I can make the noise pretty well.
The , bbullluup, bbullluup that the washing machine has been making for a few weeks each time it drains. And, the downstairs toilet just isn’t flushing very well. It keeps clogging.
We have trouble with our plumbing every once and a while, so The Animal Whisperer almost called the guys to snake out our lines. The guys that use that long, really long, snakey thing that they stick 50 feet down the toilet and spin so it clears out anything that could be blocking the pipes. Mostly, in this neck of the woods, that’s tree roots.
So anyway, he almost called them. But instead thought to take the lid off the septic tank first.
The Animal Whisperer is a good man. He always is on the lookout for problems around here and how to prevent them and how to fix them. Had it been me, I might have just called the snakers. And, now we know, that would not have helped. Not one iota.
The septic tank was REALLY full. We haven’t pumped it in the 2 1/2 years we’ve lived here and the tank hadn’t been pumped at any time in the few years previous to us moving in, so who knows how much sludge was in there.
Yes, a new word I learned. In the septic tank world, you don’t say, “Man, You guys sure do poop a lot!!! What, do you have elephants living inside? This thing is a 2000 gallon tank and it’s jam packed full of poop!!” (or any other choice word you might use for a stinking hole of soupy, brownish blackish stuff.)
No. You say s l u d g e.
Sludge: The politically correct word for what comes out your back end and clogs up your septic tank.
Well, the sludge cleaner upper is one of my new favorite people. A big, kind guy who did extra work for us, and didn’t charge us any extra. He backed the truck in and dragged his big old sludge sucker to the septic tank hole and took all that sludge and other extraneous liquid out.
Right there is a job I don’t want. But, when you need it done, you want someone who does have it for his job.
And, here’s the extra part he did. He told us that our septic tank seemed new enough (how did he know? no idea.) that it should have two lids. Ours only has one. One big, round, 2 foot diameter, cement lid with a piece of rebar bent into it for a handle. Had we ever seen another lid? He thought there should have been another lid about 4 feet from the first lid that would cover another hole into another part of the septic tank. They always come in twos on these newish tanks, apparently.
Well, no. We hadn’t. And a big, uncovered septic tank hole is not something you miss. But, he was adamant. There should be another hole right about there, he pointed. He thought we should start shoveling. Maybe the lid was buried. We didn’t jump to the idea, so he kept vacuuming out the sludge.
Then again, he said, I think there should be another hole right about here, this time he walked over to it and stepped on the location. Remember, big, kind guy? Big being the key word? Well, the ground moved up and down under his foot. Not like an earthquake, but like it was giving way. Only in that spot. Only in the 2 foot spot near where the kids played all summer. Only in the spot near where the goats love to graze. Only in the spot where I have run the loaded wheelbarrow hundreds of times.
Are you following me here? The. Ground. Was. Giving. Way. Something was missing under it. Big, kind guy joked, “I hope I don’t fall in!”
He grabbed his shovel and started digging. And uncovered the other hole. It was, as he predicted, another hole to the other part of the septic tank. 2 feet in diameter. With no lid. Only a piece of 1/4 inch plexiglass to cover it. Buried under 6 inches of dirt.
The same dirt where my children played all summer. Where the goats graze. Where we walk. Where we run the loaded wheelbarrow.
Where we could have fallen in!
I am forever grateful to Williams Septic Tank Pumping company and the big, kind guy that they sent out to clean our tank. Most likely, we wouldn’t have fallen in that hole any time soon, but if we wouldn’t have found it, you never know. Phew.
So, now we are sludge free. The washing machine and toilet drain normally. And we are looking for a new septic tank lid. If you know anyone who has one lying around, not in use, let me know.
– The Goat Cheese Lady
P.S. They look like this: