septic system

Posted: May 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: plumbing, slow progress | No Comments »

laika supervises pumping of the septic tank

When we bought the house, there were a lot of unknown quantities that we had to assume were likely to become a problem sooner or later. We could see that the foundation looked good, the roof looked pretty good, and everything else looked pretty terrible. The stuff we couldn’t see: is there lead in the pipes? probably. Is the well pump broken? yes, and it’s not cheap to replace. Are all the chimneys blocked? probably. Are we going to have problems with the septic system? Easiest to assume that the answer is yes.
Given the obvious neglect to the house, we figured the septic system was probably in bad shape too. The septic tank should be pumped out every so often (my dad suggests every 10 years) or else it starts to back up and things get nasty and it can costs tens of thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Rather than wait for something to go catastrophically wrong, we decided to call somebody to come help us locate the septic system and see what work we need to do to keep it in good order. We actually had no idea *where* the septic system was even located. Old deeds suggested that our leach-field might be located off our property, under our next-door neighbor’s chicken coop! The septic guy helped us locate the sewage main coming out from the back of our house, and advised us to try and follow the main line out to the septic tank by digging little holes every 5-10 feet until the pipe leads us to the tank. Easier said than done: we spent a few weeks struggling through brambles and weeds back there, digging little holes ALL OVER the back yard. Finally we found the tank, and thankfully it was on our own property. We called back the septic guy and he took a look: he said it was overdue for a cleaning but thankfully nothing was damaged! He pumped it out and hopefully we’re good to go for another ten years. What a nice surprise to find one problem that’s easier to solve than we’d expected.

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