Proud Supporter of Folds of Honor. A portion of every service call goes towards Folds of Honor.

Why is there an ugly and smelly wet area in my lawn? (ILD)

Apr 23, 2024

That ugly area isn’t there all the time. For example, if there hasn’t been any rain for a few days, it goes away completely. But if the weather has been especially wet — or if you’ve had extra guests in your home — it returns quickly. It’s a part of your yard that just isn’t as nice as the rest. It stays kind of soggy, and no matter how many times you cover it with grass seed, it never blends in with the rest of the lawn. In some cases, ugly liquids might ooze out of it. And those liquids just plain stink. You start to wonder: is my house haunted?

It’s probably a sewer leak

It’s not a haunting. Most likely, there’s a leak somewhere in your home’s sewer lines or in your septic fields. The waste you flushed into those sewer lines or septic tank is pouring out into the surrounding ground. When underground water increases during wet weather, that waste — or less politely, raw sewage — floats up to the top.  In other words, that dark color that shows up the corner of your yard may just be raw sewage. Of course it’s gross, but what’s really concerning is that it can be dangerous to your family’s health.

Harmful pathogens 

In addition to carrying what you flush down the toilet and send down the drain, sewer lines carry something far more unnerving: harmful pathogens, bacteria, and contaminants. As long as all that stays in the sewer lines, there’s no problem. But if there’s a break in the line, those contents begin to flow into the surrounding soil, carrying fecal matter, bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, viruses, parasites, and toxic chemicals like heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. Do you want the grandkids playing on grass that contains all that? Would you eat vegetables raised in that soil?

Damage to your yard

As sewage escapes from cracked or damaged pipes, it can saturate the soil, causing unsightly pooling, puddling, and waterlogged areas in your yard. But it’s not just a matter of looking unpleasant. All that excess moisture can drown grass, plants, and trees, leading to wilting, discoloration, and eventual vegetation death. Nutrients and organic matter in sewage often promote the growth of algae, mold, and fungi, negatively affecting your yard’s beauty and potentially creating problems for people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues.

Damage to your home

Sewer leaks can even cause structural damage to your home, compromising its foundation, walls, floors, and other critical components. Sewer leaks increase the amount of moisture in the soil, which puts what’s known as hydrostatic pressure on the foundation walls. Over time, that can result in cracks and bowing, or even a complete collapse. Prolonged exposure to moisture and sewage can weaken or rot building materials like wood framing, insulation, and drywall.

That stinks!

Let’s be honest: sewage stinks! In fact, it’s one of the worst smells we know. While the sewage is safely inside your sewer lines, you usually can’t smell it. But when a leak makes the sewage seep into your lawn, your nose is likely to notice. If the leak is inside or close to your home, you’re really likely to notice. Sewer gases are more than gross: they can be downright unhealthy, leading to respiratory irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other health problems. (The smell we call “sewer gas” can also be a symptom of more urgent home issues, so be sure to contact an expert right away.)

Rodents and other pests

All the things we find disgusting about sewer leaks are irresistible to insects, rodents, and those other vermin you don’t want in or around your home. The abundance of moisture, organic matter, and food sources in sewage give rodents and other pests what they need to thrive, so they can transmit diseases, contaminate food, damage property, and pose risks to your family’s health.

Turn to the sewer leak experts

If you think you have a sewer leak, don’t mess around. If there is a leak, it’s only likely to become worse, with more odors and liquids. You need to reach out to professionals who know how to pinpoint, diagnose, and repair even the most serious sewer leaks. That’s the team at Indiana Leak Detection. Their professionals have both the technology and the know-how to help them get to the bottom of your sewer problem quickly and effectively, so you can go back to enjoying your yard!

We Proudly Serve Central Indiana, including…
New Whiteland


Center Grove