Thursday, April 23, 2015

Well, This Can't Be Good!

For the last 3 days, I have been watching an area of grass that has become unusually wet.
I chalked it up to the glorious rain we've been having, but kept my eye on it.


Because it is directly above my septic tank.
If you don't know what a septic tank is, consider yourself lucky.

Here's a quick drawing to give you the Reader's Digest version of what a septic system does.
It's the sewer treatment plant of those that live in rural areas.

One thing that is not in this picture is a Septic Pump, or a Float or a Septic Alarm.
There is a float in the septic tank that is supposed to set off an alarm if the level of wastewater gets too high.

The pump's job is to pump the waste water out of the septic tank into the septic field.
The septic tank is full of bacteria that just love to take care of everything that goes into the tank.
Breaks it down.
I'll just leave that to your imagination.

The point is, this system needs to work perfectly.
Otherwise, the 'stuff' that you want to stay in the septic tank takes a little vacation and comes BACK into your house.

Those that properly care for their own personal sewage treatment plant, the aforementioned Septic System, have the tank pumped out every 3-5 years. (((Waves at my BFF,  Deb!!!))

It's just a good idea.
Not a job I want, but there are lovely folks that do it for a living.

I met one of those lovely folks yesterday because we believed the guy who installed our septic system 15 years ago,
"You don't ever need to have your septic tank pumped if you don't put these things
 (long list of no-nos) down your drains."

So there, I've admitted to the whole world that our septic tank has never been pumped.
In 15 years.
(Here I hang my head in both gratitude for never having problem before now, and shame for having never listened to anyone but the septic installer)

Which brings us to the present once more.
Yesterday, I noticed a slightly "off" smell when I passed that damp area.
I went to check the plugs for the septic pump and float. 
The picture you see above is what I got.
The cord came completely off in my hand!
"Well, This can't be good!" was my first thought.

I quickly took care of my animals and headed back in to my hometown Facebook page.
Despite petty bickering that often takes place on the page, it is also a wealth of information about local companies to use and not use.

I called the first company's name that I was given.
Glory Hallelujah, they sent someone right out!!!
Gotta love my small town companies!!

Nicest guy you'd ever want to meet.
We talked about this and that, but mostly I got a lesson in septic systems.
In the picture above, he did a quick test from the severed half of the cord in the first picture.
"I'm checking to see if your pump still works.  That's what this cord is for."

Another Glory Hallelujah!
It still worked!

He spliced a new plug onto the existing cord as a quick fix.
He will come out next week and replace all the wiring.  He'll also set us up with a more durable mounting area, and check the float to see why it didn't set off the alarm when the "water" rose in the septic tank.
He will also pump and drain the septic tank.
Something that we should have done, at the very least, 3 times by now.

He also suggests we keep the weed eater far, far away from the entire set up.
That's what caused the problem to begin with.
The line must have snagged the electrical cord and torn away the protective plastic covering.
The wire corroded through.
Yesterday it broke off in my hand.
The End.

Until next week when I take pictures of the pumping process.
I know you are as horrified and curious as I am.


  1. Been there...done that in TN...not much fun but you got off easy!

    1. We'll see. It may not be as easy a fix as they imply. Fingers crossed.

  2. By any chance does your office assistant know how to flush? It was the cat who got blamed for the "flood" in the garden in the movie, "Meet the Parents."

    1. My Office Assistant isn't the kind to flush. He's more the kind of guy who would leave the seat up and the empty roll unchanged. ;)

  3. Ah, yes, Christmas present to each other three years ago:) Pretty much everything but the tank. System was about forty years old. Lots of digging. All better. We are just outside city limits. Do get city water, just no sewer line.

    But, Chuck, who was the consultant and supervisor for the plumbers branching out to septic work, is now our contractor of all trades. We think of him like Eldon on Murphy Brown. Not sure when he will appear and what the specific agenda is for that day. Easy to work with though. We are his favorite clients. Don't fuss and no high pressure deadlines. The cats love him.

    He keeps wanting to do the roof. Has done three bathrooms and basement redo. Basement kept him happily employed that winter.

    1. I want a "Chuck"!! One of my girlfriends has one and his name is Ernest. He just comes when she calls. Does the job perfectly and charges her next to nothing. Just a good old boy wanting to get out of the house and tinker, I guess. How does one find one of these men? :)

  4. Pure dumb luck. He came with the plumbers :)

  5. You are very lucky so far. Sure hope all goes well. I heard the same list of "no-no's" for septic systems, but do believe they should be pumped once in a while. Just to keep that "fresh" feeling. Haha