25 May, 2017

A New Experience At Casa Winjama

It wasn't a strong odor, just enough to remind you of what you were dealing with. Some septic tanks, that we've had the experience to be traveling nearby as they were being pumped out were noticeably stronger in odor. Some so much so that you nearly retched as you went by.

To start the process of cleaning out the first tank, we had to open the hatch. This turned out to be no easy task. When we built the original pool house, there was some leftover floor tile. One of the workers suggested tiling the utility room, which also meant tiling the hatch. Naturally, some of the Thinset and grout managed to slip into spaces between the hatch and the floor, effectively sealing the hatch in place.

We didn't realize it at the time, but that makes opening the hatch quite problematical. We had to chip away at a couple of the hatch corners so that we could eventually slide a large prybar into the opening and managed to free the hatch and lift it far enough out of the way in order to allow the pumper's suction tube access to the tank and its contents.

The Hatch is Free
As you can see here, we finally managed to get the hatch free and out of the way. The pool house and septic tank were built about nine years ago, and it's never been opened till just now.

Back in the day, this was how the tank was accessed. Now they add a four-inch PVC tube, so that all you have to do is open the tube, and you have easy access for the suction tube to reach into the tank. Why didn't we think of that back then?

Running the tube from the truck was no problem. They bring several lengths of tubing, and actually only used one length for this project.

Suction Tube At Work
Surprisingly, it was a mostly non-smelly operation and quite neat and tidily done too. I had envisioned having to hose down the whole area immediately afterward, but such was not the case.






Here the 'Suction Master' is hooking up the tube to the truck. Once that's done, a quick signal to the truck driver and pumping begins.

Suction Master At Work
This job is one of those 'Mike Rowe' things. A necessary job, and I'm just glad that I don't have to do it.







The whole process took about ten minutes to completely empty this tank. It still had about ten to twelve inches clearance before it was totally full. I don't know if it would have ever gotten that high as liquids go naturally to the drain field and evaporate.

Final Cleanout of the Tank
Towards the end, the worker does need to direct the tube end to suck up whatever is left in the tank.







Making A Graceful Exit
When it's done, they encase the business end in a plastic bag and haul the tube away.






When they finished with this tank, their truck mounted tank was full. They departed to empty it and returned about 20 minutes later to do the second tank.

No Fancy Slogans Here
When I 'helped' Denis when he had them clean out Sara's tank, we asked where they dumped the contents. They said on their property in Ranchito, they have a couple of excavations they use as settling ponds.





Since both tanks were about the same age (a year or so apart), we had them pump the tank for the Mennonite house as well.

This Tank Opened Easier
 This one opened much easier (no grout to gum up the works). You can see a tube inside. That's part of the drain pipe coming into the tank from the house. We put a tee on the pipe and ran a short length of pipe down into the tank and just left the upper end of the tee open as a kind of vent.




Suction Tube At Work
The operation proceeded just about the same as the first tank. Another routine pumping job.







Bye Guys, And Thanks
And there they go. We'll see them again in another eight or nine years.

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