Septic Tank Odor: How to Eliminate it

Septic Tank Smell: How to Eliminate it

While the idea of a septic tank and system seems like an unclean option for waste management, most septic systems rarely exude any septic tank odor or unpleasantness, even after years of service. Of course, the key to keeping your septic system working properly and smelling fresh is regular septic tank maintenance and proper practices.

It’s important to know what causes the occasional septic tank odor though, so here’s a brief overview of the problem:

Micro-organisms (healthy bacteria, etc.) are positive forces that naturally occur in a septic tank and process the organic matter in the tank completely naturally. This is what makes your septic tank work: waste enters the tank and is broken down over time. As these organisms process or digest the material, they produce large quantities of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane gas, and organic acids.


These gases can result in a highly acidic pH level, which can in turn damage the essential micro-organisms in the tank. When this happens, the organisms stop the good work they were doing (digesting the organic matter) which can cause an increase in hydrogen sulfide gas. This release of gas is often described as smelling like rotten eggs, and as you can imagine, it’s very unpleasant for the septic system owners and users!

Avoid Toxic Chemicals

The easiest way to avoid this smelly gas buildup is avoiding toxic chemicals which can kill the bacterias and organisms in the tank, and making sure that the septic tank is not being overloaded with water or waste, which can overwhelm the organisms and cause the excess gas mentioned earlier.

Routine Tank Pumping and Cleaning

Another key element of septic tank health is obviously professional septic tank pumping and cleaning, which improves the overall health of the organic matter working in the tank as well as ensures the tank does not become overloaded by water or waste.

Contact Us

If you start to smell something unusual or unpleasant coming out of your drains or septic field, call us immediately. We’re always happy to offer emergency septic service and cleaning, or we might able to recommend some homeowner solutions (we also have some blog-posts here on the site that have some great resources as well.)