Graywater saga – part 7

With Bill’s and Phillip’s help, we were able to completely unearth the offending pipe, and Mr. Ruby came back and did his magic and all was well, except that he pointed out that it might be better, in the future, to send the graywater to a separate tank of its own.  Again, it’s been a number of years, and I don’t recall all the details, but when Scott got home from his trip and found out what all we had had to do, he was motivated to divide the gray water from black water, so to speak.

At that point, as we had been fairly under-impressed by Ruby Plumbing, Scott called Friendly Plumbing to get an estimate on what would be involved and what it would caused to part the waters, so to speak.  The following may not be all correct in detailed and logical order, but I’ve had a few memory lapses since then.  Here’s what happened next:

It was decided to install a separate tank for the gray water (kitchen and laundry room) out in the side yard, past the smokehouse.  The challenge would be to properly locate a leach field for this tank.  Water tends to flow downhill, so a leach field is generally positioned downhill of a tank.  The only space downhill from the proposed gray water tank location was filled with (A) the septic tank, and (B) the septic tank’s leach field.  What to do?

Well, the new tank could be put somewhere else, but doing so would require longer pipe(s) with more convoluted angle(s) to get the gray water to it.  And, the farther you run the pipe from the house, the deeper the tank has to be, in order for the gray water to run downhill into the tank.  Any different position of the tank would require it to be set lower down into the earth, which would require the leach line(s) to be even deeper, all of which would cost more money.  Cha-Ching.

At this point, some brainiac came up with the idea of positioning the tank as planned, and running a single very long, straight leach line, from the tank toward the back of our property, parallel to Coffee Road and just inside the row of trees that lines Coffee Road.  Yes, there would be a lot of roots to deal with, but if the trench were dug deeply enough, water would still drain properly.

The Friendly Plumbing guys hired someone with a backhoe to come and dig the hole for the tank and the trench for the leach line.  It was quite the operation to behold, and what with all the excavation, the mini-crane lifting the tank off the truck and into its hole, and the pipe-laying (all general science), and the exposure of ALL those tree roots for our examination (biology), I’m sure I gave the kids lots of homeschool hours.

We got to watch them connect everything up – and redo our glorious hand-dug ditch (sigh) – and lay gravel in the leach trench.  It took a LOT of gravel, and after they had a truckload delivered, we still had some left.  Yes, that extra gravel is still piled over beside the driveway, right near the dead swingset.  Anyway.

This whole project stretched over the better part of a couple weeks, as I recall, and it was a royal mess in the back and side yards.  I’m not sure at what point the pump was brought into the mix.  Maybe it was planned all along, or maybe the light bulb came on when they had dug the leach line trench halfway to China and realized the pipe still wouldn’t be sloping downward enough for it to drain.  In any case, the decision was made to install a pump, so that when the liquid in the gray water tank came up to the level of the out-going pipe, it would be pumped out and uphill into the leach line.  This was done, but before continuing the story, I must explain why we found Friendly Plumbing to be so poorly named.

(to be continued. . . )


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