Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Full of it

One of my biggest fears, in being charged with the care and maintenance of this house, is the septic tank system. To my knowledge, there’s no handy dandy gauge that lets you know when the tank is nearing capacity—literally, when it’s full of shit.

According to my mom, the tank needs to be pumped “every now and then.” But I’d prefer not to be alerted—even if it just “now and then”—by overflows in a bathroom whose existence is already marked by a questionable state of cleanliness.

This tank business is all new to me. In Guåhan, sewer hook-ups are not consistent throughout the island, in part because there are still major tracts of land that are “undeveloped” (or “pristine,” or “primitive,” depending on your perspective). On my little seven house street alone, we all have septic tanks, in no small part because hooking up to the municipal sewer lines would individually put us out about $10,000. Additionally, because we’re on a slight slope, we would have to install electric pumps. Which, in a typhoon or post-typhoon conditions, wouldn’t work... and again, leave us to deal with the shit.

I think of these issues whenever I’m behind a sewage-related/pump truck, which isn’t infrequent. A few months ago I also escaped near death as I followed a truck which had three port-a-potties strapped precariously to its back. That would have been a gruesome end.

This morning, I had the delight of following a Todo Mauleg truck for a few blocks. In Chamoru, todu maolek means “It’s all good.” Which is a sentiment I can’t argue with. Especially when you can handle your shit.

Here’s to the company that “comes rushing to get you flushing”!


PerryOne said...

There is a simple easy to do way of checking if and when your septic needs to be emptied.
Its called a ten foot pole!
What you do is, to pass the pole down the inside of the inlet "T" and push it through the floating crust,until you feel the top of the compacted solids, it feels a bit soft. You then make a mark on the side of the pole level with the top of the tank.
Then you get a short stick about four feet long with a nail sticking out the side at one end, you pass the stick down the inside of the outlet "T" until you can hook it under the bottom of the outlet "T" and you make a mark on the side of the stick level with the top of the tank.
Lay the side by side on the floor and if there is more than 12 inches of pole length between the nail and the end of the pole - the tank does not need to be emptied.
Use the pole to check twice a year once in the spring and again in the autumn.
You will be surprised to learn that the contents of the tank will go down during the summer.
Try it!

ñalang said...

Wow! Thanks for much for the nifty advice. Now the only thing left to do is consult The Boyfriend and see who gets the first honor, and how many chores it might be worth to the other. B) Si Yu'os ma'ase!