So what do you do when you discover a blockage somewhere in the outflow from your upstairs toilet? Now, normally, had we still been on mains drainage our first thought would have been to grab the Yellow Pages and look for our nearest Dynarod or equivalent and got them to come and deal with it all.
(By now I expect you are either totally grossed out or nodding and saying "yup, been there, done that". Sorry if the former in which case don't read on!)
However there's something about having a septic tank that makes you that little bit more self-reliant, as for a start you are more aware of what goes into your toilet (nothing but the obvious and toilet paper) and how it all gets, shall we say, processed by the bacteria in the tank and that hopefully, only reasonably cleanish water comes out at the other end. So you think, OK, let's see if we can sort this out ourselves.
First port of call - ask on a local forum what other people have done in similar circumstances. Hooray! It just so happened that a friend who lives 20 mins away has a drain upblocky thingywotsit that attaches to a Karcher (pressure washer) and knows how to do this. So over she comes with it. (Photo credits to her by the way - I was too mucky and having far too much fun to remember to take photos....)
So we lift off the lid and we look and we have a poke around and realise we need to deturf some more cos there's more to this tank than we thought. I also realise I'm kneeling on the underside of the tank lid which is covered in scum!
|Note the big grin on my OH's face.|
Right time to get down to business, note all the marigold gloves. As it turned out they weren't long enough but we didn't know anyone who has those long gloves for sticking your arm up a cow's backside which could have come in handy....
|Grins gone temporarily as we umm and ahhh and decide what to do next, |
now that we have two holes to look into.
Somewhere down here there's a pipe where the loo contents enter, only the entrance is under water somewhere, quite a long way down. I tried first and let me say, bin bags are NOT waterproof. So my OH who has longer arms had to have a go. He failed miserably as well as the hole was too deep down. And got a wet arm too.
By the way, because our tank is very healthy there was hardly a pong and apart from a bit of surface crust the water was really not mucky. You probably don't believe a word I'm saying, if anyone is still reading, that is.
|Taping a bin liner around his arm. Serious face on.|
So, plan C, or D, or wherever we had got up to. Try to stick the unblocky hose thingy round the U bend of the downstairs toilet. Now this was mucky because earlier in the day it had overflowed all over the floor of my hallway, due to my dear OH repeatedly flushing the upstairs loo to try to shift the blockage. Ooops. I couldn't get the hose in due to the strange design of our U bend which was rather tight but I had a lot of fun trying. Honest! You can see from my face I was having fun!
|All in a day's work.|
Eventually the problem was solved by drilling a hole into the pipe in the septic tank where the toilet outflow comes in, above the water level, and sticking the hose up that, which worked a treat. We've not had any problems since and we know what to do if it happens again. All in all, a good afternoon was had by all. Thank you for reading, if you got this far!
(Now here's the mysterious bit. This blockage happened soon after we returned from holiday and French housesitters had been here looking after the house and menagerie. The only thing we found floating in the septic tank which shouldn't have been there was a small label with a name and logo on. Upon Googling said name we discovered it was a French cheese we had never heard of before. So we are left with a mystery as to whether someone flushed a lump of cheese down the toilet causing the blockage, or ate the label.)