Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Septic system failure & repair June 2016

Sometime back last summer I noticed there was a sinkhole behind the shrubbery under our bedroom window up against the foundation of the house. I called Michael's attention to this and kind of left it to him to decide how urgently it needed to be dealt with. Honestly I was probably too busy with the garden and riding the horses to think too much about it.

Winter came and went and we got some snowfall then a lot of rain. The first time I went behind the shrubbery to install the hoses for spring I was shocked at how big the hole had gotten and showed Michael. It was actually big enough that I started thinking it might be a hazard - as in someone might fall into it!

Finally weeks later the much awaited day of Michael & Kane's departure for fishing in Canada for a week had come. Interestingly, all of the toilets in the house and both bathtubs started behaving strangely that morning: burping, making bubbly noises and then all of the drains stopped working. We plunged and things seemed to clear up but that didn't last long ... Luckily I had made a Monday 8am appointment w the plumber for him to come by and give us a hand.

Saturday I realized that the tubs weren't draining when I took a shower then came into the laundry room to find the overhead piping rapidly dripping & leaking shower water. Soon we had many buckets of water in the laundry room. They were tossed outside a couple of times. The plumber (T&C Plumbing, Hampshire IL http://www.totalcareplumbing.com/) was kind of enough to pick up the phone when I called in a panic Saturday night and said he'd be at the house by 8am Sunday to see what was going on.

We walked through the property to see that the septic field seemed to be working fine and then headed up toward the house to see if we could figure out where the septic tank might be. That was when I mentioned to the plumber, "Hey we have this interesting looking sinkhole behind the house - Do you think it might be related to our septic problem?" Might be?? MIGHT?

We marched to the house and peered into the gaping, moist-looking hole. Tim looked at me and I looked at him, then we went into the house to see where the plumbing outlets from the house to the outdoors were located. Well what did you know? The sewer outlet was located exactly where that sinkhole was found! Weird coincidence? No ... the main pipe between the foundation and the septic tank for the septic system was broken ! Huge problem & an immediate emergency. This would have to be fixed tomorrow and would take all day.

Monday morning at 8am I was waiting in the driveway with all of the cars moved out of the way, a wide path cleared to the sinkhole behind the house for the equipment and a path cleared through the garage and into the basement water closet for the workday. Tim got to work immediately on getting a few things straightened out in the closet that I had planned a long time ago while he waited for his twin brother to arrive with the big equipment. Finally at around 10am they were underway!

Enjoy the photos. 

The really gross sinkhole next to my foundation.

The diggy at work.
All of the old, decrepit cast iron piping has been removed & replaced with all brand new construction-grade PVC from inside the house (photo below) to the head of the septic tank (photo above)

Other projects completed: 1. Added a pond sump line with winter bypass and 2. Retrofit the gray water & sump water pits with new pumps and piping.
Access to the septic tank - This will be pumped out hopefully in the next day or two then the hole can be covered back up. 

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