man reacting to strong odors

Why Does My Sump Pump Smell Like Sewage?

Having a sump pump in your basement or crawlspace is essential for preventing water damage and maintaining a dry living environment. However, if you notice a foul sewage smell coming from your sump pump, it can be both unpleasant and concerning. Even if your sump pump is under your house, the odor from your sump pump can make its way into your home. Don’t ignore this issue for too long or it can have embarrassing results.

The plumbing team at Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing explains why your sump pump smells and what you can do to solve this problem.

How Does a Sump Pump Work?

To understand why you have a smelly sump pump, it’s essential to grasp its basic functionality. Here’s a brief overview of how a sump pump works:

  • Sump Pump Basin: A sump pump is typically installed in a pit or collection basin in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace.
  • Sump Pit: The sump pump collects water that enters the sump pit due to groundwater seepage, rain, or other sources of moisture.
  • Activation and Pumping: When the water reaches a certain level in the pit, a float switch triggers the sump pump, which then pumps the water out and away from your home through a discharge pipe.

Common Reasons Why Your Sump Pump Smells

Several factors can contribute to a sewage smell emanating from your sump pump. Here are some common causes of sump pump odors:

  • Bacterial Growth: Bacteria can accumulate in the sump pump pit and feed on organic matter present in the water, leading to the production of foul-smelling gases.
  • Sewer Line Backup: If there is a sewer line backup or a break in the sewer line near your property, the smell can travel through the drainage system and reach your sump pump. This can make your sump pump smell like raw sewage.
  • Dry Trap: A dry trap in the floor drain near the sump pump can allow sewer gases to escape, resulting in unpleasant odors.
  • Clogged or Improperly Installed Vent Pipe: The vent pipe connected to your sump pump system helps release odors and gases. If it is clogged or incorrectly installed, sewage odors can accumulate.

Inspect your sump pump to see if you can see which part the smell is coming from. You may also have to check the perimeter of your home to see if the drainage pipe is clogged.

What to Do When Your Sump Pump Smells

If you notice a sewage smell coming from your sump pump, consider the following steps to resolve the issue:

  • Cleaning and Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain your sump pump system. Stagnant water and bacteria can easily be drained and cleaned away. Clean the pit, remove all debris, and disinfect with a diluted bleach solution.
  • Check for Sewer Line Issues: Contact a professional plumber to inspect your sewer lines for any blockages, leaks, or backups that could be contributing to the odor.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Check the vent pipe connected to your sump pump system to ensure it is clear and properly installed. Animals and lawn debris frequently clog these vent pipes. Wear gloves and try to remove the blockages yourself or use a plumbing snake. Then use a hose to pour water into the vent pipe opening to help flush out any remaining debris.
  • Floor Drain Maintenance: Regularly pouring water down the floor drain near the sump pump can help maintain a water seal and prevent sewer gases from escaping.

If the smell persists or if you are unsure about performing any maintenance tasks, it is best to call Heartland for professional plumbing services.

Sump Pumps Can be Messy – Call Heartland For Help

When your sump pump smells like sewage, it can often indicate underlying issues that need attention. If you’ve tried all of these steps and are still experiencing persistent odor, or don’t want to get too dirty messing with your sump pump, call Heartland for help. Messing with your sump pump can be a dirty job. Our team is happy to help with all of your sump pump issues. Call Heartland today to schedule an appointment at your Carbondale, IL home.