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Community and Q&A

Sewer vent location

lucyna99 | Posted in General Questions on

We have a cleanout and sewer vent pipes currently sticking straight up from the sewer lines to above grade level in the area about 5′ from the front doors to the building (there are 4 of them, as the house is a duplex). Porch is about to be built, and the area is dug out. The original plan was to have these 4 pipes terminate in the area of a planter that divides the front porch. The porch is 4’10”x12′ and has 4 steps on all 3 sides. I hear that these vents may cause unpleasant smell in the area of the front porch. Could this be some kind of substantial smell? Should we route them somewhere else, like to the furthest edge of the step (on the sides) or even further?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    We need to know more about these vents.

    1. Do these vents connect to a septic system or to a municipal sewer system?

    2. Are you sure that these are sewer vents, rather than some type of clean-out for your roof gutter drain pipes or your footing drain pipes?

    3. Do these vents now have an odor?

  2. lucyna99 | | #2

    Hi Martin,
    These are sewer vents, and are connected to a municipal sewer system. The connection point is about 30' out, below the street. There is no odor now, but then, we don't have any toilets installed yet.

  3. lucyna99 | | #3

    I should correct myself: the vents are capped with orange caps now, so we did not detect any smell. We did not think of opening and checking.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    I doubt if these are really intended to be vents. My guess is that they are clean-outs. Clean-outs shouldn't be open to the atmosphere, so they aren't going to smell.

  5. lucyna99 | | #5

    There are two sewer pipes leading from house, but 4 pipes that stick out. Actually, there are 6, 2 more, closer to the street. These last 2, I was told, were for viewing inspections. There is also trap installed between the cleanout and the vent. This could be part of a local code, but I see a sewer vent outlet at the neighbor's house, in their driveway. If these were vents, what would you do..?

  6. SwitchgrassFarmer | | #6

    It sounds like you might have "whole house" traps on each line, with clean outs on either side immediately adjacent to the trap. It's what I was forced to install next to our septic tank to keep "sewer" gas releases farther away from the house. (I am in hill country and contend with down sweeping air flows late night - early morning.)

    There are charcoal filters that you can buy to put on any associated vent lines. The bad news is that I tried those first; they weren't adequate for the vents on my house, which is why I ended up installing a whole house trap farther away. YMMV though, this is a situation that is dependent on wind patterns, how much venting happens elsewhere, etc.

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