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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
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SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
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SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
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SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
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SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
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SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
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SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
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WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article explains Methane Gas & Septic System Dangers from Gases, gives basic advice, and cites additional reference material. This article is part of our Septic Safety article series that outlines safety warnings & procedures for septic systems and cesspools, and provides some safety suggestions for septic system inspectors, septic system inspections, septic pumping contractors, and home owners.
Septic tanks, cesspools, and drywells present serious hazards including septic cave-in's or collapses, methane gas explosion hazards, and asphyxiation hazards. Simple precautions which we describe here can help avoid a dangerous or expensive septic problem.
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Methane Gas Hazards around Septic Systems, Methane Gas Toxicity vs. Methane Explosion & Asphyxiation Risks, & How to Measure Methane Gas Levels
We commented at Septic System Safety that methane gas which maybe encountered in septic system is both explosive and an asphyxiant.
A thoughtful reader, George Fielder, previously a salesperson for GfG Instrumentation, pointed out that these are the hazards. (We had inaccurately stated that methane gas was "toxic".)
[Click to enlarge any image]
Our photo (left) illustrates a previously hidden source of sewer gas odors in this home: an open waste line cleanout that had been hidden under a pile of rubble.
Measurement Instruments for Levels of Methane Gas
Mr. Fielder added that
Consult Your Local Safety Equipment Distributor
Readers who have the need to measure methane gas levels or who have questions about the hazards of entering confined spaces such as septic tanks should contact their local safety equipment distributor for further advice. In addition, local fire & emergency service officials as well as gas distribution companies as well as some home inspectors or environmental testing firms may have expertise and gas testing or measurement equipment on hand.
For more detailed information on methane gas exposure levels and testing see Toxic Gas Testing - Methane Gas Hazards
More information about methane gas hazards, toxicity, or other environmental hazards is available from public and professional agencies and associations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) www.aiha.org, OSHA www.osha.gov, and the Mine Safety & Health Administration www.msha.gov. Also see Industrial Hygiene News.
Stay out of Septic Tanks and Link to Septic & Cesspool Safety Article
However, we emphasize that in ordinary procedures used in the care, repair, or maintenance of septic systems, the safety warnings we've listed above should be followed with care, and in general, quantitative measurements of the level of methane or other gases are not needed during a septic system repair.
Anyone working on or around or owning a septic tank should be sure to see SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY.
Beware of Explosion or Asphyxiation Hazards of Sewer Gas or Fuel Gas Accumulation in buildings
As we report at SEWER GAS ODORS, potentially explosive levels of gases can accumulate in a building from several sources including explosive levels of sewer gas, swamp gas, or fuel gas from a variety of possible sources including plumbing leaks, improper plumbing venting, LP or natural gas piping leaks or errors, or even swamp gas accumulation under a building.
At OUTHOUSE / LATRINE FIRE & EXPLOSION we describe a methane gas explosion in an outhouse - admittedly an unusual event.
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