Week 6: Septic

Now that they know how deep the hole thru the foundation for wastewater is, they started building the septic system. We knew this when a steady stream of dump trucks began arriving at dawn.  I think he said 14 loads of mound sand got trucked to the site.

They ‘plowed’ the site of the mound trenches by poking the turf with the excavator tines, breaking it up into breadloaf-sized chunks, but leaving it in place. All those loads of sand went on top, in a long, straight pile.

They dug a hole for the septic tank and pump housing about 8′ x 20′ and a mile deep, about a foot to the right of the buried daylight drains. The daylight trench had an immovable rock in it, forcing the pipes to the far right of the trench, so this  hole was just missing the pipes. If it was me, I would have hit the pipes and made a mess of it, but: These guys are good.

The next morning, our alarm clock was the sound of a truck backing up. At least that’s what Mary tells me: I heard nothing. I rushed thru my cats and coffee routine and headed next door to watch the show. The septic tank and pump station had arrived, and the truck had a crane built into it. If you think about it, this is a no-brainer: if you show up without a way to unload, then you’d better hope there’s an excavator and chains at the site. I just love hydraulic toys, and I watched, open-mouthed, as the arm unfurled itself, lifted the tanks, and set them down gently in the hole, exactly where they belonged. The ‘forearm’ even had a triple-concentric cylinder to extend its reach by several feet.  Very cool!

I left them alone to work, and in a couple of hours, the tanks were plumbed to the house and mound, backfilled, and covered up, with a couple of access ports sticking up above grade. In Westford, the septic tank was just a couple feet from the house, so to pump it, you had to remove a few bricks in the patio and then re-assemble it. The new  tank is 21′ out, so there is plenty of room for a patio, and we’ll probably plant a garden above the tanks.

They went back to working on the mound, and dug 2 shallow trenches on the top of the sand pile, filled them with gravel, and assembled the distribution pipes. The engineer showed up to inspect, and they finished it off with more gravel, more sand, and a layer of topsoil. Problem is that both faces of the long pile were sloped at 3:1, and the result was butt ugly. I asked about it, and the guy said it had to be 3:1 because that’s what the drawing said. Mary’s not going to like this. So I emailed Pion and generally made a pest of myself. In the end, Bernie and Pion both said that the slope can be eased during the final grading.


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