Sewage smell in basement - floor drain is full of sewage?

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Old 07-30-13, 09:02 AM
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Sewage smell in basement - floor drain is full of sewage?

Last Thursday night I noticed a smell of sewage, coming from my basement. Nothing appears wrong with any of the waste pipes and there are no wet spots anywhere. The smell appears to be coming from a floor drain, which upon inspection appears full of sewage (there is "stuff" floating in it).

I live in a townhouse, number three of eight, and have lived here for a little over a year. I have never smelled this smell in my house before...and I have had the grate off the drain on several occasions. Before it was always filled halfway with water, not whatever it has in it now!

I tried running some water through it. The smell improved for about half an hour, then it returned and there was one again floaters in the drain. I called the repairman and he came out and tried putting one of those inflatable rubber hoses down the drain. He ran some hot water through it for a minute, and upon removing the hose we could hear the sound of water running down the drain, though no water could be seen moving anywhere. The sound lasted for about a minute. The smell was gone, so he figured there had been a small block and that it was gone.

On Monday I noticed the smell again, and there were floaters in the drain again. I tried running water again, and it improves the smell for a while but then it's back. I took the following pic of the drain. It goes straight down with a side pipe coming out. The water is up to about the halfway mark on the side pipe. If I watch the water sometimes I can see "stuff" kind of bubbling up from below, and the water itself seems to be flowing slowly into the side pipe.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 09:07 AM
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Here is a better shot, right after I put about a gal on hot water through it. The repairman said that all the townhouses in my row are attached to each others sewer lines, with one big main line to the city sewer...so it may be in another house. He also thought that the pipe you can see on the side comes from the weeping tiles.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 10:37 AM
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hi neilt Ė

Iím no plumber, just a newbie. But I didnít think it was allowed to drain storm water from weeping tiles into a sewer system? Maybe Iím wrong- plus I know your are in Canada.

So I was wondering maybe what you are seeing isnít sewer backup at all, but backup from wherever the storm water drains Ė if in fact it isnít draining into the sewer. My floor drains have those side pipes too, and there is no trap (as far as I can see) and I know they donít drain into the sewer (septic in my case).

Looks like you need the real plumbers to jump in here.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 10:43 AM
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My house was built in the late 60's, it's pretty common for older houses that have weeping tiles connected to the sewer line.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 11:44 AM
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Oh I see what you mean. Bummer! I guess if you do have some kind of sewer blockage I guess the first place you would see it would in fact be at the basement floor drain, the low point. (When I had a blockage to my septic I didnít notice any difference on the first floor, but the basement toilet would back up.)

Maybe if your neighbors arenít seeing any problems, would that indicate the blockage would just be in your pipe to the main? Just a thought.

Iím sure the plumbers here know a lot about common connections with condoís and townhomes. (I lived in a condo for 25 years).

Hope they jump in!
 
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Old 07-30-13, 12:14 PM
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The repair guy came out again and installed one of those one-way drain valves into the pipe. Seems to have helped with the smell, anyway. He said something about the city cleaning out the sewer lines around here, and that might be causing the problem.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 02:43 PM
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Oh that sounds pretty good. Guess all you can do is wait and see. Sounds like a logical explanation. At least you didn't have a big mess!lol

Good luck!
 
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