Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Shit hole rejuvenated

Sorry for this vulgar title but let's face it, sex and sh...., these are potent centers of human interest. Thus I thought to give it a try and let's count the number of readers between now and one month from here. Right now, on the counter, the score is 2045!

The wording taken apart, here is a serious subject.

Living outside of a tiny village, this house is not linked to a sewage treatment installation where the toilet and washing water disappear through a pipe to an unknown destination. No, we have to do the job locally and the system is called "septic tank".

Quite ingenious: the waste liquid goes into a huge underground tank where the stuff ferments and the solids separate a bit from the water. Even the toilet paper is totally digested. That not so clean but reasonably clean water runs then through a quite large underground gravel bed and what comes out - but never to the surface - is clean water.

And every eight to ten years I have to order a tank truck to suck the stuff up, pay 200 € (about 250 US $), fill it with clean water and the cycle starts again.

Now it is well known that not all houses over here and elsewhere in rural France are thus equipped. Many farmers have simply a covered-up shit hole like their forefathers and are happy with this. But not the administration. So they voted a new law obliging every rural household to equip themselves with an up to date septic tank.

In order to win over the reluctant bone heads, the local administration organized meetings. Rough going. There was this old peasant yelling "I won't install your shit tank, only over my dead body". And adding, for good measure: "what we have is perfect and satisfied my family for 50 years. It works perfectly! Perfectly I tell you!!"

The last words were probably a mistake. There were catcalls. "Hey, Marcel, don't you remember the postman, some years ago? He fell into your shit hole with a letter for you and he couldn't even come out by himself. There was laughter, everybody roared. Even old Marcel joined in, at least he was in the center of interest. He'll do the job like everybody else and shell out the money.

So much for the basics.

The next step was to send an inspector to every house in the realm. The guy comes, you show him what you have, he makes an analysis of your system and gives you four year for upgrading. Here at home, I just had to upgrade by installing a ventilation and this I did.

On the last photo, you see the red-brown pipe chimney right above the gutter. That's me, I did it. And believe me, IT DOES NOT STINK. Halleluja!!