Sewer Odor Coming from Sink?

I own a small restaurant. I have a terrible sewer smell coming from my sinks, when I pour large amounts of water down the drain or use the dishwasher. If I turn on the air conditioner its worse.


I have replaced all the kitchen pipes, put in new pee traps, and had all the toilet seals cleaned, and the vent stack. I put in a grease trap, had the sewer lines cleaned out twice, had the lines with a camera to check for cracks, had a smoke test done to check for leaks, and raised the roof vent.

It still smells mainly on hot days. Can anyone offer any help? I also had a plumber check and he found nothing.

By Carol Frejek

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October 20, 20091 found this helpful
Best Answer

My parents had the same exact problem. We went and got a couple gallons of vinegar and used it on EVERY pipe in the house, even the toilet, at the same time. We did that for two days and the smell went away.


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October 21, 20090 found this helpful
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If you have already done all those things, I'd try the vinegar thing, and at the same time as she suggests. It might be a vapor lock of sorts and if you don't do it all at once, whatever 'bad air' there is might just move through to another pipe.


I worked for a family restaurant with similar problems but they did the stuff you did and it would cure it until the next time. The grease down the pipes thing [lazy young cooks] was a contributing factor.


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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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When we moved into our house, I thought I had a problem with the drain pipes. I tried everything to get out the smell. It wasn't a sewer smell but it wasn't pleasant. Turns out it was the water. This area puts a lot of chlorine plus other additives to their water system.

We weren't used to having that kind of water, we have always had well water. Needless to say, we don't drink the water because it also tastes bad. I was told that depending on weather conditions, additives have to be increased/decreased due to how the city final water tests read. Contact your water company if you use one, maybe something was added to the water. Good luck.

October 23, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

We used to pour bleach in the drains at the end of the night then cover them with saran wrap and tape around the edges. Smell was harsh but it worked!

September 18, 20210 found this helpful

Ah, we tried bleach in our shower drain for a while, and the bleach ate through the pipes and down through the ceiling below. What a mess.


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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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We get that odour in our house. It's from our water. The city says it's caused by the chemicals they put in the water to get rid of "algae bloom" in the lake our water comes from. They were no help in telling me how to get rid of the odour.


Good luck. I'd try the vinegar. It's an edible product, unlike bleach, and since you have a restaurant, I'd stick with the edible solution.

October 23, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

It's also possible that you have a break in one of the air vent lines. I moved into an old house and had the same problem, I finally traced the air vent pipe and found a hole in it that was letting the gases escape into the house and not outside above the roof line.

We replaced that part of the pipe and the smell slowly went away---the drywall was saturated with the odor since it was allowed to continue for so long. Don't know how you'd check for this in a large commercial building but it's worth a try since you have already done so much work.


I would also add a scented dryer sheet in the a/c filter to help drown out the smell til you get it figured out. Have you talked to any of the other business owners near you to see if they have the same problem? That would let you know that it's a water problem rather than a prob with just your building.

October 23, 20090 found this helpful

I would try the idea someone sent for keeping drains unblocked, pour in bicarbonate of soda [ baking soda] until it fills the whole drain then pour in lots of white vinigar & leave overnight, it sure keeps the drains clean so maybe "clean drains - no smell" worth a try anyway. it's bicarb of soda they tell us to use in fridge etc to keep it fresh, so maybe it will work for you, all the best to you.

August 7, 20130 found this helpful

How are you? I see you had a post a few years ago. How did you end up taking care of the sewer smell? I am having the same problem when I run the kitchen sinks. I just opened pizza shop today and everyone is noticing the horrible smell. Your help would be greatly appreciated.


I just opened a small pizza place. I have the same issue! All plumbing is new. when I run the kitchen sinks.....the nasty sewer smell comes up. I have a 2inch roof vent tied to both the 3 comp sink and the prep sink. The p traps are both always filled with water. Need help please!

I dont think anything could have gotten clogged up yet. I opened for business today :(


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