Life in the Countryside

Septic tank

So one of the joys of living in the countryside is that whilst we are connected to mains water we are not connected to mains sewage. So that means we have a septic tank sunken in the garden. It also has a soak away which basically means that solid waste stays in the bottom and liquid waste can soak away into the ground and provide nutrients to the soil. Pretty gross when you think about and one friend who I told about it actually wrinkled up her nose when I told her. So in theory you end up having the solid waste removed and the liquid waste is recycled. The septic tank was emptied was just before we moved in and then we had it emptied again just last week as we noticed it was rather full. We’ve had a really wet winter here and so I think the soak away has struggled to drain the liquid away fast enough.

One major advantage of a septic tank is that you don’t have to pay for mains sewage on your water bill, which for us has left us with a tiny monthly bill. Instead you only pay when you have your tank emptied. Which I guess depends on how much water you use. I do like my baths and with a toddler we tend to use the washing machine and dishwasher with great regularity. Whilst we were having the work done over the past few weeks we have had the cover to the tank replaced as it was broken and the last thing you want to have is an open septic tank in the garden. 

When we were having one of the trenches dug up this past week our builder encountered a tree root which had cracked the pipe leading into the tank and was starting to infiltrate it. We had a crab apple tree just inside the entrance to the property which we cut down in the autumn that appears to be the culprit. The plus side is we’ve at least discovered this problem and our fabulous builder was able to remove the section of cracked pipe and replace it. I dread to think of what could have happened if the pipe burst! 

2 thoughts on “Septic tank

  1. The trees growing into the plumbing is not something we encounter in Alaska. When I was living in DC, and my neighbor’s old maple tree grew into my 80-year terracotta pipes, all the way into my house, I was SHOCKED but impressed. Smart tree for going after all of those nutrients. That tree also screwed up my neighbor’s and the city’s plumbing.


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