Monday, August 12, 2013

Septic BS

My septic woes haven't gone away, something is wrong down the underground. Above ground the problems have been feeling monumental to me as well. I couldn't find a contractor to take this job on, even with my septic backing into my bath tub.

I poked around with my pick axe and found nothing. One contractor said go to the county and find the plans which show where the septic tank is. That sounded odd to me so we struggled through the weekend with a toilet ready not to flush and a shower that we feared to use...I used our outdoor shower and my wife went to the gym...and we had a porta potty at the ready! What a life in Paradise! The county offices were incredibly helpful including one clerk (a government worker no less) got me in touch with a contractor who showed up as promised and stated to work.

They poked through the dirt and rocks and eventually found the downpour buried in 18 inches of dirt. Cheyenne kept an eye on them to make sure nothing went amiss.

They looked at each other and said this missing septic tank needed the big guns to force it to give up its location.

Please come back was all I said as they got in the truck and ...sure enough Howie was back, and armed for bear.

He didn't need county plans, he got dug in and sure enough the dig revealed the missing cement box.

It was like an archaeological search, we knew the septic tank was there, but it was missing and hadn't been seen for years. We never had a septic tank in our house in California and surely not on our boat when we lived on that so we had no idea that this box was supposed to be pumped out every now and again.

So we can say in the eight years we've lived here this thing has never been opened and I doubt the previous owner did anything. No one had bothered to mark its location for sure so I am pretty certain it's worked without help for at least a decade. That's a pretty well built septic system I guess. Tomorrow we remove the lid and see what's what.
My thanks to Howie of Big Pine who leapt to my rescue. He sweated hard too, and reminded me you can get help sometimes even here where sometimes nothing seems to work, far out on the edge of the Gulf Stream.

The irony is the county is getting ready to install a central sewer system soon. That will be good for the nearshore waters and the coral but this septic system has given sterling service while being totally ignored. I've learned a lot this weekend. Tomorrow I expect to learn quite a bit more about where it all goes when I flush. Oh well, knowledge has got to be a good thing even if it stinks.



bob skoot said...

Mr Conchscooter:

hope this gets resolved soon as having flushing toilets and a working shower is a basic necessity

thankfully you found someone to come and take care of it

Riding the Wet Coast

Conchscooter said...

No kidding. Civilization is a thin veneer.

Anonymous said...

Bleach is bad in septic systems - it kills the bacteria that digest all the nasties. You might also consider diverting your "grey" water elsewhere wherever possible. And there's some sort stuff that you can flush down the john once a month or so that helps maintain the correct balance in system. My husband and I learned all this the hard way. Good luck. V.