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Emptying the septic tank

This house is too far out into the middle of nowhere to have mains gas or mains drainage. It’s also too far from the nearest telephone exchange to stand any chance of having superfast (or even adequately fast) broadband – a fact that really used to upset Christopher. I’ve become resigned to the fact that internet access is more of a crawl than a sprint, and I’m happy to do without gas for cooking or heating. But the lack of mains drainage means that I have to deal with the septic tank.

The previous owner of the house didn’t believe in emptying it more than once a decade – his theory being that once you have a suitable mix of bacteria etc established, it more or less takes care of itself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really take into account modern cleaning products. They may claim to be “septic-tank friendly” (usually in very small print that is barely readable –  I’ve been given very funny looks for peering at bleach bottles in the supermarket) but I’m not 100% convinced. Standard advice is that the tank ought to be emptied annually.

Well, it’s coming up to nearly a year now since Chris died, and I knew full well that I hadn’t done anything about the tank. And we didn’t get it emptied last year either – with Chris so ill, we had other more pressing things on our minds. I had a vague recollection that Chris organised to have it emptied soon after he was made redundant, in autumn 2009 – I think I put it on his list of things to do. But the most recent evidence I could find in the form of an invoice was from 2008. So one way or another it clearly was well overdue.

I arranged for a licensed tanker to come on Friday to empty it,  and very fortunately – because I went back to the company we used in 2008 – they knew where the tank and access hatch were, so I did not need to be around to supervise them. Thank goodness – that would not have been pleasant! In fact, work sent me to a meeting down in Hampshire on Friday, so I was well out of the way, and came home to a note through the letterbox saying that it had all been done. Good timing!

I’m really noticing how much harder it is to run an old house now I’m on my own, compared to when Chris was around to share the burden. There is always something that needs doing, and it’s hard to keep on top of it all. Hopefully that’s it for the septic tank for another year (or several……). But as soon as I cross one thing off the list, another goes on – I have just noticed an area of brickwork by the kitchen that is going to need repointing before the winter. Oh well.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. paulD | 6 July 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that info, a number of houses we’ve seen to buy have septic tanks and i wondered about emptying intervals and effect of cleaning products.

    Personally i’d rather live off the gas main and have a few inconveniences than live on a modern estate surrounded with people. But then i’m lucky in that by chance despite being in country im only 1 mile from exchange so its 8MBit.

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  1. […] grave: “sort out car insurance”, “empty septic tank” (I’ve already done that one!), “arrange boiler service”. It’s nice in a way that he’s still helping me […]