to prevent sewer gases from coming up and releasing odors into a building. However, if there are areas of your building that are rarely used, or haven’t been used in years, p-traps in these areas can dry up, allowing sewer gases to freely enter your facility. Fortunately, this is simple to fix, and a plumbing professional can provide you with solutions to help prevent this from occurring again in the future.

Contact us to learn more about the causes of sewage odors in commercial facilities as well as to schedule an inspection to find the cause of sewage odors in your building.