Saturday, April 19, 2008

La douche de merde

Yesterday morning I was looking into a tank of stinky water.
Some neighbours had returned to their holiday home to find that their fosse septique was misbehaving.
To be precise, the fosse itself wasn't the problem, it was the overflow tank next to it. This tank has a submersed pump that pushes the excess water over the road and into a sand filter in the garden. The pump wasn't working and the tank was full of water. It seems that one of the pipes was leaking and needed repairing, as well as having the pump sorted out.
But before any repairs could be undertaken the tank would have to be pumped out. It had been pumped out a couple of days ago using a neighbour's petrol driven pump.
We got the pump out of his barn, attached the hoses, dropped the suction hose into the tank and fired up the pump. It ran noisily for a while but didn't pump anything.
I checked the hoses were connected the right way round, and read the instructions on the side of the pump.
"Ensure the pump casing is full of water before starting the pump"
Ah! It need priming. I took the cap off the top of the pump cover and disconnected the outlet hose. No point walking backwards and forwards to the end of the pipe to see if water is coming out. I carefully pointed the pump away from my direction, and fired up the pump.
Still lots of noise and exhaust, but no water coming out.
Now this tank is full of the overflow water from the fosse septique. No solids, but it's pretty manky water all the same. Quite ripe. That rich smell you get from sewers on a hot day. Clears the sinuses.
The problem with the pump, (it seems obvious to me) is that the suction pipe has air in it and it needs to be full of water before the pump will start to pull. So I pick up the little pump (while it's running)and lower it into the tank so that the suction pipe can get filled with water.
Unfortunately, I had not reconnected the priming cap, nor the outlet hose.
My premise was correct. As soon as the suction hose was full, the pump started to work. And pumped a pile of nasty water over my head.
I was speechless for a few seconds as the enormity of the event sank in. Luckily most of the mess was on the 2 sweatshirts I was wearing, the shirt underneath them was dry.
It's one of the risks involved in plumbing, I suppose, I've been knee deep in the stuff before, but never showered in it.


At 6:15 pm, Blogger aims said...

Okay - you got it - EWWWWWWW!!


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