Do mound septic systems smell?

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If you’re considering a mound septic system for your property, one of your biggest concerns is probably whether or not it will emit any unpleasant odors. After all, no one wants to deal with the stench of sewage wafting through their yard. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of mound septic systems, including whether or not they smell, and what you can do to minimize any potential odors.

What Is a Mound Septic System?

Before we dive into the smell factor, let’s first define what a mound septic system is. In simple terms, it’s a type of wastewater treatment system that is designed for properties with poor soil quality or a high water table. Rather than a traditional septic tank and leach field, a mound septic system uses a raised bed of sand and gravel to filter and treat effluent before it’s released into the environment.

Here are some pros and cons of a mound septic system:


  1. Ideal for properties with poor soil quality or high water tables.
  2. Can be installed in areas where conventional septic systems are not feasible.
  3. Provides effective treatment of wastewater, reducing the risk of contamination.
  4. Can be designed to handle a larger volume of wastewater, making it suitable for larger households or businesses.
  5. The mound can be landscaped with plants and vegetation, adding a visually appealing feature to your yard.


  1. Mound septic systems can be more expensive to install than conventional septic systems.
  2. If not properly designed, installed, and maintained, mound septic systems can produce odors and other issues.

Do Mound Septic Systems Smell?

Now, onto the million-dollar question: do mound septic systems smell? The short answer is yes, they can. Any septic system has the potential to emit unpleasant odors, especially if it’s not properly maintained or if there are issues with the system itself. However, mound septic systems are generally less likely to produce strong odors than traditional septic systems. One reason for this is that the sand and gravel bed in a mound septic system acts as a natural filter, helping to remove odors and contaminants from the wastewater.

How Can You Minimize Odors from a Mound Septic System?

While mound septic systems are generally less smelly than traditional septic systems, there are still steps you can take to minimize any potential odors. Here are a few tips:

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1. Have Your System Inspected Regularly

Regular inspections and maintenance can help ensure that your mound septic system is operating as it should be. A professional inspector can identify any potential issues before they become major problems. This can help prevent odors from developing in the first place.

2. Watch What You Flush

Certain items can cause odors to develop in your septic system, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re flushing down the drain. Avoid flushing anything that is not biodegradable or that could clog the system such as paper towels, feminine hygiene products, flushable wipes or cooking grease.

3. Use Septic-Safe Products

Some household cleaners and personal care products contain harsh chemicals that can disrupt the delicate balance of your septic system. Choose products that are labeled as septic-safe to help keep your system functioning properly.

4. Check Your Septic Air Vents

Make sure that your septic air vents are functioning properly and are not blocked by debris.

5. Use Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural odor absorber. It can be used to help reduce any unpleasant smells coming from your septic system. You can purchase activated charcoal filters or bags to place in your septic air ventilation pipe.

6. Use Septic Treatment Products

Do mound septic systems smell?

Septic treatment products, such as SeptiFix, can help break down organic matter and reduce the amount of sludge in your septic tank. This can help prevent odors from developing and keep your system functioning properly.


7. Regular Pumping

Regular pumping of your septic tank is essential to prevent the buildup of solids that can lead to odors. Depending on the size of your tank and the number of people in your household, you may need to have your tank pumped every 3-5 years. Be sure to schedule regular pumping appointments with a professional septic service to keep your system in good working order.

Do mound septic systems smell: FAQs

Mound septic systems are designed to treat and dispose of wastewater from a home or building in an environmentally safe and effective way. One common concern people have about mound septic systems is whether or not they produce unpleasant odors. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mound septic systems and their potential for emitting odors:

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Baking soda septic tank odor

Baking soda is a safe and effective household remedy for controlling septic tank smells. When used correctly, baking soda can help neutralize unpleasant odors by balancing the pH levels in the tank. It can also help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the tank that help break down waste and reduce odors.

Why does my septic tank smell at night

If you are experiencing unpleasant odors from your septic tank at night, there are several reasons why this could be happening.

Firstly, at night there may be less distraction and activity in your household. This can make any smells from the septic tank more noticeable.

Additionally, lower temperatures at night can contribute to odors from your septic tank. This is because the bacteria that break down the waste in the tank may slow down or become less active in colder temperatures. This in-turn leads to a buildup of gases and odors.

Other factors that can contribute to septic tank odors include a lack of maintenance, a full or overflowing tank, a clogged drain field, or damage to the tank or pipes.

How Do You Landscape A Septic Mound?

Landscaping a septic mound can be challenging, but it’s important to choose appropriate plants that won’t damage the system. Avoid trees and shrubs with deep roots and instead opt for shallow-rooted plants, like grasses and wildflowers. Use a layer of topsoil to cover the mound and add decorative elements for a visually appealing feature. Adding plants and vegetation to the mound can help absorb moisture and reduce erosion, while also providing a visually appealing feature in your yard.

Do mound septic systems smell: Health Risks

Exposure to septic gases can pose health risks to humans. These gases, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, are produced as a byproduct of the decomposition of waste in septic systems. Inhalation of these gases can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and respiratory issues. Prolonged exposure to high levels of these gases can even be fatal. It’s important to ensure that your septic system is properly designed, installed, and maintained to minimize the risk of gas buildup and release. Regular inspection and maintenance of your septic system can help prevent gas-related health issues.

Do mound septic systems smell: Cost

Mound septic systems can be more expensive to install than conventional septic systems. The cost of installation will depend on various factors, including the size of the system, the complexity of the design, and the site conditions. Generally, mound septic systems require more excavation, more materials, and more labor than conventional systems.

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Additionally, regular maintenance is necessary to keep the system functioning properly, which can also add to the overall cost. However, the cost of a mound septic system may be offset by the benefits it provides, such as effective wastewater treatment and the ability to install a septic system in areas where conventional systems are not feasible.

Do mound septic systems smell: permits

Permits are typically required for the installation of a mound septic system. The exact permits required will depend on the location and local regulations governing septic systems. In some areas, a permit may be required from the local health department or environmental agency, while in other areas, a building permit may be necessary.

It’s important to research the local regulations governing septic systems and obtain any necessary permits before beginning installation. Failure to obtain the required permits can result in fines and legal consequences. Additionally, working with a licensed and experienced septic system installer can help ensure that all necessary permits are obtained and the system is installed in compliance with local regulations.

Can you get sick from septic tank fumes?

Exposure to hazardous septic tank fumes can pose health risks due to the gases produced during the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in the tank. Methane, hydrogen sulphide gas, and ammonia are among the potentially harmful byproducts. Methane, an odorless and flammable gas, can cause asphyxiation in confined spaces. Hydrogen sulphide gas, recognized by its rotten egg smell, is toxic and can lead to respiratory distress, dizziness, and even unconsciousness in high concentrations. Ammonia, with its pungent odor, irritates the respiratory system and can cause eye and throat irritation. It is crucial to avoid prolonged exposure to septic tank fumes, maintain proper ventilation, and consult professionals for regular maintenance and inspection to ensure a safe and healthy environment.

Do mound septic systems smell: Conclusion

Mound septic systems may produce odors if they are not properly installed or maintained. However, with regular maintenance and proper installation, the odors can be minimized or eliminated.