Have you ever ventured outside and something quite astonishing assaulted your nose? It may be easy to pin the blame on a wastewater treatment plant that could be nearby. However, foul odors commonly emanate from a variety of sources in our community:
- Industries (i.e. paper or chemical plants)
- Natural gas pipeline work
- A wastewater spill
- Wastewater plants
- Even private plumbing
Let’s start inside the home…
Private plumbing systems are designed to prevent wastewater gases from entering residences. All active sewer lines contain gases, and a malfunctioning plumbing system could allow gases or odors to enter the home.
Is the odor inside?
Is the odor only coming from…:
A drain that hasn’t been used recently?
We recommend for you to pour a gallon of water down the drain and see if the odor persists.
Multiple drains that are used frequently?
It may be a blockage or clog in your plumbing. Try a liquid dissolvent, please follow directions and see if this clears the clog and dissipates the odor.
A kitchen sink?
Clean the disposal (following the owner’s manual).
What you put down the drain (grease, oils, wipes) can cause odors clogging your plumbing. If the odor does not go away and is only inside your house, consider having a licensed plumber check your plumbing and vent system.
Odor Outside Home?
Every home has a wastewater vent (on the roof) that could be the source of an odor immediately outside your home (patio, deck, etc.). The odor could be caused by a clog or blockage in your plumbing. Check with neighbors to see if they are also experiencing the odor. If it is only noticed just outside your building, contact a plumber.
Another place to check is in your front yard. Most homes also have a white plastic lid called a cleanout, and that if not closed properly it may cause odor in the yard.
If you live on waterfront property or the road is higher than your house, you may have a low-pressure sanitary sewer system to pump your wastewater up to the gravity fed sewer system. It is possible that this system may be causing an odor in the pump basin if something is malfunctioning.
What Can Cause A Wastewater Type Odor?
Sewage odor may be a sign of a nearby wastewater overflow that needs immediate attention.
If you see or suspect a wastewater overflow or spill, call 311 or 704-336-7600 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If calling after hours, please say or select ‘wastewater emergency’ to speak to our dispatchers.
If you live beside a wastewater treatment plant, there may be some occasions when a smell is noticeable outside the property. Wastewater odor can be noticeable during warm temperatures, buildup of debris in pipes, or low flow during some nights and weekends.
CLTWater Takes Odor Seriously
For decades, wastewater treatment plants that were once neighbors to farms and forests are now neighbors to residential neighborhoods and businesses. In fact, there’s a wastewater treatment plant in the Little Sugar Creek / South Park area! As people moved closer to our plants, CLTWater invested millions on odor reduction. We aren’t baking bread, but we try hard to make the treatment of our community’s wastewater less noticeable.
Air scrubbers, carbon filters, bio-filters, help CLTWater reduce odors that can occur during the wastewater treatment process. We are committed to safely treating wastewater and reducing odors. We appreciate your input to help us identify potential odors.
How Do I Report an Odor or Sewer Spill?
If you see or suspect a wastewater overflow, call 311 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week (say or select wastewater emergency).
- Try to locate the source.
- If it is coming from a manhole or a creek, call 311 or 704-336-7600 and provide the closest address.
- A repair crew will respond quickly, investigate the cause and repair any publicly owned pipes, if needed.