Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Building Occupant Exposures to Sewer Gas and Other Unpleasant Odors

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The indoor air quality (IAQ) and industrial hygiene professionals at Clark Seif Clark provide testing and consulting services to identify and resolve exposure issues to sewer gas and other indoor pollutants.

Chatsworth, CA, September 9th, 2019 -- The presence of sewer gas in a home, school or commercial building can have a number of negative effects on building occupants. Aside from the obvious unpleasant nature of smelling an offensive odor, exposure can also decreased property values and result in lost revenues, impact productivity and increase absenteeism, cause metal corrosion, and result in health concerns and complaints.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services states that sewer gas is a complex mixture of toxic and nontoxic gases that can be present at varying levels depending upon the source. It is formed during the decay of household and industrial waste. Highly toxic components of sewer gas include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Sewer gas also contains methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides.

 

“Sewer gas is regularly mistaken for the mercaptan additive to natural gas that causes a rotten egg smell,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) for Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “This leads to false reports of natural gas leaks, costly building evacuations and wild goose chases for gas companies and local fire departments. Building occupant complaints about health issues is another major issue when sewer gas is present. Exposure can irritate mucosal membranes in the eyes, nose and throat. These irritations can even occur at concentrations undetectable to people’s sense of smell.”

 

While the presence of sewer gas infiltration can be obvious at times, the source of the problem is often elusive. Diagnosis by building science experts is frequently the best solution to identify the causes and to develop solutions. At CSC, their building science and IEQ professionals are regularly called upon to identify and resolve complaints involving sewer gas and other mystery odors. Their experts have decades of experience with building systems and air testing services to quickly identify causes and develop reliable solutions. CSC has also recently sponsored an educational video about sewer gas that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/GT0mDIvlzlU

 

To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, building science, industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.csceng.com, email csc@csceng.com or call (800) 807-1118. 

 

About Clark Seif Clark

CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues.  CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.