How Septic Fumes Affect Your Health

April 26, 2021 9:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Indoor plumbing has been one of the most important inventions of the last 150 years. It has provided a sanitary way for people to clean themselves and efficiently dispose of human waste. That’s assuming that everything within your septic system works.

Unfortunately, fumes from your septic system can become more than a malodorous annoyance. You may be wondering if septic fumes can make you sick. The answer is that septic system fumes can have negative effects on you and your family’s health. In small amounts, septic fumes aren’t dangerous, but repeated and prolonged exposure can be hazardous. Below we’ll cover the different septic gases and how they affect your health in Strafford County, NH.

Hydrogen sulfide

This is one of the more common gases (along with methane) that are present in septic tank fumes. You’ll notice its presence due to its trademark odor, which is similar to that of rotten eggs. If you’re exposed to low amounts of this gas, you may experience eye irritation, sore throat, shortness of breath and coughing. Prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide presents escalating symptoms like headache, dizziness and pulmonary edema. Much higher concentrations can lead to passing out or even death.


Methane itself doesn’t have an odor, but it will typically be present with other gases that do, like hydrogen sulfide or ammonia. Not only is methane potentially harmful to your health, but it’s also flammable, which means that accumulation inside your home could create an explosive fire hazard.

The danger of methane lies in how it displaces oxygen. Slowly, methane can get into the air, and displace the very oxygen which all human beings need to breathe. Symptoms of insufficient oxygen levels include nausea, headache, dizziness, pneumonitis and unconsciousness. If someone were to faint in an environment without enough oxygen, it’s possible they could die there if no one moved them to safety.


Ammonia is another gas often present in septic tank fumes that can make you sick, and it has a distinctive chemical odor that will burn your nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can serve as a warning sign that you need to leave the area in Strafford County, NH where you smelled the odor. At low concentrations, ammonia can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, while at higher levels it can lead to respiratory distress or failure, which can be fatal.

Call today for a free quote

The above gases present in septic system fumes and their associated health problems will hopefully never be an issue you or your family will have to face. The best way to avoid potential catastrophes like these are to have regular preventative maintenance performed on your septic system. Septic fumes can make you sick and potentially be hazardous to your health, but with assistance from B.H. Cameron Septic Services LLC in Strafford County, NH, we can ensure your septic system is in fine working order. We have the knowledge, experience, accreditations and skills to keep you and your family safe from noxious septic fumes—call us today for a free quote!

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