I love asking nitty gritty questions about jobs that have ‘out there’ roles. Every person that I ask about their job involving something embarrassing or gross say ‘it’s part of the job and after a while you don’t think much about it when you do it.’
I wish I could say this about the smells I come into contact with but unfortunately I can’t. Bad smells that are associated with plumbing can never be gotten used to unless you are unable to taste or smell of which I have heard of such a person – and he chose to be a painter.
Everyone’s poo smells different and the longer it festers, the worse the smell gets. Cutting into a main sewer line can release the reek of a week’s worth of a family’s number twos and then there are times when I have disconnected a sink and the smell from the waste can fill a whole room. Gross.
The worst smells I have come into contact aren’t with the poo and wee kind, although, their odour can make your nose hairs curl. The worst smell is trade waste from grease traps and grey water pump wastes. Trade waste is the oils and fats and quite often food scraps that restaurants and take-away shops wash down their sink. The sink waste in every restaurant and take-away shop is connected into a trade waste line (the pipes are black plastic) which connect into a grease trap. The grease trap separates the fats from the water so the water can be released through to the main sewer line and the fats can be pumped out. Lifting the lid on a grease trap is like opening an atomic fart bomb. It’s worse than poo and wee mixed together. Much worse than dead egg.
If your hands get in touch with the trade waste, the smell will seep into your skin. The only way to get rid of the smell is to bathe your hands in tomato juice. Not sure why it works, but it does and when you smell worse than fart, who cares what works as long as it gets rid of the smell!
Grey water pumps used in kitchens under sinks are also known to harbour a stench that can make an area unworkable to work in. I remember disconnecting a grey water pump from a sink in a building in the city and the smell went through the air conditioning vents through out the entire floor. The poor demolishers who had to work through the night to demolish the floor had to wear masks so they could get their work done!
Grey water pumps that are designed for use under one fixture (1 sink, 1 basin etc) are now illegal to install in Brisbane by the Brisbane City Council unless there are extreme conditions for use of one. They are more trouble than what they’re worth and I have never dealt with a pump company that has produced a grey water pump that doesn’t fail within 12 months. It’s a good call by the Brisbane City Council because the aftermath of dealing with a client with a failed pump is stressful and the smell from disconnecting a failed one will stay in your memory forever. It would have to be the worst smell ever.