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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Way back in January, I put a note in with my rent check, letting the landlord know that my toilet wasnít flushing properly and was backing up into the tub drain. I assumed at the time that it was because of the high winter groundwater level, and indeed, the problem went away by itself as we got closer to spring. (Good thing, too, since the landlord never responded to that note.)

Then a few weeks ago, in the middle of a dry, dry summer, the toilet started acting up again. I could flush, most of the time, if I used a plunger and added a bucket or so of water each time. This wasnít exactly acceptable, especially since I had to scour and disinfect the tub every time I wanted to take a shower (which is at least once every day), because of the gunk coming up through the drain. And when I say ďgunk,Ē it includes not only what youíre thinking, but also living, wiggling creatures that have no business inside a personís home.

So I put another note in with this monthís rent. (Why didnít I just phone the landlord, I hear you ask. Come on. You know me better than that.) Earlier this week, my landlord showed up at my door to check things out. Naturally, it was the first day my toilet was working properly in about a month, but he believed me and told me he would have the septic company come out this weekend. He didnít know where the tank was, so the first order of business was finding it, and then pumping it, and (hopefully) that would be that.

Yeah, well, best-laid plans and all. The landlord and the septic guy showed up a little before noon today. Septic Guy had a little electronic device which he flushed down my toilet. He used a wand to follow the beeping mouse along the pipe, but it stopped just outside my back door, in a place no one would ever dream of putting a septic tank (because itís illegal, for one thing, to have it that close to the house). So they dug in that spot and found the pipe, but not the tank.

At least they could see which direction the pipe was going, so they moved a few feet in the same direction and dug another hole. This time they went out and got a fellow with a jackhammer to do the digging. The first holes had been dug with a pick and shovel, but all that work in the hot sun was taking its toll. The jackhammer made it easier, except on the ears.

Eventually they found not the tank, but a ninety degree junction that pointed in an entirely different direction (but at least it was away from the house). Fortunately, when they dug the next hole, they found the tank. Septic Guy backed his truck up to it and pumped it out. The smell wasnít too bad, actually.

You would think that after all this, they would cover the tank and refill all the holes they dug in the yard. Well, they did cover the tank. The landlord wants to come back tomorrow (or maybe Monday, oró you know) to replace some of the pipe fittings and junctions and whatever other parts and pieces there might be. Baffle. I think he wants to add a couple of baffles. (A plumber Iím not. I have no idea what all this means, except that there will be holes in my yard for a while longer.)

23 August 2008

Into the tank.

All that really matters to me is that the toilet works and the tub drains properly. The landlord also turned up my water pressure, which should make my life easier in as many ways as there are to use running water. It will be easier to rinse off my razor, for example, cutting some time off my morning shave. And maybe the toilet tank, after a successful flush, wonít take five minutes to refill. Sometimes five minutes is just too long.

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