Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Sewer Gases can cause Unpleasant Odors and Create Safety Concerns


Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC) provide inspection and odor consulting services to identify and resolve complex odor problems.

Lewes, DE, July 5th, 2011 -- Most people have at one time or another entered a building and been overwhelmed by a strong odor.  Odors can come from many sources, but one of the most frequent is due to sewer gases infiltrating a building’s occupied space.


Sewer gases are a complex combination of toxic and non-toxic gases.  They can be present at varying levels in an indoor environment depending upon the source and environmental conditions.  The gases are formed during the decay of both household and industrial waste.


Depending on the gas levels, the presence of sewer gas can be more than just an unpleasant.  Exposure to high levels of various gas components can lead to health concerns and even the risk of an explosion.


Highly toxic components of sewer gases typically include both hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. The hydrogen sulfide gives the gases the recognizable rotten egg smell.  The ammonia can cause all types of irritations to the eyes, nose and throat.


Sewer gases also contain methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. In addition such industrial and household chemicals, including chlorine bleaches, industrial solvents and even gasoline may be present in municipal and privately owned-sewage treatment systems.


“Sewer gases can enter a home or business through floor drains, from a leaking or blocked plumbing roof vents, through cracks in the foundation and due to malfunctioning plumbing traps,” stated Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of SEHC, a leading Mid-Atlantic environmental consulting firm.  “The three principal risks and effects of sewer gas exposure includes: hydrogen sulfide poisoning, asphyxiation and even potential explosions and fires.  If you ever suspect that high concentrations of sewer gases have accumulated in an enclosed space, evacuate the area immediately and contact the fire department.  Avoid creating any ignition sources such as a spark from an electrical appliance, match or cigarette lighter that could lead to an explosion,” she continued.


To learn more about Sussex Environmental Health Consultants’ odor and indoor air quality (IAQ) services please visit, email or call (302) 947-1810.


About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC

SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services.  The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services clients nationwide.  SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 corporations.

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