I grew up as pretty much a city girl.  Or at least city enough to not have to worry about what happens after you flush the toilet.  Out here, in the almost boonies, we have something called a septic tank. 

As far as I can figure out, everything that is flushed down the drain goes into this tank that happens to be buried in our back yard.  The water part drains into the dirt in our yard (in technical terms it’s called a drain field) while the rest of it…well, I’m not sure I really want to think of what happens to that…

Anyways, you are supposed to get these tanks cleaned out every few years.   (Now that’s one job that I really wouldn’t want to have) So, being the somewhat responsible homeowner that I am, I called to have our tanks pumped.  (I really should have had this done a year or so ago, but you did note the “somewhat” responsible part, right?)  When I was quoted the cost, I was told that it would cost $85 an hour extra if they had to do any digging…and they charged only by the hour. 

Being the cheap frugal person that I am, I had no choice but  to start digging.  My dad I and went out back with shovels in hand and a vague idea of where the tank might be.  After probing with a thin metal rod and digging up several holes, I thought it might be a good idea to hop online and look up septic tanks to get an idea of what we were looking for.   Just in case you are ever wondering, the Internet won’t tell you where you keep your septic tank. 

A few phone calls to the county later, we headed out towards the health department to have them look up the location of my tank on microfiche. We stared at the barely legible printout with a sinking feeling.  We had driven all the way out there to get something that made as much sense as Greek to us.  Fortunately the kind-hearted lady that had helped us noticed our bafflement and asked if we wanted to have an inspector translate the document for us.  The inspector wasn’t nearly as friendly, but he took pity on us and did his best to explain what we were looking at.  Dad and I decided that we would   resume our hole digging the next day. 

My plan was that if I didn’t  mention the fact that our back yard was all dug up, nobody would notice.  Of course, I was wrong.  The family that doesn’t always detect haircuts or even that the furniture has been rearranged, immediately noted the holes in the yard.  When I explained to Shaun why we were digging, he just laughed at me.  He has a hard time understanding why I would put in all that time and hard work, just to save a few dollars.  (A few? It’s eighty-five!!)  How could I have married a man that just doesn’t understand these things?

The septic guys will be here first thing tomorrow morning.  I can only hope that they appreciate our magnificent  hole that reveals what I’m almost positive is the septic tank. 

Maybe they won’t notice all those smaller holes surrounding it…

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12 Responses to Holes

  1. photowannabe says:

    I think that’s the first time I ever read and commented on septic tanks. You have made a rather unpleasant subject funny and I am anxious to hear how this all turns out.

  2. oddmix says:

    There should be a clean out hatch on the tank. I hope you didn’t try and uncover the entire tank!

    Did you know that the call the SST ($#!& Sucking Truck) a Honey Wagon? Go figure.

  3. J-Funk says:

    I’m actually pretty surprised you could find it! When my mom moved off her farm last year she had the same problem and the septic tank guys had to come out twice (and in between there were several phone calls to the previous owners, the previous company that cleaned it, and the ex-husband, all who only had vague ideas of where it might be). She had a lot of land around her house so there were a lot of possibilities and it turns out it was completely not where we thought it was.

    I propose that all country houses have a diagram in the foyer of the land surrounding the house with a big (brown?) arrow pointing to where the septic tank is. That would really help.

  4. Lynne says:

    Country livin’, you gotta love it! We are on septic here too and it was pumped before we moved in. We know right where it is because the hatch sticks up a bit. And, contrary to Erma Bombeck’s belief, the grass is NOT always greener over the septic tank!
    🙂 At least ours isn’t!

  5. Lynne says:

    I hope this doesn’t show up twice, but I hit submit and nothing happend. Just ignore me if it does…

    You gotta love country livin’. Your story may not be over just yet …

    We have septic here too, but we know right where ours is. The clean-out hatch makes the ground stick up just a bit. We won’t have to worry a few years since it was done right before we moved in.

    And, contrary to popular belief and Erma Bombeck, the grass is NOT always greener over the septic tank. At least our isn’t.

  6. I had to replace my septic tank several years ago. Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you look at it, the top of my tank had rusted and caved in so sewage was seeping up in my yard clearly defining where the septic tank was!!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Ewww…..septic tank. But on an up note you are saving so much more money than we have to pay for our sewer. Do you also have a well? I sooooo wanted to have a house with a well and septic of it’s own. I want off the grid as much as I can!!! Not really feasable in Kirkland though :O)

  8. Jay says:

    Our septic tank was easy to find. Well, it was after it collapsed and created a sink hole in the front yard. haha

  9. mrs darling says:

    Oh my, I hope its okay that I laughed. I do feel for you though! 🙂

  10. gawilli says:

    Here is my septic tank story – when I was a kid I would ride with my dad in his dump truck on Saturday’s while he hauled black dirt. (He said this was to bring in some extra money, although I think he really liked getting out of the house.) I would take my crayons and coloring books and sit alongside him in the truck. One time we were taking some dirt to a newly constructed house where they were landscaping their yard. The owner met us at the end of the driveway and motioned to my dad to back the truck into the yard. He was walking in front of the truck directing my dad’s movement. The next thing I knew I was laying on my back looking out of the windshield at the sky, with my crayons and books on my chest. Obviously he did not know where his septic tank was either. He had directed my dad to drive right over it. Oooh, my dad was hot. Although this was an effective way to locate the septic tank, it is not one I would recommend.

  11. Michelle says:

    I love this story. Period.

  12. Tink says:

    Most of the tanks in Florida are above ground with nothing but grass covering them. No mistaking where that is. The rednecks sometimes have picnics on top of them. F’n disgusting.

    My Mom was one of the fortunate ones. She had a buried tank. But it it was in the front yard. When it overflowed, the whole street smelled like poo. When they came to empty it, the “stuff” rose from the lid like a cake.

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