Saturday, February 26, 2022

Defining Stinky!

Before we get to the stinky stuff, this is for Rex.  I did a screen shot of the Blogger header, assuming of course that you use Blogger.  I wish I could make it bigger, but click on it and it should be readable.  If you run your mouse over the little icons on your computer, they will tell you what they do.  The square in the middle with the mountains is the one to click on to add pictures to your blog.  Let me know if it works!!

So ... here we are in my back yard covered with snow.  Not much this year, thank goodness, but cold nonetheless.  On this day I was waiting for the septic tank pumping crew.  I actually have lots of experience with these critters from my time in the construction industry.  We installed and repaired hundreds of septic systems.    

If you live in a city and have city sewer lines you are in like Flynn.  If not, you have this to look forward to.  All the waste from your house goes down the lines into a 1000-1500 gallon concrete tank.  From there it flows out into a big leach field where the water filters into the substrate.   Depending on the number of people in the house and how conservative you are with things like detergent and toilet paper, you may get by for years, although you should have it pumped at least every 4-5 years.  Everything you ever wanted to know about septic tanks, yeah?

I didn't think the tank needed pumping, but it's the only way to get them to check the baffle at the entry to the tank.  Apparently slow and steady is the name of the game for these guys.  In spite of my telling them where the tank was, they wasted about two hours with a water hose connected to a pipe (and to my water line ... we pay for water by usage) trying to locate the end of the tank.  

I tried to be very diplomatic because I knew they didn't know my past experience.  I mean really, there's nothing worse than a woman telling a man how to do his job, right?  Finally, one hole got dug.

It's actually about 2-1/2 feet deep on this end because they added a riser with this huge lid on top.  Otherwise it would be 3 feet deep like the other end.  That took another couple of hours to dig out.

Lovely, yes?  This is where you define just how stinky STINKY really is.  Actually it didn't smell that bad ... but I admit, it's rather disgusting.  Believe me, there are things on a cattle ranch that smell much worse!!!  That blue thing is a filter no one told me about.  They pumped the tank, both sides.

Then came the part I was afraid of.  See those lovely oleanders?  Never EVER plant ANYTHING near your septic tank or leach lines.  The roots from those bushes, sucking up all that lovely fertilizer, had completely plugged up the baffle going into the tank, which was what I really wanted to check.  Sure enough, hardly any water at all was making it past the mess.

Big ups to Dakota and Roger, because they spent the next hour trying to dislodge them so water could actually enter the tank.  It was very VERY bad!  Once that was finally cleared out, the system ran like it's supposed to.  The lids were put back on.

I knew by this time that my $600 estimate was down the toilet ... literally.  I was guessing $1,000 since it was now over 5 hours.  I grabbed a shovel and filled in the holes myself while they cleaned up their tools.  I mean really, it would have cost me a couple hundred more if I had waited on them to fill the holes!!

So there you have it ........ a $1330.40 septic tank drain and clean.  So much for that insurance bonanza!!

Here's my tip of the day.  If you have a septic tank, keep all the bushes and trees far far away.  Never put food down the garbage disposal.  It does not disintegrate and will cause you big $$$$.  Be sparing with toilet paper like you are in your RV.  No one likes a $1330.40 bill just for .... well you know, it begins with the letter S.

Now comes the BIG project ... getting rid of the CAUSE!!  The BEST news is I can finally do laundry!!!


  1. We have sewer and about the only thing we put down the disposal are egg shells. Absolutely no potato skins, carrot skins, onions, celery...well, you got the picture. These things just don't break down and tend to "gum up" line. So we feel safe with egg shells, that's about it.

    1. Actually, even egg shells are bad. They don't disintegrate like you think they should and they will plug up your leach lines past the tank. Just my two cents worth. Or rather my ex-husband's two cents worth and he should know. He dug up many a leach line.

  2. Replies
    1. Right? SO much fun!!! I just wish it was cheaper!

  3. What a mess but the bonus is that it's done now. If you haven't done it for 4 years, that's only about 350$/ year. Does that help?
    Do you have to take the oleander out then?

  4. To suggestions if you haven't done it already
    Take your tape measure out and do a 3 triangular survey to the top of the septic lid
    The other one is find a piece of 2 inch PVC pipe Bury it just over the septic lid you can cover it up with grass but when you search for it you'll find it
    Put it all down on paper and tape it up over your hot water tank out in the garage that way you'll always have the measurements it'll save you money in the long run that way the septic guy doesn't have to aerate your back yard
    Did you locate the J box if you did I would do a triangular measurement for that too
    When I was younger I worked for a company that installed septic complete systems never believe the site plan map from the town it was never correct but a triangular measurement from the house points was
    Now try to do that up north in the frozen ground in January and February

    1. I did what you said but changed one thing. I drew a map with measurements and taped it to the inside of the kitchen cupboards!!! No way could I dig in frozen ground without a backhoe!! And I'm sure that's pricey!!

  5. I'm glad I live in the city :) But I did learn some things from reading your post should I ever move to the country :)


    1. City sewers are fun. You can put ANYTHING down the drain!! Not so much with septic systems.

  6. Things you shouldn't put in your city sewer or your personal septic system
    Bags / wrappings and cardboard.
    Band-aids and bandage wrappers.
    Cleaning wipes.
    Cotton balls, swabs and pads.
    Dental floss and teeth whitening strips.
    Disposable diapers, nursing pads, and baby wipes.
    Facial wipes.
    That's only a partial list
    On a city sewer system or a development sewer system you're staying around and watched the diapers the handiwipes they're supposedly disposable products you'd be surprised how fast it Can you plug up the pipe s
    Let's put it this way if you didn't eat it or drink it don't put it down the pipe
    Most home septic systems use a 4 inch pipe most Varna homes in Third World countries use a 2 inch pipe guess how fast that plugs up