Friday, March 28, 2014
The Septic System
Whelp it looks like the rainy time has started finally. Had a large tornado cell zip over our heads yesterday evening and my gauge tells me we got somewhere between half an inch and an inch of rain. At one point even a bit of nickle sized hail to go with all that wind as well.
My drain pipe set up at the barn directed most of the runoff away from the trouble area but it still leaked around the connector. I stood down there in the rain and watched it a while and determined that it's because the light plastic is warped a bit out of round and it fits up into the connector rather than the reducer going into the pipe. This allows the water to run over and around the edges a bit. I have some idea on how to fix that issue but I will need another support hanger and I am not running into town just for that today. Maybe this weekend if I run in with the Mrs. I will get one.
Today was semi-annual septic tank clean out day. Oh joy. Not on the top of my favorite list to say the least.
By and large I can't complain, having a septic tank saves me money overall I imagine since I don't have a sewer bill but when the tank fills up the financial scales go almost back to even in one lump sum. I always know it's getting to be that time again when the pipes gurgle a bit so I start watching my clean outs for signs of water seepage. If it starts to happen when it's warmer it's easy to deal with but this year I first noticed it in January when everything was froze up. It finally warmed up enough for me to dig down to the cap but then when I called I got put on a waiting list and it has taken the guys almost three weeks to get here.
So this morning I was up at dawn getting everything cleared away and exposed for the pumper truck guy. YA that'll wake ya up in the morning let me tell ya.
Most of these guys never listen to a thing you tell em and I imagine for good reason as I am sure the home owners think they know and give worse directions than the pumper guys would do winging it. I just by pass all the questions and guessing and have the tank exposed for them as soon as they arrive so there aren't any issues or hidden charges. I have done this enough times over the years that I know right where the cap is and I just dig it out so all I have to do is flip it open for them.
It actually takes the guy more time to get the truck backed up as close as he can get without sinking into the yard than anything else and as usual he was completely surprised I had it ready to go. Within a few minutes we were all done and I was handing the guy three bills.
That's the part that hurts....
The question I usually end up asking myself though is just how I would handle this is a grid down situation. I am pretty good about keeping the entire system running and I know most of our problem comes down to the shower and laundry water going into the tank although the drain field does get most of that out of the picture. In a grid down situation we would be doing laundry by hand more than likely and not running the detergent into the tank which kills the bacteria that reduces the waste and therefore makes it fill up faster.
Even if there was nothing going into the system besides solid waste it's still going to eventually fill up. Of course how long that would take is something I can only guess at but if I figure it would double the time I am still looking at a fill up every 4 to 6 years or so.
Now how one would handle that situation is something I have rarely ever seen anyone tackle either in fiction or on a blog etc. I have to give ol Rawles some credit here as he actually mentioned such a problem in his first book although the work around was less than ideal in my opinion.
When you get right down to it I imagine the only thing that could be done would be to just open up the tank and start scooping as nasty as that sounds then hauling it away to a safe location/distance and letting it cool off. A lagoon might be more sustainable but I dislike them myself.
Definitely something to think about. I am not partial to digging my own outhouse as a back up either as to be honest with the clay we have around here cleaning out the septic tank by hand might just be easier and less painful than digging a suitable pit overall.
My bet is that in a grid down situation though there are going to end up being an awful lot of mini-lagoons appearing in back yards all over the countryside. As bad as that sounds however I bet the cities will be much worse.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!