Tracing bad sewer smell

This may be a little OT because it's not for home, but church. My church has developed a really bad sewer like smell in one corner of the building, actually by the main entrance. I thought it might be the new drinking fountain and it was just installed and maybe there was some kind of drain leak ... apparently not. BTW, there is a basement right under that corner, but is smells ... well it doesn't, at all. Someone found a a bag of meat left out from the food pantry tucked away in a corner of a room ... apparently not that. A plumber was called and he found a somewhat loose toilet so he replace the wax ring and tightened it ... not that either.
Ok, all that said, does anyone know of a way to trace where it is coming from? My smeller is pretty good, however, it's hard to pin point the spot when it seems to be everywhere. And then, on some days, nowhere; although the bad smell days far outnumber the non smell days. Any ideas? Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, March 6, 2016 at 7:51:14 AM UTC-5, Art Todesco wrote:

For me, the bag of meat tucked away in a corner is the best clue. How does that happen? Sounds deliberate. So, I'd be looking at any other places, closets, openings, anywhere some jerk could have left something else to rot. A
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/6/2016 8:24 AM, trader_4 wrote:

That intrigued me too. Was the area sanitized after? A little residue can still make a good stink for a long time.
My father bought a brand new from the factory 1959 Chevy Impala. Started to stink. Found a half a sandwich under the back seat. And people wonder how foreign cars took such a big market share.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/6/2016 5:51 AM, Art Todesco wrote:

Make sure the traps in *all* drains have water in them (an unused drain can dry out in short order).
Vent the area (you said it was proximate to the main entrance so some fans running for a few hours should vent EXISTING fumes). Then, start hunting. I.e., finding the highest concentration in an otherwise "clean" area is easier than finding it in a perfused area.
[I had a *tiny* natural gas leak, here. SWMBO, plumber, neighbors, etc. couldn't smell it. I borrowed a portable gas analyzer from the local hospital and used it to isolate the point of the leak.]
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/6/2016 7:51 AM, Art Todesco wrote:

Others went with my thought, a dried out drain trap of some kind. Another concern is possibly a pipe that is unconnected, or broken.
Perhaps you can open all the doors and blow the building out. Then sniff around when the doors are first closed.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You need to post this on alt.church.repair.

There are no bad sewers. Only sewers that do bad things.

A bag of meat!

Not me. Check alt.church.repair .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A dry trap is the most likely but they do tend to have a distinctive smell.
If you have someone with a sensitive nose sometimes they can discriminate b etween different causes.
If it is a dry trap, it doesn't happen suddenly and it will always recur re gularly. Pouring water in helps, but you have to figure out the interval a nd remember to do it quarterly, monthly, weekly, whatever; depends on tempe rature and humidity usually. Some people put a tablespoon of vegetable oil on top of the water on the theory it prevents evaporation in the trap. Ma ybe it works, maybe not, I dunno. I just make sure I run water periodicall y.
I have also run into a case where the exhaust fan was strong enough to pull some sewer gas up through the trap even though it wasn't dry. That was so lved by putting a vent in the door so the makeup air could come in that way .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, March 6, 2016 at 7:51:14 AM UTC-5, Art Todesco wrote:

Did the smell start soon after the drinking fountain was installed?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/7/2016 9:13 AM, TimR wrote:

Yes it did, however, I don't think it is coming from the water fountain. I've stuck my nose right against the drain and also behind the unit and there was nothing. I haven't been there since I first posted, but will be there tomorrow. Thinking about this and all the replies, I think there are 2 washrooms just under the lobby, and these washrooms are not heavily used. I don't think many people even know they exist. My wife was there yesterday and didn't smell anything, but it does seem to come and go. I'll keep you posted.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 9:13:18 AM UTC-5, Art Todesco wrote:

I'd try tracing where vents for the drain system for those 2 bathrooms go. Possible something is broken, not connected, etc. If it's hidden, you could scope it from the roof.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 3/9/2016 8:38 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Good thought. I'd completely forgotten an experience that I had.
Did a complete gut job of the kitchen (house built in 1974) down to the stud walls. On a common wall shared by the kitchen plumbing and a bath, I discovered that over the years something (sewer gas?) had corroded a section of the 3" copper vent stack in that wall, necessitating replacement.
We never experienced sewer gas smell, but strange stuff can happen with plumbing, so trader's suggestion has merit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Dead mouse/rat, or other critter.
Worse yet, a dead deity (you cant see them)!!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
For a permanent solution, find the smell. Baptize it, confirm it, and you'll never see it again.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

*** IT'S THE DEVIL AND HE'S FARTING ***
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.