Tag Archives: problems

The Septic Tank Saga

The septic tank. Well it was fun whilst we knew you.  Okay, it wasn’t. Let’s be honest for a moment.

Can you see the problem?
Can you see the problem?

The plumber arrived late on Monday afternoon and was able to get a few temporary measures in place.  Grey water only into the house’s sewage system, and no paper or other debris of any kind because the septic tank had been disconnected and basically the grey water was going directly down the hillside (when technically mountainside because we are at over 750m here which is 2,500 feet or roughly twice the height of Hallin Fell).

So the current solution is....
So the current solution is….

We did have a toilet for no2’s; it was just (actually it still is) in another building and it was due to rain overnight and most of Tuesday as well. It is also missing its seat but i had at least cleaned it and the building itself, whilst old, rickety, leaking and generally rotting, is actually fairly clean and free from insects and rodents alike. There’s not even a cobweb!

Monday night did indeed rain. As did Tuesday morning, but it stopped around mid afternoon.  I hadn’t expected the plumber to return on Tuesday, so I wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t.  Given that I knew they needed to get a digger in there and the place was under water there was no surprise when it was left until Wednesday which was forecast to be clear and dry.  It was indeed clear and dry and I had 3 loads of washing done and on the line before they arrived in 2 lorries, one with a trailer towing the mini digger. To be fair to the it was still the morning, I had started the washing at 7am.

They were not to complete that day, but they have it a good try working until after dark and meeting Stuart at the top of our track. They had run into one or two little issues, like the fact the old septic tank was empty because it was cracked. It had in fact been sitting on the tip of a jagged rock which should have been taken out and was one of the causes of the issues we now faced.  A call was put through the our landlord, and as Stuart was later to find out directly from our landlord when they met on Spring Creek Road on Thursday, they were told to ‘just sorry it’: so sort it they did. Out came the old septic tank in pieces: out came the digger to dig access to the problem: out came the jack hammer and in climbed the younger of the two plumbers: away went the other plumber to get some 1 inch rounded gravel and a much deeper hole arrived…  The place resembled the Battle of the Somme crossed with Ypres.

Action on the septic tank from.
Action on the septic tank front.
The old septic tank was literally ripped out.
The old septic tank was literally ripped out. It later transpired that it was cracked at the bottom and was leaking..
The new one waits.
The new one waits.
There is actually a big hole there that a person is standing in drilling a sharp rock out.
There is actually a big hole there that one of the plumber is standing in drilling a sharp rock out with a jack hammer.
The rounded gravel goes in as the sunsets literally.

Sometime around 6pm I was asked to turn off the (bore) water the was filling up the new septic tank in roughly 1½ hours time.

Thursday came and they arrived in the afternoon. They were fitting their planned jobs in around the emergency here. The place still resembled a quagmire, but that quagmire now needed filling in after much pipe work had been redone. The mini digger was to get stuck, the tipper lorry was also to get stuck, neither thankfully badly, but it meant that they were to end up working until after dark yet again, but they did complete the job.

It also means that whilst the septic tank has been ticked off the list of jobs I have for them, there are 6 or 7 others still on the list, including a badly leaking emergency water tank (leaking from some interesting joints which raised an eye brow and an ‘I’ll sort that out for you’. It would be nice come the summer if the emergency water tank still had water in it! Similarly the tap on the bore water tank that you open to get bore water or close when topping the tank up, also leaks and there’s no one way valve on the system so I’m pretty certain that’s where some of the water that’s disappearing from the tank is going to; back where it came from!

He’ll be back at some point next week.

I’ll post up a photo or two of the end result tomorrow.

Some Days are Better than Others (The Septic tank popped up to say hello!)

Some days are better than others and today was not one of them.  We seem to be going from one disaster to another at the moment and the truth is, it is beginning to wear me down to touch.

I’m know I’m exhausted from all the work needed to get the house reasonable.  I knew it was coming, but not quite the extent of the problem.  I had accepted it as part of this house, I love the location and the house, but the previous tenants have not looked after the place and it is badly run down.  Plus there is the issue of the heating and lack of insulation.  All Australian houses  seem to lack insulation, that seems to be part of the course, but when your only heating is an open fire that does not want to actually give you any heat (the fireplace is too big and the chimney is not tall enough to draw properly, though it is better than it was now that the fine mesh has been removed).

The cold weather is also limiting how much cleaning I can get done.  I have to do the wet cleaning (stuff I need water for or need to rinse off with water such as the walls, doors, windows, doors/window frames, floors, wardrobes, cupboards etc.) when it is warm enough to get whatever I’m cleaning dry before it gets cold again.  We had another frost again last night and much as I love the cold, clear conditions, they don’t half make cleaning difficult.  So I have a policy, wet stuff in the morning and until about 2pm unless it is raining that day (it tends to rain all day when it rains and you know about it – that has been our experience so far at least!) and dry stuff from that point onwards.  So hoovering etc gets done in the afternoon, but I do like to get the fire laid first thing because it often means a trip to the wood pile and frequently means chopping of wood.  I only do the kindling, it’s simply too much for me to manage anything else, and I switch hands frequently so my bad side does not complain.  Done first thing in the morning, when I my back is not giving me too much grief, I can just about manage enough for the day’s fire.  The fire tends to need to be lit around now, that’s 4:45pm or so.  Today seems a touch warmer, so I’ll leave it a touch more yet.  Gradually the house seems to be drying out.

Does any of this sound familiar?  It does to me.

Perhaps I need a day off?  We did consider the cinema and even established what was needed to get the wheelchair there.  We chose a film and worked out that we needed a 4pm viewing of something because it would take an hour to drive home again afterwards and any 2 hour film would need about 3 hours in total with parking the car, watching trailers, and getting out again afterwards, so that would give us an 8pm home time.  But it messes up evening meal times which are usually 6pm.  The conclusion was that we would try next weekend.

So what has made this weekend such fun?

Can you see the problem?
Can you see the problem?
Those two pipes are meant to be joined together.
Those two pipes are meant to be joined together.

They are not meant to do that.  They are not meant to float.  In fact, they are meant to stay in the ground.  They are meant to have been refilled with water after a clean out, so that this does not happen and so that they work correctly.

The ground anchors have been pulled out and as you can see the in pipe is no longer connected, the outlet is being ripped out of the ground… and well we no longer have sewage and Stuart is back to scent marking trees.

No 1’s are not a problem.

No 2’s pose more of an issue because there is very little top soil here, in fact if you are lucky there is around 2-3cm of top soil.  That’s about an inch.  If you go downhill there is more, but then you have the issue of getting too close to the creek.  The only field that is really good for digging in, which has a real ‘potental’ for being able to dig a deep enough hole, is out beccause it’s where our bore water comes from and, well enough said.  It’s out.  Stay away from the creek and you can’t dig a deep enough hole.  The downside of a big tree seems to be the best option.  We can get around 8 inches there.  Some are more, but they are a good walk from the house.

We added some water to the system, to try to get it to stop pulling the outlet pipe out of the ground.  But there comes a point where you have to decide that really have no experience of septic tanks try to escape from the ground and you don’t know what you are doing.  We stopped adding water when things looked better and called it a day.  It was time to top up the bore water that we had been using to refill the septic tank.

We do have a number to ring for emergencies, so Stuart rang it.  He only delivers fresh water, but knew our landlord and agreed to contact him for us because Stuart explained it was bad.  And as things go a septic tank trying to float away is not actually a good thing.  Our landlord is away, but his wife asked the guy to call round and have a look.  He did and agreed that it was a problem, it was bad, and well, on the bright side it would only take a couple of days to actually fix.  Well, one day to fix, but the first day would require a tanker to come and completely empty the septic tank, so that it could be lifted out and a digger come in and re-dig the hole, and dig a drainage channel.

So, we wait to see what tomorrow will bring.  We have emailed the agents.  Stuart will ring them the moment they open and we will take it from there.

In the meantime, the washing has not been done, Stuart is going to shower at work, I had one yesterday so can wait a little (I can always shower outside during the day), and any grey water can easily be dealt with without going down the drain.

And at least it was another really nice day.  It started off overcast and frozen, but cleared within the first hour after dawn, and has been completely clear skies, sunny and warm all day.  There wasn’t much of a sunset, but that was because there were no clouds.  But there was a coloration (yellow) of the sky in the west.  It is due to rain tomorrow, so I guess at some point it is going to cloud over, but we should be able to see the stars again tonight early on and it is great to look at them and see meteorites burn up in the atmosphere.