I had sewage backup in the basement that eventually all drained down into a square cutout surrounding my house traps, soaking into the soil surrounding my house trap pipes in the basement. Now the soil in that house trap access is pretty smelly. Is there anything to treat that area to sanitize and remove the odor?

Can I use garden lime, and if I do will it hurt or corrode the existing metal sewer pipes/line?

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2 Answers 2


Bury the stink.

Alkalinity will be ok. Pipes are in cement all the time and it has lime.

Here is another idea where you do not use chemicals: bury it.

  1. Dig out soil as far as you can reach. You can use a spoon or whatever you can get down in there. Or you could loosen up the dirt with a stick or retired screwdriver and then suck it out with a shopvac. Repeat.

  2. Put sand in the hole, or clay or whatever you have handy or can find outside.

Stinkiest stuff in this hole is the stuff on top. That will be gone. Anything left with sewage in it will be under a layer of good sand / dirt / clay and it can stink all it wants under there.

If you cannot get down in there to dig you could fill the hole with water then bail it out into a bucket or siphon it out, over and over until the contaminated top stuff was debulked / washed away and you had room to put in the new clean sand or dirt.

No need for chemicals that might complicate things later. Burying has a long and excellent track record with stinky stuff.

  • 1
    I might add to this answer - cap the cleaned area with about a 0.5 inch thick layer of mortar. It will be thin enough to easily break up if it's needed to go deeper for some future maintenance. No smell is going to get through the mortar. If the hole is being used as a pseudo-drain - well, another project might need to address that...
    – coderjohn
    Sep 8, 2021 at 1:27

Lime ,calcium oxide ( CaO), won't bother PVC and probably no effect on cast iron either. The lime will raise the pH a little like from 7 to 8 temporarily.

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