What do I do about the sewer gas in my office building?

I own and have an optometrist's office in a building that is over 100 years old. It is located in the downtown area of a small town in Western Oklahoma. We frequently have a problem with sewer gas in our building. One time when my staff and I were out of the office it was very bad and was mistaken for a natural gas leak. At that time people from the gas company, firemen and other city officials were all over the building.

Someone discovered some cast iron pipe in a cellar that was cracked on top. I have had it replaced but things have not improved much.

Here are some other details about my situation:

Along with my optometry office, there is a chiropractor and a T-Shirt shop. None of us have a lot of traffic.

Other downtown businesses have the same problem including the county health department who is in and almost brand new building.

The smell is worse if the wind is out of the south.

There is a clean out between my building and the city sewer. This is on the south side of the building. I removed the lid from this yesterday hoping any gas generated in the city sewer would escape there before entering my building. This morning, the smell was as bad as ever.

The smell is unpleasant and gives new patients a horrible first impression. I don't know what to do.

5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi There,

    The sewer gas smell can be caused either by drain traps that are dry or improper venting of the system.

    Find all the drains in your building ( sinks, showers, floor drains, etc ) and pour a gallon of water into each one.

    If that does not fix the problem then you will need to call a plumber to make sure there is proper venting and all the vents (on the roof) are clear.

    In the case of improper venting you will sometimes hear a gurgling sound while running water into the drain. Also the drain will drain slowly.

    have had experience where a floor drain in a shop area caused a person who had a desk above it to have headaches. Pouring water into the floor drain stopped his headaches.

    Hope this helps,


  • 7 years ago

    look in the basement (or the lowest level) to see if you can find a floor drain. Use a flashlight and see if you can see water standing in that drain. If you can't, add a gallon of water to it. It might be that your trap has dried out, and isn't preventing the sewer gas from seeping in to your building. Otherwise, call a plumber.

  • Mitch
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Plumbing traps should prevent any sewer gas from entering the building. You should have the plumbing vents checked to be sure they are clear. Something may be causing the traps to go dry.

  • john
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    It sounds as if you have pipes that need to be replaced, and some pipes that need traps. It,s time to call a commercial plumbing company. They should be able to check traps and find any dry traps or broken pipes.

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  • Marko
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    You don't mention calling in a plumber. We can't do anything here.

    Source(s): ac tech in Tulsa
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