Saturday, October 20, 2012


This adventure in country living continues.

Being out in the county as we are, we are not hooked up to the sewer system of the town so all our waste is taken care of by a septic system. In case you are unaware of what a septic system is (I, myself, only had a vague idea), it is the means by which your body's waste products are dealt with as well as the water from your sinks and bath.

There are several types of systems. Our elderly neighbor Frank of the Bountiful Garden, who built his house himself lo those many years ago, has a single pipe that goes from his brick 'tank' and loops around the house. My sister had, when she lived farther out in the county, a single tank with a drain field.

We have a three tank system, three 500 gallon tanks that are buried in the Little Back Yard. The first two tanks contain the effluvium and the third pumps it out to the drain field which in our case is twelve 70' perforated lines. That's the back half of the Big Back Yard.

We had no idea how long it had been since the system was 'serviced', a euphemism for pumping all the shit infused water out, so now that we are employed again (for the moment at least) we decided it might be a good idea to 'get 'er done' as it were. We've lived here full time for a little over 2 ½ years, owned the place for about the same length of time before moving permanently, it was vacant for a year before we bought it, and I think the system was put in five years prior to that so I think maybe it had never been serviced since it was put in.

Anyway, these guys showed up at 7:30 Saturday morning. I had arranged for them to come but I guess I should have asked what time they thought they might arrive. Fortunately, Marc had just gotten up and hearing the commotion outside, I did too.

the Little Back Yard

the truck

getting the hose in place

emptying tank 3, finding tank 2

tank 2

sucking up tank 2

finding tank 1


sucking up tank 1

covering it all back up

They hauled away 1200 gallons of shit infused water. Took them about an hour from the time they drove up til the time they drove off.

When we asked about how often we should have this done, he sort of hedged his answer.

It depends on how much you generate, he says.

I loved that.

Apparently, people 'generate' different amounts of shit depending on many factors including your size and what kinds of food you eat.

But basically, every 5 to 8 years so I guess we're good to go for a while.

Generate. That still amuses me.


  1. Surprisingly enough, there was no odor. I forgot to ask him what he does with the stuff, where he empties the tank on his truck.

  2. I grew up with a septic tank in Florida, and I only remember it being serviced once or twice during the time I lived there. (Infancy to 12th grade.) We had a single tank with a drain field. My mom has since had it replaced entirely, and now in Florida you have to elevate the tank to keep it out of the water table, so newer houses often have these unsightly mounds in the front or side yard. Mom was able to keep our mound to a minimum so it doesn't look too bad.

  3. MY grandmother must have had a spetic tank but I was blissfully unaware ... I suspect with 10 of them living on the plot (fulltime) and visitors they must have 'generated' quite abit ... there was what was euphemistically referred to as a 'soak away' and people always grew willow trees next to it.

  4. We've lived here in Lloyd for getting close to nine years and we've never had our septic tank serviced. We were talking about this the other day and we realized we don't even know where the damn septic tank is!
    Oh boy.
    This could come back to bite us. In the ass.

  5. i think yours must have been in good shape as there was LOTS of odor when ours was serviced about 5 yrs ago. we had to get an aerobic system installed when we bought the place (i'd have much preferred the older anaerobic style like you have with the drain lines...) ah well.

  6. We have a septic system, too. There is a little odor when ours is emptied and our cairn terrier, Angus, was in poop heaven when the septic guys came. He sat on the wall and drew deep breaths.
    Our room full of weavers would say, Oh, it's septic day. Except one little old lady, who sort of looked down on us for having septic instead of sewers. An acre or so down the road and visible through the trees in the winter is a big, lovely home. Marge would look that direction, sniff, and say she was sure they had a sewer at the big house. She never believed there are no sewers in our township.

  7. Ours probably needs to be done, too, but I can't seem to get my husband to care. So far nothing's exploded, so it'll probably be fine for awhile. Maybe I'll bug him in a couple of years. Then we'll have lived there for 7 years and I know we haven't cleaned it yet, so it'll be time by then.

  8. I think I would still be chuckling over generate too. How diplomatic of the nice S. T. guy. I wonder what, exactly, is his title? heehee

    We had a septic system one time in a rental we lived in. The landlord suggested we use the box of treatment once a month - you've seen the commercial I am sure, but I can't remember what it is. Ahhhh, the beauty of middle age? memory loss. Anyway - did he mention that? It is supposed to help break down the "generated" waste. I never knew if it really worked or was just a marketing ploy.

    I was sorry to read you comment about your night cramps. Those are simply the worst, especially if you are sound asleep and slow moving to get up and "walk" them off. I hope you were able to get some relief. I have had them before [less severe I am sure] but I find that eating a banana helps almost immediately b/c of the potassium. Like I said tho' mine weren't as bad I think.

    I do hope tonight is easier for you and there are no cramps. Sweet dreams and I will keep you in my prayers. :)

  9. This would be one of the times I'm grateful for renting. Like you, I wonder where they dump it all.

  10. Holy crap is all I can think to say :).

  11. Ha!! We have a septic tank too!
    We were told to get it serviced every two to three years! Soooo...
    and it is just two of us. Guess we eliminate more!! Ha! Ha! Ha!!
    Great post...gave me a chuckle for sure

  12. I enjoyed the comments almost as much as the post :)

    Since my family is "famous" for um, generating (my Papaw was the original Archie Bunker, in throne terms), if we had a septic system we'd have to have it pumped a lot more often than you I'm sure!

  13. There's a lot of money to be made in shit. In Ancient Rome, ti was big business to collect people's piss and shit. The shit was sold to farmers (later to the estates of senators growing luxury crops like vegetables and spices), and the piss went to fullers - where it was converted into ammonia for laundering. There is the tale of a Roman millionaire who's son complained about their chosen business. The millionaire shoves a gold coin under the kid's nose and says, in Latin "And yet you don't mind the stink of the coin, do you?"

  14. The nice thing about septic systems is the natural bacteria starts the job almost immediately. If you think they need help, sometimes an envelope of yeast encourages them.

  15. The septic guy told us to put a gallon of buttermilk mixed with two cups of sugar down the drain every month for a cheap bacteria boost.

  16. Good lord!

    1200 gallons of shit infused water. holy cow.

    Must feel nice having it cleared out, though. Yes?

  17. I know some people who 'generate' so much they'd need a bigger tank ;)

    glad you got it done

  18. That puts a whole new meaning to the concept of a generation.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.