Pipe in the drainage pit.

Septic Fumes: More Than Just a Bad Smell

Foul odors are enough to make most people hold their breath around septic fumes, but there’s actually much more serious concerns to worry about than just a bad smell. Septic tanks and systems house organic waste material as it breaks down in several stages of chemical transformation. This process produces several potentially toxic gases that can impact human health, including methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide.

Impact on Respiratory System and Overall Health

The foul smells associated with septic fumes are actually a good thing. Without the potent odors, the chemicals would be almost impossible for people to detect otherwise. Perhaps the most common and relevant danger of a leaking or backed up septic tank is the potential impact on the human respiratory system. Exposure to high or low concentrations over time can cause various respiratory or cognitive symptoms and may aggravate existing health conditions.

Since septic systems tend to be in outdoor environments, the chances of excessive exposure are relatively low. However, it’s a different story if fumes are venting into the building through drains or pipes. Households with young children, pets, and family members who have existing health conditions should consider setting up detectors that alert them to the presence of gases like carbon dioxide and methane in the home.

Potential for an Explosive Situation

Some of the fumes produced by septic systems can be extremely dangerous even if no one is around to notice them. These compounds can be extremely volatile, which means they can combust when exposed to heat or flame. If enough gas is trapped in a confined space, then it can create small explosions, which are very hazardous to everyone around. Property owners should keep open flames far away from their septic system.

Spreading Airborne Bacteria

Septic systems are a literal breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. Many of these single-celled organisms are a good thing because they help break down waste within the septic tank. However, they aren’t so good when they get out of that environment. Toxic fumes from a leaking tank can spread airborne germs to the surrounding environment, which can impact the health of people and animals alike.

Don’t Hold Your Breath, Get Repairs Now

If you have concerns about your septic tank or need to schedule a repair for a septic leak or other sewer problem, rely on the professionals. Brown Aerobic is a professional provider of septic tank repair in Houston, TX, so call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment for your home.