Odours related to drains, toilets, septic tanks, grease traps, greywater tanks, wastewater treatment systems

Shower, Laundry, Floor and Outside Drains

Is there a smell coming from the floor drain? In bathrooms or laundries not used very often it is not unusual for the U bend in the floor or shower drain to dry out a bit and therefore smells can come wafting back up from the tank or pipes. Or showers used frequently can end up with a buildup of hair, soap and skin debris and oils which some odour causing bacteria love to eat. Outside drains can also be a source of smells. See here for more information and fixes.

Kitchen Sink Drains and Grease Traps

Grease traps are supposed to collect all the fats and oils in the water from the kitchen sink, before it gets to the greywater pump well. Grease traps help treat the kitchen greywater, (septic tanks treat the toilet (black) water). All other water from the laundry, bath, shower (and kitchen) goes to the greywater pump well where it is either sprayed out or distributed underground to trenches in much the same way as septic water is normal distributed to trenches. See here for more information and fixes.


Sources of some pretty foul odours, it must be said. First, for immediate relief from 'user produced' smells, use Smellgone Rapid. Smellgone products are not just 'deodorizers' that spray a perfume over the top of the bad smell. Smellgone products actually 'eat up' the bad smells so they have a lasting effect after the initial control of the odour has been achieved. See here for more information and fixes.

Septic Tanks

As mentioned in 'Toilets', septic tanks rely on bacteria to break down the wastes, read more...

Greywater Tanks

Greywater tanks can be very smelly. Grey water is not supposed to be stored for more than 24 hours, otherwise the bacteria present in the water feed on the nutrients (from the soaps, detergents and kitchen wastes) and really can make very bad smells in a relatively short time.

It is best to leave your greywater pump switched on all the time so that the tanks is emptied as needed via the submersible pump at the bottom of the tank.

If your grey water tank is very smelly then getting it completely pumped out by the same pump out company that does your grease trap, is a very good idea. Using Smellgone Odour Control Spray in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry will inoculate the drain lines and the tank itself to help prevent offensive smells.

For persistent problems, use CT Caravan Treat.

Wastewater Holding Tanks in Caravans, Motorhomes, Mobile Kitchens, Boats

CT Caravan Treat provides odour control for toilet and greywater holding tanks in caravans, motorhomes, mobile kitchens, boats, see here.

Domestic Wastewater Treatment Systems

Domestic systems generally treat all the black (toilet) and grey water used in the household. On average this is something like 180-200 litres per person per day. A Secondary wastewater treatment system, as they are called, (a septic system is only considered Primary treatment) can produce water suitable for watering your lawn and ornamental gardens but not safe enough for your vegetable garden or to use where you might come in contact with the water such as washing your car.

Together the mechanical and biological treatment processes reduce the toxicity of some of the nutrients in the water, reduce the overall bacterial numbers and significantly reduce the number of pathogens or disease causing organisms. They don't get rid of all the pathogens however which is why you can't use the water on your vegetable garden or come into direct contact with it.

So to go back to the first point made in this section, it is very important that your wastewater treatment system is operating mechanically as well as its design and condition allow. Next is to consider what is coming down the drain and what 'help' can be given to the 'good' bacteria that actually do most of the treatment work.

This where Smellgone products come in, not only will they control odours but by doing so they add beneficial bacteria to your treatment system that helps the treatment bacteria do a better job overall.

Mechanical problems, blockages or use of unsuitable products

No amount of good bacteria is going to compensate for a broken aerator (no oxygen for the bacteria) or for bleaches, disinfectsants and other anti-bacterial cleaners that may come down the drain. Pro-biotic cleaners and odour control products from the Smellgone range will support a good treatment process in the tank and assist it to remain odour free. It is better and easier to maintain a healthy odour free environment than try and recover from a smell problem or catastrophe!

Where a treatment system does require a complete pumpout then Smellgone can provide a Tank Starter Treatment to get your wastewater system off to a good start, please contact us for more details.

For additional advice and information on wastewater treatment see our site at Catalyst Environment.

These cause some of the most common household (and commercial) odour problems.

First step is to make sure that the system, tank or drain is operating mechanically as well as possible and that there are no physical blockages, broken equipment or structures.

Secondly, whatever is going down the drain is usually a big part of the problem too, so in terms of what type of products to use or not use please have a look at this information from our sister company Catalyst Environment. Each document will open in a new window and you can download and save a copy if you wish.

- When these problems have been corrected then treatment additives will have the most beneficial effects.

Commercial Wastewater Treatment Systems

Commercial wastewater treatment systems can take many forms depending on the type of effluent being treated. We have successfully dealt with serious odour problems at commercial installations using Smellgone products.

For commercial consultancy services please contact our sister company Catalyst Environment

Telephone 07 5428 7499 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mobile (Robert) 0407 151 447)