Sewer Smell

Several residents in McKenzie Towne have reported an awful sewer smell. My office looked into the odor concern and has provided me with some background information about the issue:


This issue has happened, not only this year, but in the previous two years as well.  The cause of the odor is from vegetation decaying underneath a layer of ice in the storm retention facility.  The gases produced from the decay cannot escape through the ice layer and are carried up the storm main that drains into the storm retention facility. The odors then escape from the catch basins and also up any weeping tile pipes (without P-traps) that come from buildings in the area connected to the storm main.  Most of the odors this past week were coming from the catch basins.  From what I’ve been told, there is not a location on this pipe where a “rubber flap” can be installed in order to prevent air flow coming back up the pipe.

Water Services Efforts to Reduce the Odors:

  • Homes were checked with gas detectors last week and determined to be clear and safe.  The odors coming into homes are coming in through the weeping tile connection to the storm system.  These connections were installed without a P-trap, or other method, to prevent air or gasses from coming into the house through the storm mains.
  • Catch Basins were checked and low levels of H2S were detected (this is the cause of the “sewer smells”).
  • Power flushing the pipe was done last week, but did not reduce the odors enough.
  • The ice on the retention facility was broken late Friday to vent the pond.  Water Services will continue to monitor the ice and make sure it is routinely vented.

Water Services will investigate other potential solutions.

What you can do?:

Find and cover the weeping tile connection inside the basement. Call a plumber and have a P-trap or other device installed on the pipe to prevent airflow.

NOTE: The odors are not coming from the sanitary sewer system. They are coming from the storm main.

If you have any questions, please contact 311 for more assistance.