19 November, 2015

Pool House Expansion Project, Day Thirty-Nine, 19/11/15

Rotoplas Septic Tank Work and Roofing Zinc Arrives

Day Thirty-Nine, 19 November, 2015

Yesterday evening, Dianna and I cut out about a half-hour early to have dinner with Bruce and Colleen. My last conversation with Carl was that they were going to add water to the Rotoplas and let it sit all night. I told Carl, that if they turned on the water, it was ok to leave with it filling the Rotoplas and that I would shut it down when we returned from dinner.

Dianna and I returned about 7:15 PM or so, and we noticed the hose wasn't hooked up. I assumed they had filled the tank and headed for home.

This morning when I got up, after securing the doggies in their pen, and opening the gate for the guys, I toured the work site, as usual. One thing I noticed right away, was the Rotoplas was a little off-kilter. Not much, but enough that you could tell. Uh-oh, something must have happened. Maybe the thing floated before they could fill it with water.

When they arrived, Carl told me they filled the tank and it started to tilt. They thought maybe it had too much water and became top-heavy.

Anyway, they brought Omar's gasoline water pump to de-water the Rotoplas. But, since it had been about six months or so since Omar had used it, naturally, it wouldn't start.
Omar's Pump Won't Start
They tried several times to crank it, to no avail. Then they added some gas to the carburetor, nope. Carl checked to see if there was a spark, yup, but no go still. Some French aimed at the pump didn't help either.
Best Minds In the Business
I got my sparkplug socket wrench and they took out the old plug. It was wet, so they knew fuel was getting to the cylinder.

Carl and I had to go to Lano's to check on the zinc and I needed to find some staples for my electric stapler, so Carl took the plug along. Long story short, the zinc was fine and ready for delivery, no staples of the correct size anywhere, and the spark plug was the problem.

So, back to the Rotoplas. This photo shows the outfall for the sludge - the solids, etc., that don't get consumed by the bacteria in the biodigester. This is the stuff that the pumper truck has to suck up. Notice the concrete around the cone bottom.
Waste Pump-Out Line
Here's a glimpse into the top of the Rotoplas with the cover removed. They've got the pump piping stuck into the bio-digester innards to drain off the water so they can reorient the tank.
Cover Removed Showing Bio-Filter Media
You're probably wondering what is in the bio-digester, right? You can almost see something between the boards. Well, here's what you see. Pieces of plastic water bottles, chopped up into two- to three-inch pieces.
Chopped Plastic Bottles Form Filter Media
What this does, is exactly the same thing that we did in Olympia with our homemade pond filter. No, we didn't dump trash into our filter, and no one did that with the Rotoplas. What it is, is a way of providing a lot of surface area, besides the tank itself for bacteria to adhere to (the more bacteria, the better, ergo, more surface area is good) and as the poop and other effluvia flow over and through the plastic bits, the bacteria eat most of it, digesting it all. Hence, calling it a bio-digester is correct.

While I was explaining the operation of the thing to Omar and the guys, I thought that some smaller material would allow for more bacteria, which is true for a pond, but probably not so true for something like this that's dealing with turds of various sizes and consistencies, toilet paper, and the occasional dead cucaracha that gets flushed down the drain.
Bio-Filter Media Inside Rotoplas Bio-digester
Like I said, the spark plug was the problem. Here's the pump, happily spewing water all over the place so the guys can re-orient the tank and then get it properly hooked up and then marl poured around the tank.
Finally Able To Pump out Rotoplas
Here, they're getting the toilet line hooked up. Looks easy, but it's always a chore.
Connecting Toilet Waste Line To Rotoplas
And, the zinc arrives. It's the right color and everything.
Roofing Zinc Has Arrived
Off-loading the zinc begins. It's heavy (26 gauge), long, and very awkward to deal with.
Beginning Offload of 24-Sections
They have to move it from the trailer over to some pallets to lay it gently down, without scratching it or bending it either.
Set Them Down Gently
After this, there's only one more piece to go. There were twenty-four in total. A real chore.
Nearing the End of the Offload Process
And, there it is all nice and pristine looking. Next to it is the roof flashing pieces and the drip guard pieces. that other pile is the ridge cap pieces.
Nicely Stacked on Pallets
Something else that came along with it, the foam inserts. There's 'inside' and 'outside' pieces. The inside pieces go under the zinc sheets near the bottom of each sheet, while the outside pieces go on top of the zinc up by the ridge caps. They actually go under the ridge caps, but outside the zinc sheets. The whole purpose of each is to keep bugs, vermin, and other critters, like bats, etc., from moving in under the zinc.
Inside and Outside Foam Inserts for Zinc
One thing the guys almost forgot to do, was to count each of the zinc pieces, to make sure we got everything that was on the invoice. It came out right.
Counting the Number of Pieces
Ok. That's it for this episode. Stay tuned for more.

There's many more photos than appear in each posting. You can see all the photos of the construction project on Flickr at: There will be new photos added each day of the project.    


Wilma said...

Great that you could go with the long pieces of zinc for the roof. It is heavy! We had to go with shorter pieces that we over-lapped since we couldn't manage longer pieces in the boat. Fourteen ft was our max. It will start to look real when the zinc goes up!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Wilma,

There's pluses and minuses with the longer pieces. They're hard to maneuver without damaging them.
It started looking real about the time the third piece went up. Now, it really does look like a house.
I can't imagine having to bring everything in by boat. You guys are hard core.