That Sewer Gas Smell Can Be Explosive!

Subsurface News
May 13, 2017

by David Balkan

Sewer Gas Smell Explosive

That offensive smell arising from a sewer is more than just nasty; it can also be explosive. That is what one man discovered when he tossed a lit cigarette down an open sewer hole. As this sewer gas smell explosion video demonstrates, that simple act triggered a bomb-like explosion. The main culprit is the methane gas that occurs when waste decomposes.

You do not need an open flame to trigger such an explosion. A homeowner in Minnesota suffered serious burns after simply flipping on a light switch. The spark was enough to trigger an explosion and resultant fire that destroyed the home. The culprit was sewer gas from an uncapped line that had built up in the unoccupied home.

A sewer trap from which the water has evaporated could create a similar situation. That is why it is important to add water to drains during dry weather, before and after extended absences, or if they are not used regularly. If the sewer gas smell goes away once all of the traps are full of water, the problem was probably be caused by dried out traps. If not, it is time to call on the experts.

Hydrogen sulfide is another explosive component of sewer gas. This extremely toxic gas can also cause hydrogen sulfide poisoning. It gives sewer gas that characteristic ‘rotten egg’ smell. If your house is producing such an odor, call a qualified plumber to have the home checked for possible sewer gas leaks.

If you notice an especially strong rotten egg smell, leave home immediately and contact the fire department. Do not turn lights or appliances on or off, or do anything else that might create a spark or static electricity discharge. This is especially important if your home has been sitting empty for a while. The heavy sewer gasses build up, displacing the oxygen and creating a possibly explosive situation. The warning smell will be strongest in a basement or near the floor at the lowest level.

If you smell sewer gas and are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, headache, dizziness, sore throat, burning eyes, or drowsiness, you should leave the area immediately and seek medical care.

Once you and your family are safe, it is time to call on the experienced plumbers at Balkan for help fixing the cause of the sewer gas smell issue. Contact Joseph L. Balkan, Inc. right away for a free, no-obligation quote.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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