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Old 08-11-2008, 04:46 PM
 
2 posts, read 28,407 times
Reputation: 10

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I've recently moved to Alpharetta from Long Island, and I abolsutely love it. My home/community is great. Thing is, I've recently noticed a smell in different sections of the backyard (small areas). It's not confined to any particular section, and it seems to vary from day to day, and section to section. It's not even constant, in that it's not there every day. I can't put my finger on it, but at times it seems to smell like semi rotting or molding vegetation. My landscaper thought it had a cesspool smell, but I'm familiar with that and it doesn't seem to be that - but I could be wrong.

From what I can see, there might be 4 possible sources:
1) Grass?, with some type of mold, or fungus embedded. ( I have the short golf course type of grass). But the grass looks fine.

2) Ground Coverings (mulch, straw, etc)?, with dampness/wetness/rot producing the smell from underneath? It looks fine on the surface though.

3) Cesspool?, no smell near the covers/caps, but could there be some leeching into parts of the yard (I don't know enough about them).

4) Creek? I have a small one running through the backyard, with not much in running water, in fact its more stagnant, with green moldy buildup in several sections. But no smell comes from this area.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!
David
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:11 PM
 
Location: North Atlanta
308 posts, read 965,549 times
Reputation: 69
If it smell like cesspool then that's probably what it is. I can't imagine yard mold/mildew being an issue in GA...could be related to pets doing their business out there as well. Any animals roaming the backyard? That might explain why it is popping up in multiple areas.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:13 PM
 
1,517 posts, read 6,379,449 times
Reputation: 521
Are you in an area with public sewage or septic systems? If the latter (or if it was formerly a property with a septic system) you may have an old tank underground.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:22 PM
 
2 posts, read 28,407 times
Reputation: 10
Well, I've only been there 6 weeks, and the previous owner did have 2 dogs who I believe only used the backyard to take care of business. Hmmm, there's certainly no visible poop at this point, but you may be on to something - this could be a factor.

I live in a location where all the residents have cesspools, but haven't heard anything from others yet. I'm located right off a golf course, but I don't believe this is part of the problem.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:24 PM
 
15 posts, read 69,468 times
Reputation: 12
Prob the dogs. Go to petsmart or something similar and see if they have something for those types of pet odors. I bet that might knock it out.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:19 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,191 posts, read 31,806,015 times
Reputation: 5220
For the record, down here they call them septic tanks and not cesspools, but it does sound like you MIGHT have a leak somewhere (or one of your neighbors) where it's pooling up in a pocket or two near the surface. It won't always show up as a leak on top of the ground. You may wish to contact a septic company.

Now, if the previous owner had numerous dogs, he MIGHT have dug, well, "poop holes" in the yard which are now covered up. In other words, 3ft deep holes where you dump the doo when you scoop it from the yard. So you might want to watch where you're walking because even if they're covered up with dirt, they might be "soft" and you might sink into them if they're not that old. However, while some odor might come from one if it hasn't sat for a while, they typically break down a good bit after some rains, and with enough dirt on top shouldn't be smelling the yard up that much.

So my vote goes for the septic problem.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
1,123 posts, read 6,169,105 times
Reputation: 561
If I were you and you didn't have this done prior to moving in, you should get your septic tank/cesspool pumped and inspected. What can happen is not necessarily an issue with the tank, but the leach field which is where the tank drains to, and where the water is filtered by the ground. Possible that the field is clogged or the tank was overly full, so wastes are getting to the field and bad water is coming up to the ground level. We had this problem at my parents house growing up, b/c the field was too small to accomodate a house full of 6 people....we noticed the smell and also, whenever we would wash clothes, you would have soapy water bubbling in the backyard in spots!

Hopefully you just need to get the tank pumped, b/c otherwise you may have to replace the leach field, which can be kind of expensive.
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:14 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,386,566 times
Reputation: 918
I have two large dogs who use the backyard for business, and I do pick up after them but even when I'm slow in getting to it, there's not an odor problem. In this climate, dog waste breaks down very quickly. I totally agree with atlantagreg - maybe there's a slim possibility that the previous owner dug poop pits, but the odds are, you have a problem with your septic system.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Monroe,Ga.
183 posts, read 957,084 times
Reputation: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
I have two large dogs who use the backyard for business, and I do pick up after them but even when I'm slow in getting to it, there's not an odor problem. In this climate, dog waste breaks down very quickly. I totally agree with atlantagreg - maybe there's a slim possibility that the previous owner dug poop pits, but the odds are, you have a problem with your septic system.
I agree with all that think it is the leach field for the septic. I have 6 dogs and I pick up after them consistently. We don't have any odor in our yard. Cesspools are entirely different than a septic tank and field. I would have the tank pumped and see if that is your solution. Remember to put Ridx in your toilet once a month, too! Hope this helps!
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:17 AM
 
1,120 posts, read 2,412,222 times
Reputation: 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidgerard View Post
I've recently moved to Alpharetta from Long Island, and I abolsutely love it. My home/community is great. Thing is, I've recently noticed a smell in different sections of the backyard (small areas). It's not confined to any particular section, and it seems to vary from day to day, and section to section. It's not even constant, in that it's not there every day. I can't put my finger on it, but at times it seems to smell like semi rotting or molding vegetation. My landscaper thought it had a cesspool smell, but I'm familiar with that and it doesn't seem to be that - but I could be wrong.

From what I can see, there might be 4 possible sources:
1) Grass?, with some type of mold, or fungus embedded. ( I have the short golf course type of grass). But the grass looks fine.

2) Ground Coverings (mulch, straw, etc)?, with dampness/wetness/rot producing the smell from underneath? It looks fine on the surface though.

3) Cesspool?, no smell near the covers/caps, but could there be some leeching into parts of the yard (I don't know enough about them).

4) Creek? I have a small one running through the backyard, with not much in running water, in fact its more stagnant, with green moldy buildup in several sections. But no smell comes from this area.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!
David



One key element in the equation is probably knowing the status of the land before the subdivision was built.

Another key element could be knowing how well the developer cleared your parcel of land.

A number of years ago, one of the local television stations profiled a homeowner with a sinking house. Most local television stations have investigative segments.

Close-up pictures were shown of the crumbling foundation. One part of the house had actually shifted a bit.

The television investigative team went to work and what they discovered was a little surprising. This particular developer didn't clear the land at all. All kinds of debris, old tires, etc., had not been removed from the site. The house was built on this very unstable land, so it was just a matter of time before problems would surface.

Your Alpharetta home hasn't shifted, knock on wood, but knowing what was there before your house was built is important; especially since a smell like this is unusual. Maybe there's tires underneath the grass. Who knows? A number of objects could be underneath the grass--things that shouldn't be there. Anything is possible.
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