Why Does My Septic Tank Smell Outside When It Rains?

A septic system is an on-site wastewater treatment system. It comprises two main components, one of them being a septic tank.

Which is a buried water-tight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, and plastic.

The second component is the drain field or leach field. It is a field with the distribution of drainage pipes and gravel. Its purpose is to treat the wastewater with the surrounding soil biologically.

The septic tank collects all the discharges from household plumbing. The wastewater enters the septic tank, and when it’s full, it exits into the drain field through a series of pipes.

These pipes are perforated with thousands of holes that naturally discharge water to the surrounding gravel. Then the water is naturally treated

Is the odor persistent? Do you always smell it, or does it come and go? Do you have any soggy soil? 

Are you having any gurgling sound in your plumbing? Or experiencing any slow drainage? These are some of the questions to ask whenever there is a smell in your yard.

The number one red flag of a sewer leakage is the soggy soil. Especially around the areas, you are experiencing the soil.

Another possibility is that the odor is wafting down from your roof vent. 

Normally, these are the pipes connected to your septic system and are there to remove the gas reactions.

The smell could be caused due to the difference in temperature during different seasons. 

Causing the air to be more retained in the atmosphere; hence the smell is consistent.

One way to solve this problem is by having the roof vents extended high up. So that the air is released more upwards, thus you can’t smell it.

You could also get charcoal filters plugged on at the top of the roof vents. This way, the gasses get trapped in the charcoal filter, and you don’t have to smell them anymore.

The downdraft could also be solved by going to the septic tank where the pipe comes into the septic tank. 

Turn it down just below the water line in it. Maybe about an inch or so. It will stop the sewer gas from coming out.

The biggest problem with septic tanks is the sludge. It builds up over time and clogs the pipes. 

Hence restricting the flow of the wastewater. So it can’t be discharged or treated anymore.

This is how wastewater makes its way back to the toilets and sinks in the house.

Other times your septic tank could smell due to the soak away. When fat and grease get into the outlet pipes and block them. To this extent, your septic tank cannot soak away anymore.

The wastewater will then fill up in the septic tank and overflow into the surrounding areas. It will also back up in the house and cause plumbing issues.

A one-off solution to solve this is to get soakaway worms. A bucket full and unload them into the septic tank. 

They will quickly eat away the sludge of fat and grease in the clogged pipes.

Worms have for the longest time been eating rotting and decaying waste. Of which they convert into clean organic matter.

The good thing about the soakaway worms is that they breed at a very high rate. A bucket full of worms will become two within no time and effectively unclog your pipes, even in the drain-away field.

Within no time, the drainage pipes will allow the wastewater to flow freely. The smell will then go away. 

These worms will eat their way into the soil underground, where they will get discharged.

Some symptoms to look out for in a septic tank system failure include slow or sluggish flushing toilets. Wet spots in the yard and toilet overflow.

To get rid of the smell instantly, you could opt to pump out the septic tank. The rain might have caused it to overfill. Thereafter, call in a professional to check if there is any leakage.

There are some chemicals you could use that could help with getting rid of the smell. 

Either put it into the toilet and flush it into the septic tank where it can dissolve. Or put it directly into the septic tank. In this case, you will measure according to the instructions given.

Heavy rains normally saturate the soil and put a lot of stress on the septic tank. 

Excess water on the ground will cause water not to flow out of your system. While more are getting into it.

Eventually, this will cause a backup or the system to shut down completely.

During such times, bacterial treatment is required regularly. Also, prepare your drainage system before the rainy season. The gutters should be clean, and the tank empties to collect water.

Moreover, less water during the rainy season will benefit your septic tank. The chances of it blocking or overflowing will be reduced. This will also give time for the septic tank to process the excess water.

You should also avoid parking your car over the drain field. Or putting heavy things on top. This way, you reduce the risk of breaking the pipes and causing leakage.

Check the septic tank’s lid to ensure it’s tight. This will ensure water does not come in when it rains. And there will be no foul smell escaping.

Every fixture has a trap seal. If the fixture is not used regularly, the water in the trap will start to evaporate. Hence you will experience a sewage-like smell.

The smell could also be caused if the trap is broken. This you will notice with puddles of water on the floor.

Sometimes while taking a shower, you might experience some sort of smell. That is usually not from the sewer but the magnesium rod in the water heater.

The best way to take care of that smell is by replacing the magnesium rod with a new one.

Put some RV antifreeze on the bathrooms and toilets that are not used frequently. This will eliminate the smell and prevent the smell from moving forward. Moreover, it doesn’t stain.

If the smell is most noticeable in the bathroom, it could be dried-out toilet waxing. Simply remove and put a new toilet wax ring.

Another way of getting rid of the sewer smell is by digging up the area of the sewage pipe. Make the hole wide enough for maximum visualization. 

Then put smoke through the inlet of the pipe. After that, go to the hole and watch out to see if there is any place smoke will be coming out of the soil.

If smoke comes out, this means that the pipe is compromised. There is a leakage that is contaminating the soil hence causing it to smell.

In such a case, you could either replace the whole pipe with a new one or a lining to seal the whole pipe. 

The soil you removed has to be replaced by fresh soil. The old one is rotten. You will also need an enzyme that is specifically designed to treat bacteria.

However, you don’t even want to grab a shovel and dig to find a broken sewer line. The excavation requires a professional. Especially with the full pipe replacement. Don’t risk it.

Septic odors are caused by gases in the system, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. These gases are a natural byproduct of the bacteria that breaks down the waste in the septic tank.

Usually, the septic tank and any vents are placed in an area outside family activities. This is so you don’t notice the odor coming from them.

There is also a new septic system design called a pressure dose septic system. It is becoming popular because it utilizes a solid and a liquid septic tank.

The cleaner liquid is pumped up into the draining field by separating the liquids from the solids. This way, the draining field could be smaller than necessary in a standard septic tank.

For safety purposes, this septic tank is designed so that the liquid tab can be vented to purge the gases away from the electronic pump in the septic tank.

Heavy rains and other water sources that oversaturate the soil around your septic tank can cause it to flood. In such a case, contact a septic tank professional. 

Moreover, excess water in the soil limits the drain field. In its ability to release liquid or effluents into the soil. This leads to dangerous levels of liquid filling up the tank.

It can be difficult to tell if flooding is causing issues with your tank. This is because flooded tank symptoms are similar to those of a clogged pipe or tank that needs pumping.

Pumping the tank when it’s flooded is not a viable option. You can end up causing more damage. 

The best option is to reduce the water used in your home. This will give the drain field time to dry.

Regular maintenance and care for your septic tank can reduce the chance of flooding.

You should also only flush biodegradable septic safe material. And only plant grass on the drain field because trees can damage the pipes with their root system.

Most septic systems fail due to inappropriate design or poor maintenance. 

Some of the drain fields also fail because of their location. Especially in areas with inadequate and inappropriate soil. Or with excessive slopes and high groundwater tables.

Desist from using any chemicals that might end up killing the helpful bacteria. These bacteria are what help with breaking down the organic material.

However, adding biological additives from time to time introduces billions of enzymes and bacteria. These bacteria then help the septic tank regain its efficiency.

If the weather forecast has warned of impending heavy rains, seal any possible point of entry into the septic system. In advance.

In addition, seal off all inspection points to ensure the excess rainwater will not find its way into the septic tank.

Last but not least, in preparation, switch the pump off in the circuit box and cut off the power supply.

If the drain field gets flooded, the system is already blocked. Use as little water in the household as possible. To avoid making the smelling situation worse.

At all costs, you should avoid going into the flooded area after rain. This is because the water is already contaminated, and you could easily get a disease.

Wait until the rain has ceased for you to pump the septic tank. Otherwise, the septic system might end up getting even worse.

The problem is usually not the septic tank but the saturated soil in the drain field. This is what is causing the smell.

Reroute all the roof gutters taking rainwater to the drain field. The less the water, the better.

Having your septic smell is an annoying problem. Moreover, it creates an unhealthy living environment.

Take the necessary precaution measures before the rain. Have a proper maintenance and care schedule for your septic system. A properly- maintained septic tank should be odor free.

Even though, It is normal to notice a weak smell near the septic occasionally. It should not persist for long periods.

Also, the drain field should not have a strong smell unless something is wrong. Have a professional come in to check the situation.

An occasional professional check on the pipes even when the septic tank is functioning well. Would alert you early in advance In case something is wrong.

Remember that the soakaway worms, the additive bacteria, and enzymes are the best option for you. They are very cost-effective and do-it-yourself kinds of task. 

The good thing about them is that they get discharged naturally after they have finished their job. They will go deep into the soil and disappear.