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Sewer problems

Already for five years or so I've been thinking that I should unclog the kitchen sink. And this has been one of those small practical duties I've just kept on postponing. After all, the waste water went away, it just took some time - so, as long as the sink was even barely working, there was no immediate need to fix it right away. Well, until last weekend, when it got completely stuck. First I grabbed a cup plunger, and tried to apply some pressure - only to find out that the waste water spilled out through the connections of drain pipes under the sink. Actually, all those pipes were completely full of water. I have been suspecting that the sewer itself is clogged, and already a year ago I bought a 10 m cable cleaner, which can be inserted into the pipe.

At first I thought that it is going to be a small simple think which just needs to get done. Right, so let's face it, no more postponing. So, I started with the opening of the sewer pipe near the kitchen floor. I tried to insert the cleaning cable into the pipe, but somehow I couldn't get it past the first 90 degree turn in the pipe. Maybe I'm not skilled enough in operating the cable? Maybe I need another kind of tool? Or maybe it is stuck right after the turn? Indeed, with a bright light of a led lamp I could see some brown ooze in the bottom of the turn.The following day I bought crystals of potassium hydroxide, and poured them into the sewer. Adding a cupful of water started a chemical reaction - it was like in sci-fi movies; there was hissing sound, and eerie vapour rising from the sewer, and I could see the brown ooze just dissolving into the liquid, disappearing out of sight as I can't see what happens after the pipe turns. I waited for 45 minutes and poured some hot water into the pipe. No luck, soon I saw the level of the water just rising inside the pipe - obviously, all that water was going nowhere.

The next morning there was no more water to be seen inside the pipe. So I poured in another load of potassium hydroxide and water, again listening to the promising hissing sound - something gets destroyed inside the pipe, for sure. I visited the local hardware store and found a cleaning tool made of thin metal - that seemed like something which could be navigated through a sharp turn. Again, I realized that the previous load of chemical did not solve the problem. I tried little bit of this and that, but no luck. I couldn't get any cleaning tool past the first turn, so it seemed that I'm running out of ideas. And I was afraid that maybe there might be something more seriously wrong, maybe the pipe is just disconnected, collapsed, or something like that. Maybe I need an inspection tube camera, to see what there is inside the sewer pipe.

The next day I started from the waste water well which is located some six - seven metres east of the house. I inserted the 10m cleaning cable into this end of the sewer pipe, and started working - I could insert nearly all of the cable into the pipe with no problem. Hmm, hmm, hmm. I went back into the kitchen, and got even more puzzled, as it seemed that the sewer pipe turns to west, instead of east. I tried again with the 10m cable, and this time I could drive it past the first turn. And after that it went smoothly, I could insert all of the 10 metres of cable into the sewer. But still, the water was going nowhere. If a metal cable can pass through, then sure the water could go the same route? Unless it is uphill, or the pipe is completely stuck somewhere farther away, where I can't reach with 10 metres of cable. But starting from the waste water well, the pipe seemed to be open. Maybe I really need a tube camera to figure this out?

Since the weekend I haven't washed the dishes, as I've been thinking that I'll just quickly fix the sewer problem and then I can wash the dishes when the sinks work again. Well, and the heap of dirty dishes has been slowly growing, so on Wednesday I changed my plan. I heated up a lot of water, and set up a washing place on an old plastic garden table. I located the table next to a dead apple tree, so that I could hang an electric light to the branches of the tree. Yes, it was already getting dark outdoors. And since it was The Equinox, I took a bottle of dark caribbean rum with me, to celebrate the turn of the year while washing dishes outdoors.

I also wrote in facebook, asking if any of my local friends have a tube camera I could borrow. There was a discussion, people offering different approaches, and me describing my situation. I was wondering if the kitchen sewer actually goes to someplace else, instead of the waste water well. And one of my local friends said that in their house there was a similar arrangement - the sewer pipe went to a nearby ditch. Hmm... When I bought my house, there was an electric sauna and a toilet, built inside the entrance part. And for those there were also sewers. Now, it is clear that the sewer pipe from the entrance part goes to the waste water well - if I pour water into the pipe, where the toilet used to be, I can see the water coming out from the pipe inside the well. So, if the kitchen pipe doesn't go into the well, then where does it go?

This got me thinking. When I was younger, I thought that I'd like to have a simple log house with no water pipes. Then there won't be problems like this, as there wouldn't be vital structures built underground, where they are hard to inspect and nearly impossible to maintain. Well, but a water tap and a kitchen sink are very handy and convenient to have - so let's see if I can get this figured out. And as we talked this in facebook, it suddenly came to my mind that several years ago when I fenced a separate pen for Pekka the Ram, there was a strange hole in the ground just inside Pekka's pen. And water kept on coming into that hole. I thought that is a system for keeping the cellar dry, as the hole was located near the cellar. But inside the cellar I couldn't find any pipes, so I didn't understand what that hole was for. The hole was about a size of 10 litre bucket. And I filled it with stones and soil. But now - thinking of it, the kitchen sewer pipe turns approximately toward the direction of the hole, and it is all downhill there. So maybe I have accidentally just filled up the hole where the other end of the sewer pipe is, and so the waste water has nowhere to flow? it just slowly gets absorbed into the soil?

Today in the morning I went to inspect. I tried to find the place where the hole was - but it was not easily found, as after several years the filled hole just blended into the surrounding terrain, and there was grass growing everywhere. I chose the most likely location, and started digging. After peeling away a thin layer of soil I hit a heap of stones - maybe these are the stones I once threw into the hole. I removed the stones and soil, and after a while I was met with the stink of a sewer. I kept on digging and soon I had an end of a plastic pipe uncovered. This must be where the kitchen sewer pipe goes to! So, once again I took the 10 metre cable and started to insert it into the pipe. And it was all stuck, completely. It felt like that the pipe is full of solid waste for metres and metres... But I thought that after that solid mass there should be a load of water, waiting to get through. So if I manage to make a small hole for the water, maybe the flowing water would make the ooze to flow out. I kept on working, several times removing the cable and inserting it again. And slowly I started to see some water flowing through. Yes! I removed the cable. And this time it was like a horror movie. First there was grey stinky goo slowly flowing out, then there was some burping and puking sounds, and then a black-brown-grey sausage of organic waste splashed out, releasing a flood of waste water spilling all around the place. (At this point I asked myself, what exactly was the reason to do this kind of work before eating my breakfast - all this smelly goo doesn't have any positive effect to ones appetite...)

Ah, but after so many years of postponing the issue, after several days of failed attempts, the kitchen sewer is finally unclogged!

washing the dishes
washing the dishes
goo!
goo!
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Comments

Oh wow. Plumbing work always sucks! Hehe. It is good to see that it's all unclogged!

The septic system at the new/old house is really good. I don't think it's needed any messing with for at least 40 years. But the one at this house, the one I am moving out of, it is always freezing up in the winter. Ugh. I will be glad to be rid of it when I am finally out of here for good, heh.

Hey, sorry if I've missed this in the narrations of your videos, but are you planning to move in to the "new/old house" this year before the winter? Or was it just so that you'd like to get some work done before winter, but finally moving in only later on?

Well, I was originally hoping to be in there by this winter, but the contractor that I am going to pay to fix that rotten sill can't do it until the middle of winter. I don't think I can do that job by myself without the house falling down, lol, so I guess I will wait and get moved in proper-like next summer....

I may still get a kerosene heater and try to just live in that one room, but.... I'd have to be draining the pipes all the time to keep them from freezing, and I am not sure if I want to be doing that all the time.

And I still need to do some work on the house I am moving out of before I stop paying rent on it. A soft spot in the floor and new carpet and a general deep-cleaning to get all of the cat hair out. So I guess I will just try to move most of my stuff to the new house to make room for all of that here, until summer.

Are the videos too long? Should I try to keep things a little more short and to the point?

That sounds like a reasonable plan, and it gives you more time for a "smooth transition", slowly moving your stuff to The Polecatstead, and getting things ready and prepared. Sounds good to me.

Ah, I think your videos are good the way they are. I like all the atmopshere there is. Little details, like the background sounds of those birds - they are different from ours. I especially enjoyed the footage where you are preparing the pine needles without any narration; just to watch the process, trying to guess what will come out of the preparations =)

On my part, I was wondering if I'd better watch and comment on your youtube channel, as other people seem to do that. More likes and comments contribute to more active community feedback, as it is nice to get to read what the others comment. But I've been just following your blog site, so that I won't miss if you post text or some other extra material which doesn't get to the youtube channel. Hmm. But maybe I could switch to youtube as well?

And, then it is still just me trying to develop a habit of watching youtube videos =) I'm that much more text-guy myself. But watching videos on a tablet while drinking morning coffee - that has been fine, but then I don't like typing comments with the tablet touch-screen, especially if I have a mug of coffee in my hand and a cat on my lap =) Hehe, so I still need to figure out how to best watch and comment, also trying to keep up to date. If there is a period when I don't watch videos as you post them, I tend to miss a video or two, when I try to catch up.

Cool.

Nah man, watch them where ever it's most convenient for you. I don't really care too much about my youtube stats, I just do it for fun. Lol.

I should do more text stuff. I originally intended for the videos to just kind of supplement text stuff, but it ended up being so much easier to just strap a camera to my head and do stuff, than to go through the whole writing and photo-editing process. Hehe.

I can't even imagine the smell, unclogging the bend under a normal toilet sink is bad enough, but that...

The sheer amount of goo makes me believe that it has been building up inside the pipe already before I moved into the house (which was back in the 2008). And the house was empty for ten years before I came. So, it might be that some of the goo and ooze has been rotting there for more than twenty years, producing this monster sausage of solid horror =)

Several years ago before I moved back here to my home town in the countryside, I was an electrician....

One day I was working on some pump starter relays for a huge septic tank that served a whole little gated retirement community. Some of the electrical conduit was mounted inside the septic tank, to the ceiling. I was hanging in there by a climbing harness type contraption, and had all of my tools in a tool belt, working on splicing some stuff inside of some junction boxes under there.

Anyway, I lost my balance and flipped upside-down in that harness, and dumped all of my tools into the sewage (and also cursed loudly and at great length). It was a new installation and hadn't been fully placed into service yet, so there was only like 2" of poop-sludge in the bottom, but it was still really gross to recover all of my tools. D:

But tools are expensive, and I wasn't going to leave them down in there hahaha.

Do you plan on letting the soil absorb the water or irrigating it elsewhere?

Most likely I'm just going to let it be like it is now. As long as I use eco-friendly dishwashing liquid, the waste waters shouldn't contain any harmful substances. So, letting the soil absorb the water feels like an OK solution. On the upper corner of my yard there is a small pond, which provides me with plenty of irrigation water for my garden.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCKkHqlx9dE

Terve. Tässä mielenkiintoista katsottavaa. Ajattelin että sopisi hyvin teemaan.

That is one of my favorite youtube channels. :D

Coincidence, but mine either :)

Yes, the channel seems to be pretty popular. And no wonder, he does some quality work there.

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