Hunter Water Hunter Water

I can smell sewer odour

Odour can come from many different sources inside and outside your home or workplace.

Follow these simple steps to help find the source and quickly solve the problem.

  1. Check inside your home

    Is your bathroom or kitchen sink partially blocked? Hair, food scraps and other material can build up in the S-bend of the kitchen or bathroom drain. If the smell is coming from inside the house, you may have a blocked toilet or sewer. To stop this from happening again in the future, learn how to stop problems occurring.

    Sewer odour can also occur because the S-bend has dried out, causing the water seal to become broken. Breaking the water seal allows odours from the sewer main to enter the home via the toilet, floor sinks and drains.

    We are not responsible for fixing your toilet or household plumbing, so you may need to contact a licensed plumber to investigate.

  2. Check outside

    Here are common causes of odours outside or nearby your property:

    Mulch, fertilisers and decomposing plant or animal matter.

    If you live near creeks, dams or rivers, long periods of dry weather can also cause certain bodies of water to stagnate and give off an unpleasant smell. If you live near the beach, coral spawn and seaweed deposits can also cause odour.

    Long periods of rain can also cause a temporary sewer smell to come up through floor drains.

    Check if there is a native shrub Phyllanthus cuscutiflorus in your area. This tree is known to emit a strong, unpleasant smell when flowering.

    Long periods of rain can also cause a temporary sewer smell to come up through floor drains.

    Hydrogen sulphide (the bad odour) may come from nearby infrastructure like pump stations and wastewater treatment works.

    We strive to minimise odour as much as possible, but by their nature, sewer pipes will occasionally give off a smell as they transport sewage to the wastewater treatment works.

  3. If the issue persists, contact us.

    If you've ruled out all the possible sources of odour we've listed above, and you have a persistent odour coming from outside you property that won't go away, please contact us.

    If possible, please take note of the following information before you report the issue:

    Do you know which direction the odour is coming from?
    What time of day did you first notice the smell?
    Does the odour occur regularly? If so, what is the frequency?
    Do you know if your neighbours have noticed the odour as well?
    Is the odour coming from inside or outside the house?
    Do you have a manhole on your property or close nearby?