Monday, May 12, 2008

the joys of rural life

Imagine a tiny amount of irony in the heading for this post!

Today we had our septic tank pumped out. Last time was five years ago. We meant to keep track of where the lid was (and we did remember the general area), but we just couldn't seem to find the right spot. Part of the problem was that we remembered it as being much closer to the surface. So we dug twenty little holes over a 10 foot square area of lawn (it looks like we were attacked by a huge army of moles), and still had to have to professionals find it for us and dig it up.

We swear that this time, we're going to put a big wooden flower planter right on top of the spot, so that five years from now we'll be able to find it again easily.

I actually enjoy (no irony this time) learning about how things work, and observing the the mechanics of different people's jobs. So I spent the entire time outside with the men, watching the progress. The digging part of it is the only part that is really dirty. As they said, they generally prefer it when the home owner does that part -- and we would have if we had been able to find it! Although once the septic tank is open the smell is really rank, the primary work is done by the huge suction pump on the tanker. The man guiding the suction stands well above the tank, guiding a long straight pipe, attached to the flexible tubing from the pump.

We have municipal water (as does our entire neighborhood), but so far there is no sewer service in any of this area of the county. While everyone in our neighborhood has some form of septic system, this is not true of many folks in the county. "Straight pipe" is still found in many parts of Letcher County.


Jessica G said...

By "straight pipe", do you mean a pipe going into the creek/river/watershed/ground directly?

Sue said...

I regret to say that "straight pipe" does mean exactly that -- raw sewage going straight into the creek or stream. There is more "straight pipe" in Letcher county than any where else in the country. We also have a smaller percentage of people (less than 30 percent) who have municipal water supplies.

Jessica G said...

I thought that was what it meant. I had a gentleman argue with me for a minute that the "straight pipes" were more of a problem than MTR...and that MTR was good...

You can see why it only lasted a minute. :)