Friday, May 23, 2008


One of the joys of living in the mountains (and I am inserting every drop of dripping sarcasm you can imagine into the mention of said joys) is that we don't have the ability to be hooked up to a city sewer line. Instead, we have a septic pump and tank and a sand mound in our front yard (terraced nicely into the front yard, but in the front yard just the same). I didn't know much about how all this worked until this week. I knew that I flushed my toilet, the waste went bye-bye, and something involving the sand mound and the septic system took care of it.

However, one of the joys of having such a system is that you have to get it pumped out every so often. For the average family of four, they recommend every two to three years. Well, Bill has been in this house for five years, and this has never been done. Mind you, four people have never lived in this house at the same time, but this week we decided that we should take care of this, as I don't really want to miss my guess on how long we have before the whole system backs up into the basement. Better to be proactive and get it taken care of, I thought.

Bill called one of the companies that can do this dirty (literally) job for you, and he was greeted with some questions that he didn't know the answers to. The first was about the size of our tank. Don't know. The second was whether we wanted them to dig it out or if we would do that ourselves.


All this time, I was under the apparently mistaken impression that the white PVC pipe with a cap that was sticking out of our front yard was the place that they stuck their hose in to suck up whatever happened to be hanging out in our septic tank. Well, it turns out I was wrong. Instead, somewhere anywhere from five inches to two feet underground, our septic tank lies. Make that our septic tanks, actually. The first one receives the solids, which settle out. The second processes the liquid in some way that makes it truly just liquids. And then it goes through a pump tank, before heading over to the sand mound to somehow percolate through and make it all good for heading back into the natural cycle of things.

Yeah, I got some good education this week.

To get the tank pumped out after having dug it out ourselves (clearly, by "ourselves," I mean by "himself") will be about $300. I have some room in my budget this pay (as the reason I haven't blogged much recently is because I am working all kinds of overtime right now), so this was not a tragedy. If we had them dig it out? ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! Yeah, I don't have that kind of room.

My husband is out front right now, with a pick ax and a shovel, digging out said tanks. He has unearthed the first one, ONE AND ONE HALF FEET UNDERGROUND, and he is going in for the kill on the other one. He says it will be done tonight. I say that if he didn't live here with me, I would be out $1000. And then I would be putting this house on the market because this is NOT how I roll.

Our next home will be in a city. The kind with a sewer system.


NME said...

My late stepfather was a general contractor and one of the things he did was to install septic systems. It is nasty, costly business. It's amazing that Bill is digging it out himself. I hope everything goes smoothly.

lonna said...

That really does sound nasty. I would totally be paying the thousand bucks myself. No digging up of human waste containers for this lady.

Megha Bansal said...

Ughh..i am really sorry you (Bill) had to do that. I think there is a glitch in the system, $1000 for cleaning human waste, that's just insane!