Saturday, July 29, 2006

Connected !

This past spring, our town extended sewer lines up our road to the small collection of houses in our hamlet. This is part of the final stages of the town's project to expand the water treatment plant and connect as much of the municipality to it as feasible. Until now, our waste water (sinks, shower, washing machine, etc.) ran out into the woods and our toilet was connected to a holding tank that we had to have emptied periodically. Yuck.

We had accepted a bid a couple of months ago and yesterday the guys showed up to connect us to the new line. Here's how it went:

In the photo above, the round thing in the upper right is the sewer connection point at the edge of our property; this is what we need to connect to for our waste water to go into the system. The workers began digging a trench and found three things: first, a root, no problem; second, a rainwater drain pipe that was broken, again no problem (they fixed it), and third, our heating fuel tank which was blocking the way between the house and the street connection (hard to see in this photo, but it's there), big problem.

After calling their boss and much fussing and cussing, they decided to find the end of the tank and run the pipes around it, a small detour of a few feet under two small stone walls that had to be dug by hand - that last part was the reason for the fussing and cussing. Work continued.

Next, they uncovered the holding tank. Actually, they had the holding tank pumped and washed out before uncovering it. It holds three cubic meters of, well, you know what. Once it was uncovered, the task of breaking it up could begin.

The 3 cubic meter concrete holding tank is uncovered. The concrete square at the top is the tank's access lid which never fit very well.

The guy in the backhoe tried to pound the concrete tank with the big machine to no avail. It took another guy with a sledgehammer to actually break apart the concrete by hand. It was amazing to watch.

A worker breaks through the concrete tank with a sledgehammer.

After opening up the tank and cutting through all the re-bar, they started filling in the tank with debris and dirt while digging the remainder of the trenchs.

Trenching is done by backhoe.

A passage is cut in the side of the tank to allow the new pipe to pass through.

The pipes are laid in place: on top, the connection to the toilet; on the bottom, the connection to the grey water outlet.

Two pipes from the house had to be connected to the line and an access point installed (for cleaning every so often). Once that was done all that remained was to fill in the trenches, compact the soil, and re-spread the stones over the work area. Everything except the final sand compaction and stone-spreading was done in one day. The rest was completed the next morning and this is now what it looks like:

Peace and quiet again!

We will not miss the ugly access point to the holding tank whose lid didn't fit all that well and which I had to uncover periodically to check the level of the waste (a stinky job). We aslo had to keep a tarp over it to prevent rainwater from filling it up and we needed bricks on top of the tarp to keep the wind from blowing it away, and that was truly unsightly!


  1. I remember when my childhood house was hooked up to the municipal sewer system. Before that we were using a well for water and a septic tank for the waste water. Hooking up to the sewer system meant we had to start paying for water, but the sewage disposal part was a huge plus.

    Thanks for the great explanation. Glad you got rid of that holding tank!

  2. As Ken has said, we've just taken a giant leap into the 20th century! We've even had the "ceremonial flush."


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