Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Oh, poop.

 A decade or so ago, some of my friends and I got to be involved in hooking my parents' house up to the new sewer line on their road. It was a lot of work, since we went with human power rather than paying for a backhoe.

When I bought this house in 2002, I entered into a joint agreement with 5 other homeowners pertaining to a shared large-capacity cesspool, which happens to be located in my back yard.

At the time, no one told us that the EPA had passed rules in 1999 banning the construction of any new large-capacity cesspools (anything serving multiple houses, or more than 20 people, is considered large-capacity) and furthermore, setting a deadline of April 5, 2005 for removal of existing ones. We all found out that we'd have to get rid of it... right around February 28, 2005.

So anyway. We've all joined together, formed a community group to deal with it, gotten a civil engineer on board, who's filed plans with the EPA so we don't get fined $32,000 a day, and so on and so forth. The engineer came over today and managed to meet with a few of us and take a look at what we've got, the lay of the land, and all that.

Good news: we might be able to do some sort of gravity flow sewer instead of pumping uphill, if we can get an easement from a neighbor. (The uphill idea would have required one from a different neighbor that nobody knows.)

Bad news: it's still not going to be cheap.

Observation: we have a huuuuuge cesspool. Imagine, if you will, a hole about 10 feet across in solid lava rock, about 20-25 feet deep. Further imagine the top 10-15 feet of that hole not even having any poop in it, because of how huge the hole is, and the rate at which stuff seeps out.

Unfortunately, once we get done using the cesspool and switch over to sewer, apparently we'll be required to just fill it in with concrete or something, and not do anything truly useful like somehow sanitizing it and turning it into a bomb shelter, missile silo or secret underground clubhouse.

More news as it becomes available...

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