Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Have You Ever Taken a Shower in the Sewer?

OK, so this may not be coming from a place of charity but sometimes life can be pretty funny. Poor Doug was put in one of those situations that would win the grand prize on America's Funniest Home Videos if only we had a camera going. Who would have thought to have a camera going while working in the sewer, right?

A little background. Most homes have their sewage hooked directly up to pipes that run under the street. Where we live the pipes are too shallow to go directly to the street so we have what is called a sewer pump. There is a big bucket that collects the black water then when the bucket gets full the pump will shoot it up the pipes to go to the street pipes. This is all well and good until the pump breaks down and the alarm quits working. This is what we faced over the last few days.

If you have ever seen a pump function it is pretty cool. We have a water feature in the front yard and when we clean it someone hoses the rocks down to clean the dirt out. The pool at the end collects the water and when it fills up we stick the pump down in the water, turn it on and we have a geyser about 6 feet tall that sprays all the water out of the hole. It is pretty fun to do and watch.  Unfortunately, this same principle applies to sewer pumps even when you don't want it to.:))

There was a musty smell in the house for a couple of weeks that we couldn't determine the source. Saturday, the source became pretty clear as the smell turned from musty to stinky. We started to get whiffs of an outhouse. We knew just where to look. Yes, there was moisture around the base of the bucket that stores the sewer. Just so you aren't grossed out, this bucket doesn't stay very full because at our house it is pumped out numerous times a day. This bucket has a good sealing system but if it overflows there is an escape so we don't have sewage backing up in the whole house. This is where the moisture was coming from.

OK, to make a story that lasts a few days short I will cut to the chase. Doug was down in our crawl space replacing the pump. Our crawl space is very nice and has a thick layer of pea gravel. Things were going rather quick and 20 minutes into the project he was putting in the new pump. One of the kids came running into the kitchen and said "Mom, I think Dad needs help, he's yelling." When Dad needs help I run. It usually means he needs extra hands quick. Creed and I ran down and there he was soaking wet. Yep, wet with sewage dripping down his chin and off his hair!! He decided to test the pump before putting it all together and turned it on. It worked, so without thinking he put it into the bucket, this same bucket that was full of sludge. The next thing he knew there was sewage spewing all over the crawl space and storage area. Thankfully he had emptied the solids before beginning the project but in this situation there was much sludge that comes from the solids sitting long enough to breakdown and turn into a mud type substance. You can picture an outhouse and all that is in there without the solid.

I timidly asked if I could bring the hose in the house because I knew who's job it would be to clean this up. I think Doug was ready to barf and was not a happy camper. Really who would be at this point. The hose came in and the Clorox came out. When the job was done Doug stripped down, the kids herded off and he stepped from one towel to the next as he went to the nearest bathroom to shower. I was a little surprised when he came up for dinner not 10 minutes later. Guarantee, I would have run the water heater out while using a whole bar of soap.

I wasn't the best wife. I stood there in that storage area laughing and joking about the situation. Doug didn't join in but that night he too was laughing. Every time I retell the story I just laugh harder. Who really can say they took a shower in the sewer?

Sorry about the poor quality. I didn't want to take the good camera down into that. Everything that you see is wet from the pump accident. The dark in the hole is the wet gravel that had to be shoveled out and washed down. As it soaked into the rocks there were patties that formed. You know, like a cow patty. We used A LOT of water and didn't care one bit if it hurt the sheet rock. I was a little concerned about the clothes closet on the other side of the wall and the carpet.

See the brown on the wall to the left? Yep, sewer. That is after we wiped some off. The other wall was generously doused as well. It's a good thing all the Christmas stuff was taken out before hand.

Dont' worry we cleaned up very good. We had to have the doors and windows open the rest of that night and through the next day. The smell in the house was a mixture of a swimming pool and an outhouse.

Everything is great now. No smell and the sewer is running perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. I was in public so I couldn't laugh out loud but really wanted to! If anyone saw me I am sure I looked funny bouncing up and down. I am glad to know that even Dad can make dumb mistakes once in a while and laugh about it.