Today we had the septic tank uncovered and pumped. Then we had the septic tank uncovered and pumped.
It’s presumably the first time this has been done. Heather’s grandfather, Marty, was of the old school of thought that a good septic tank never needs pumping. We being of a different mindset decided this should be, if not our first priority this spring, then maybe our #2 priority. All right, all right, I’ll stop that now. If I can.
First question, then: where’s the tank? We knew it was out in the side yard somewhere. Last week a guy from the septic tank pumping company came out and poked around until he found a vent — or what would have been a vent if it weren’t buried under dirt and grass, I suppose. The tank seemed to be two or three feet down. He said they’d have to come back this week with an excavator — or I could dig it up myself, of course. That idea didn’t appeal to me.
So they brought the excavator around this morning and uncovered the tank. It was a rather decrepit looking steel tank, and that surprised me. Family septic tank lore was that it was concrete, installed forty-some years ago by Marty and his father from plans published by Cornell University.
The water level in it wasn’t has high as it should have been and, to put it delicately, nothing interrupted the surface of the water. There was muck at the bottom and that was it. They pumped it, and then had me flush the toilet. Nothing entered the tank.
Conclusion: this was the old tank. So where was the new one?
They poked, they prodded, they used a metal detector, they dug up some rocks and an old file. Finally they dug a trench across the path of the soil pipe. In fact they broke a section out of the soil pipe without even realizing it at first. Once they found it they discovered it made a 90 degree bend, which is why the tank wasn’t where they were looking for it. After that it took only a few moments to find the tank, just a few inches down and ten feet east of the old tank. Concrete. Way overdue for pumping but okay. They pumped it, patched up the soil pipe, filled in the holes, collected their fee, and were gone.
Next time we do this we’ll know where to dig. With a shovel.