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Plumbing in the Home/Sump Pump odor - possible sewer line break



We bought our home two years ago and put in a new sump pump with a water back up about six months ago.  Every once in a while we'd get a strong odor in the basement, coming from the sump pump.  Putting more water in it to make it cycle thru would make the smell go away.  During the last week the smell has gotten really strong.  Putting fresh water in it and scrubbing the sides of the pit makes it better for a little while, then the odor comes back again.  We did check to make sure the odor is coming from the water - we scooped up a glass of it and it smells terrible.  We do not have any backups in the house.  The toilet on the main floor next to the laundry room gurgles when the washer is on the rinse cycle.  We put food coloring in both the upstairs and downstairs toilets and the food coloring came out in the sump pit.  We suspect a break in the sewer line.  Could it be something else?  if it is a break or leak what should we expect to pay in the metro Detroit area?  We have someone coming out to do an estimate tomorrow and have no idea what a good price would be.  

Thank you,


Hello Sue,
It certainly sounds like a sewer leak is contaminating the sump. The best way to find the problem will be to have someone put a sewer camera down the lines to locate the break. This typically costs $200 to $300 usually but actually can save money in the long run due to pinpointing the problem and avoiding random guessing and digging and possibly breaking concrete slab in the wrong place.
Good Luck,

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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