Thursday, July 7, 2011

Septic adventure

[Now aren't those words to strike fear into the heart of every homeowner? Don't worry - this story has a happy ending.]

Today was an exciting day at Mucky Boots. Today was the day we had our septic tank pumped. Are you excited? We were.

The excitement lasted about half an hour, once Robb from A-1 Septic Service (motto: "we leave you smelling like a rose") arrived, at which point he called me over with the words nobody wants to hear when their septic covers are off: "We have a problem."

Problem? What problem? We hadn't been experiencing any problems, at least in the septic department. But according to Robb our pump wasn't working, and as far as he could tell, it hadn't been working for quite some time.

If any of you out there are Septic Novices, this is how a septic system works. Water (and other stuff) from toilets, showers, washing machines and faucets leaves the house and is deposited into a tank. Liquid eventually makes its way into a pump chamber where the pump moves it out to the septic field to be absorbed by the earth. The solids stay behind in the tank, breaking down slowly and eventually moving along, but sooner or later the tank will fill up and need to be pumped.

So what happens when your pump doesn't work? The tank fills up. The pump chamber fills up. And then things start backing up into the house. But that never happened for us, so what the heck happened to all that liquid? According to Robb, it was probably leaching out into the surrounding ground. (Fortunately there aren't any neighbours or vegetables in the immediate vicinity...)

What to do? Clearly we needed a new pump. But who could do that for us on the spot? Super Plumber, of course (their motto: "to the rescue!"). Brody happened to be finishing up a job nearby, came right over and did a lot to calm down two slightly freaked out women. New pump: no problem. But maybe, he suggested, we should think about replacing the covers to the two tank chambers and the pump chamber. The existing wooden ones had absorbed an awful lot of - ahem - septic liquid, and in any case, like any wood underfoot they were a slippery hazard in the rainy winter.

So while Kim and I played lumberjack in the woods (we're in the middle of clearing out small trees and brush), Brody dug out the old covers and replaced them with brand-spanking new ones.

They're not as picturesque as the old ones, and the pump chamber needs a lid, but they're very practical. And best of all, under one of them is a shiny new (well, maybe not shiny anymore...) beautifully pumping pump.

And that was our septic adventure.


Paula said...

I gotta tell you, Septic Adventure is not nearly as scary as Septic Misadventure!

Our septic misadventure was when the old pipe running under the patio from the house to the septic tank finally collapsed (In the forties, waste pipe was also made from a material much like asphalt roofing), and 'stuff' started backing into the house, i.e., the tub (yuck!). I'd already replaced all the old waste pipe with PVC (or was it ABS?) but the pipe under the patio, being under the patio, was the last to go. It all ended well, though, and we sold the house before we had to pony up seven grand to the city to hook us up to the sewer system which they were requiring neighborhoods at different times to do.

I'm glad to hear that everything got fixed at Chez Mucky Boots before you had to rename your blog!

Flartus said...

Ugh, so glad you had a happy ending. "Septic liquid," indeed. That phrase may come in handy. :)

Wonky Girl said...

It is scarey when the septic is not "perking". Ours depends on gravity feed, no pump. So far so good and we do get it pumped out more often than specified. Better to pay for pumping out than cleaning up a back-up into house.

jeanives said...

Oh the joys of city living and paying mega taxes! It has been many a year since I've had a septic to think about.

Christian said...

Mmmm....septic liquid.

I'm glad to hear there wasn't a poo geyser or anything awful like that.

ruralaspirations said...

I'm glad it all worked out well. Good timing on getting the septic pumped! We had ours inspected when we moved here last year, so fingers crossed it will be a while before we have our own Septic Adventures!

Negerigeletschtempoit said...

A visit from the "Super Dupper Pooper Scooper", right? I am glad the problem was solved without any major disaster.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Glad to read it wasn't a disaster, where it backs up inside the house.
We had ours pumped out about four years ago, I need to find out how often you need to do this necessary deed.
Thank you for the tip how to stay cool, thank goodness we have central a/c but not outside :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...