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Summer Sanitary Sewer Odors

Updated: Jul 1

The South Granville Water & Sewer Authority (SGWASA) understands that recent odors have caused concern within the community. This post addresses the causes of increased sewer odors during the summer season and offers guidance for addressing them.

Certain gases, including hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, methane, and ammonia, are naturally produced in sanitary sewers and can be met with the seasonal impact of thermal stratification. These gases bear unpleasant odors.

While regular maintenance cannot entirely prevent their formation, materials flushed down drains and toilets can contribute to stronger odors. Your plumbing system is designed to prevent sewer gases from entering buildings. Water-filled traps in drains act as a barrier.  If odors are detected inside a building, the following may be the cause:

  • Dry Trap: If a drain is rarely used, the water in the trap may evaporate, allowing odors to escape.

  • Leakage: Joints, caps, or the wax ring around a toilet may become loose, allowing odors to pass through.

  • Clogged Vent Pipe: Vent pipes allow sewer gases to escape safely to the atmosphere. A clogged vent pipe can trap odors inside the building.

For issues related to dry traps or leaks within your property, a qualified plumbing contractor can help.  Look for a contractor experienced in installing plumbing fixtures, as some contractors only specialize in sewer cleaning, which may not address these problems.

While complete odor elimination is not always achievable, SGWASA prioritizes minimizing them through regular maintenance practices. This includes ensuring proper flow and preventing backups, as well as removing odorous materials deposited into the system by normal public use.


Issued 6/28/24 by the South Granville Water and Sewer Authority 

Krystle Lee, PIO/Board Secretary/Webmaster

(919) 575-3367

Learn more on these and other related subjects:

Thermal stratification. Thermal Stratification - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.).

“Sewer Gas.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2018,

Technologies, S. P. (2020, January 15). Tips To Keep Your Pipes Odor-Free During the Hot Summer Months. SPT.

Disclaimer: The article references posted on this page are provided solely for reference purposes. The advertising information within the article and personal content beyond water facts do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of SGWASA (South Granville Water & Sewer Authority) or the SGWASA Board. Any opinions or statements expressed in the article are those of the individuals or organizations.

Do you need to schedule an appointment with our utility team? Submit a Water Quality Questionnaire by clicking this link.


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