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What You Need to Know About Sewer Odor Control


As a result of wastewater treatment, it's safe to say that odors and sewer odor control

are a normal part of the process. Odors are typically contained within a city's plant site, but that doesn't address sewer odor control domestically. Just the same, due to the variety of operating conditions and weather conditions, some odors may drift from the facility.


Most odors from wastewater treatment plants have a rotten egg scent that is indicative of the presence sulfur. It may also include hydrogen sulfide or mercaptans. Other odors include a fishy, pungent smell and materials containing ammonia (amines). These compounds can all be detected by the human nose in very low concentrations and are a huge signifier that sewer odor control is needed.


There are a variety of processes used to reduce or eliminate odors to properly address sewer odor control, such as:

  • Source elimination. Monitoring industrial and commercial buildings to reduce the release of odor-causing substances at their source can help with sewer odor control.

  • Reducing bacteria growth and neutralize odors when the wastewater is treated with chorine can help with sewer odor control.

  • There is sometimes some turbulence during water treatment that can lead to the release of odor-causing agents. These turbulent areas are covered permanently to prevent odors being released into the air.

  • Many of the processes in the treatment plant are carried out inside closed buildings. The air is then removed from these buildings and scrubbed before being released into the atmosphere.

  • Scrubbers are a good source of sewer odor control. The process of pumping air trapped in turbulent processes through a series of chemical and water solutions. These solutions trap and scrub the odor-causing agents, stopping them from being released into air.

  • Bio-filters are a big source of sewer odor control.

  • Biogas being captured and burned. The bio-degradation process of sludge produces methane. It is then captured and burned on site to remove odors and provide electricity for a large part of some treatment facilities.

  • Biosolids can be used for off-site treatment or reuse. The biologically digested solids are taken from treatment plants and pumped to an outside facility. The solids are then transported by truck to nearby counties, where they can be used as fertilizer or soil enhancers. This avoids large open-air drying beds and lagoons, which reduces odors in the surrounding neighborhoods.


Tips for Household Sewer Odor Control
  • The 'P' trap, located under each sink, tub, and floor drain acts like a vapor barrier to maintain sewer odor control from coming back into your home. These traps will remain effective if they are used regularly.

  • Make sure all plumbing connections are equipped with a "P" trap.

  • Run water periodically through drains not used often, such floor drains in garages or restrooms for optimal sewer odor control.

  • Make sure that all drain lines leading to the sewer are properly capped after sinks and other appliances are taken out.

  • All plumbing vents should be located outside of the building. Proper venting will be achieved by standard plumbing in accordance to the adopted City Code for sewer odor control.

  • Check that vent stacks do not become obstructed from nesting birds and insects. Also, ensure that vents are properly capped or cracked.

  • To determine if your home or business vent system is functioning properly, a qualified contractor might be required to conduct a smoke test.


Always make sure you contact a profession if you're detecting foul smells due to improper sewer odor control. In-Pipe technology has a wealth of knowledge on this topic and so many more related to it. For more articles about sewer odor control and to learn about wastewater treatment, click here.

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