A quiet nightmare is taking place every day in our older condos that affect our health, specially here in South Florida where we have older condos. The nightmare is old sewer lines made of cast iron pipe that are degrading and at best creating hairline cracks which is permitting the infiltration of harmful gases and bacteria into our living areas. Sewer gas can make you sick, Exposure to these gases can cause headaches, dizziness, memory loss, poisoning, and asphyxiation. In large enough amounts, there is even risk of fire or explosion.it is important to take any odd smell coming from your sewer seriously, especially in condos where the sewer lines run vertically inside the walls, one of the gases released in sewer is hydrogen sulfide (H2S), it is slightly denser than air, and a mixture of H2S and air can be explosive. symptoms of exposure to sewer gas
There is a lot going on in sewers, including different types of bacteria which create different gases, including:
Ammonia: This compound is probably most familiar to you as a part of glass cleaner products. While it can be safe to clean with, exposure to it can be irritating, or even toxic or deadly. It is also dangerous to mix with bleach.
Methane: When produced in large quantities, methane can create a fire hazard in your home, as it is highly flammable.
Hydrogen sulfide: This gas is the most common sewer gases, and the cause of the rotten egg smell you might have in your home. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most harmful gases. In high amounts it is poisonous and effects multiple body systems,
Carbon dioxide: Usually, a sewer produces too little carbon dioxide to be dangerous. However, very high amounts of carbon dioxide can be a serious problem, causing a lack of oxygen in the blood, which could lead to serious health effects and, if untreated, death.
It is important to note that exposure to hydrogen sulfide can impede your ability to smell. So, just because you’ve stopped smelling that rotten egg smell, doesn’t mean that you’re no longer exposed to the gas. That’s why it is important to know the symptoms of exposure to sewer gas too.
Good news is that an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Inspection can reveal the problem and they can be remediated. Pipes should be repaired or replaced, and the area should be treated like a condition 3 contamination site. Personal Protective Equipment must be used, area must be thoroughly cleaned, and antimicrobial applied.
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