Friday, 20 October 2017

The Joys of "Private Drainage" AKA..................

...........a septic tank.
(Health Warning - do not read if squeamish! You may feel ill after reading!)

We've had septic tank sewers in more homes and for more years than we've been on mains sewer. Trouble is that when there's a blockage it's up to us to sort it out (apart from calling out Dyna-rod I suppose).
So there we were on Wednesday morning getting ready to head out to see daughter, granddaughter and then back via Ipswich for Col's regular blood test, when he finds the loo hasn't flushed properly. Lift manhole cover nearest house.............Oh Yuck. Something not right, chuck buckets of water in, no movement. Climb into overalls (him) don rubber gloves (both) and fetch draining rods from shed. Fit draining rods together, shove down pipe. I'm instructed to peer in other manhole near septic tank to see if anything is moving. Well, it is but so slowly and it's not pretty! He chucks more water in, I flush loos, no sign of water at other end, pull out draining rods, find the twisty bit that fits on end, fit it on end and shove down pipe again. I'm at the other end again, still a bit slow. "Can I see end of draining rods?" "Well I could if it wasn't for the s**t!". He chucks more water in manhole. He goes to look at other manhole and decides to chuck buckets of water in there too while I'm at other end shoving draining rods in and out. At last we have movement and whooosh off it goes. Manhole nearest house all nice(?) and clear. Replace manhole covers.
Remove overalls and rubber gloves, have a good wash and try to get visions of  sludgy s**t out of  head.

Now a discussion on why this has happened..........no, I am NOT using too much loo paper but there is probably not enough water going down drain because we are trying not to use so much water. When we wash the dishes we run the cold-before-it-gets-hot into a jug and use that for flushing loo and we have a short flush function on the new toilet. So trying to save water now we are on a meter means the drains might get blocked more often!
Oh Great Joy!!
The drainage is old, not enough fall from house to tank. Not a lot to be done unless a whole new drainage system is put in - a HUGE job that would be.

 We've  now bought a plunger bit that fits on the end of draining rods so they'll work better! I can see I'd better get used to this job just in case.


Thank you everyone for comments yesterday. I've not seen TV adaptations of any Mary Wesley books so I come to them unhindered by any knowledge of them. I watched Vera before reading any of the books so Brenda Blethyn is the only Vera I know, But I read some of the Shetland series before seeing them on TV and agree that Jimmy Perez in the book  doesn't look a bit like Douglas Henshall in the TV series, he should be dark and Spanish looking!

Back Soon
Sue

30 comments:

  1. Good country fun!! Agree the actor in Shetland is NOT Jimmy Perez and they changed his girlfriend and daughter, if they are not going to follow the script, wish they would go away and write their own story, what is the point of mucking up someone else's.

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  2. I am going on to mains sewage when I move, for the first time in twenty five years. But in all that time I never remember ours blocking here but I think it has a good fall on it.

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    1. Our sewer at the smallholding was always getting blocked, we never put the draining rods away, always had them hooked inside the front fence right ready!

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  3. A gradual fall is better than a fast one because a fast fall means that the water flows away from the semi-solids leaving them behind to clog the pipe. 2Ply paper is better than 3 ply as it dissolves quicker and therefore does not clog the pipe.

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    1. Too much information! but I understand what you mean and quilted paper is a definite no no when on private drainage.

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  4. I have had an entire life of septic tanks and 34 years with a man who emptied them for a living. Heron is right about the fall. Plenty of water going down from baths, showers, kitchens is also important and helps keep up a healthy flow in the pipes. You may have to relax slightly about your meter readings. I used to hear about the things found in the pipes which would then block the tanker pipes too. Miscellaneous items of clothing mainly.

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    1. Clothes? weird. BTW I think I'd not read Mary Wesley due to them first appearing after I finished working in libraries and when children were small and I didn't read much during the 80s.It's taken me a while to catch up

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  5. I remember my very small child going to the upstairs bathroom & then shouting that the toilet was all coming out. It overflowed the toilet rim & the mess was terrible. We bought draining rods & removed the blockage. However it still kept blocking up and the rods became useless at solving the problem. Dyna-rod was called & a camera put through the pipes - in there was a huge mass of the previous house owners dental floss which had caught on a rough patch of pipe and turned into a solid plug with the scale from the very hard water. This couldn't be broken up & had to be blasted free as a solid lump about 4 inches wide & 18inches long.
    Dyna-rod said dental floss was often the cause of problems in domestic pipes & strongly recommended putting it in a bin rather than down the toilet. Which is what we had always done, but not so the previous occupants who were annoyingly spared the cost of their actions!!

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    1. Good grief, they must have got through a ton of dental floss. I've never even thought of putting it anywhere except a bin

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  6. Oh dear! Couldn't count the times I had to attend to this by myself, often in the rain and in the dark of night too. Worse when the house had been empty for a while during winter and just arrived back after a very long drive. You did not need this.

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  7. Had to do that twice since living here. One was the toilet, the other kitchen fat, previous tenant. Not pretty but it does feel good when you succeed.

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  8. Do you use single ply loo paper? Double ply is not recommended for septic tanks as it takes longer to break down, and can cause "blackages" ;)

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    1. Some loo paper much worse than others at breaking down

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  9. Cheap double ply from the cut price German supermarkets is often the culprit for blocking toilets. We always have our draining rods ready. Your also not supposed to put bleach down the septic down either. It kills off all the useful bacteria. Some country folk recommend putting a dead rat down the septic tank or some other kind of roadkill. The joys of rural living!

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    1. We were told, in the past to dispose of a dead chicken into the tank to get the bacteria working!

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    2. We use a product called Rid-X at my mother-in-laws house which has a septic tank. Contains beneficial bacteria to help "break-down" the solids. Good to know about the rat and chicken in case the Rid-X is not available.

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  10. I've been in that situation with hubby...in the snow! Not much patience on his part...so memorable! x

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  11. It happens with mains too especially when you have a neighbour who puts nappies down the loo! Hubby has had to clean ours twice when she rented next door. Threatened to call her landlord and get him to pay. It stopped!!!

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  12. I grew up with septic tanks and water tanks, my parents still rely on rain water for their water, and still have a septic tank, and yes it is not pleasant when you run into difficulties with them! Glad you got it sorted.

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  13. We had a very small tank with possibly dodgy weeper channels. We went 'Greek' apart from when we had guests to avoid problems with loo roll.
    We also wiped every plate/pot of grease and put that in the bin -- still do even now back on mains drainage.
    It was a definite change of habits to put loo paper in a bin, but the alternatives, as you know, with an old system were more expensive than we were prepared to contemplate.

    We never had a problem after we did that and got fulsome praise from the man who came to empty it on the quality and lack of pong.

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  14. Oh dear....I don't think I could cope with that.
    Hugs-x-

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  15. When using the squat toilets in Japan there is a basket to put the toilet paper in, which, by the way you had to provide yourself!!!lol When we had our trailer we used to get biodegradable toilet paper at the RV supply place. It is probably too expensive to use all the time though.

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  16. we have the jet washer with the drain rods on it. it shoots water through. we had to get them at the last house

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  18. Grew up with a septic tank. It was dinned into us to use nothing ANTIseptic, like bleach, as the system ran on breaking down the solids using a septic system. In 30 yrs I never remember it malfunctioning.
    Love your blog, especially your photos.

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