Homeowner's Nightmare

By Scott Morrell; posted April 25, 2011

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Today I noticed my front lawn was kind of mushy and stinky. This couldn't be good. Sure enough, effluent wasn't draining out of my underground septic vault. It was overflowing on the lawn instead. Now I knew I finally had to face my own s***

I spent my Easter afternoon digging a trench six feet long and four feet deep. I discovered two feet of PVC drain pipe exiting the septic vault with a rubber collar and hose clamp attached to the lower end. But something very important was missing: a pipe to connect it to!

By now the hole was filling with unpleasant stuff. I kept digging, figuring I had to find the other end of a drain pipe somewhere. Suddenly, all the water drained. The rest of the drain pipe appeared... three feet away(!). That end also had a hose clamp on it, but where was the missing three foot section??

I studied this loony situation. I realized somebody unearthed this section of drain years ago to replace a three foot section. They prepped the ends of both pipes. Then they decided they had something better to do, filled the hole with dirt, and walked away! They left two ends of drain pipe disconnected with three feet of earth in between!

Fortunately our steep hill assisted the effluent to find its way all the years we've lived here. Our luck finally ran out this rainy spring. Thankfully, this is an inexpensive fix. But I'd sure like to throttle the guy who didn't finish the job the first time! **************************

After speaking to "septic experts," I learned there was probably an old cement pipe in the "missing section." Most likely, the septic gasses caused it to disintegrate over the years. I did find a few chunks of mortar-like material in this trench. After the repair, I threw a bunch of common insulators in the bottom of the trench for future archaeologists to find!