Our mainland septic system tossed us a mini worry today. My nose told me something was up!

I was heading downstairs and smelled something stinky. Not exactly sewage, but not pleasant either (grey water is most odiferous). My first stop was the downstairs bathroom where indeed there was water on the floor. I flushed the toilet and watched water ooze out from between the floor and the loo. At least it was clear! Next thing was to remove the potted fern that sits atop the ‘tile’ (an 3/8” – 18” round and deep piece of PVC pipe my dad gave me years ago to save us from digging up the lid to the cistern when the sewer pump needed maintenance). It was full of water, meaning the pump wasn’t working.

I took this news to my husband, whose reaction was not exactly sunshine and daisies. After looking in my contacts for out septic pump pump company, it dawned on me to check the circuit panel, and guess what? The breaker was flipped 😳. I turned it back on and the water in the tile vanished. Next question in my mind, “What the hell caused that to happen??

Next day

Turns out a little power surge/failure two mornings ago probably caused the pump to flip its breaker. No IP address, but kinda smart of it! The tank was pumped, the pump itself given a clean bill of health, and the septic folks will get back with us about installing an alarm that informs you when your system is down so you don’t have to find out with your nose. What I find mildly amusing about all this is that the Island house is running on a 62-year old septic system with out the benefit of alarms or pumps. Just good old-fashion gravity. In the last 4.5 years, our mainland system has needed professional (and thank God for those professionals!) attention three times, including a new pump. The Island house needed attention once, and the problem was basically caused by lack of use. While we have no choice but to pump waste water uphill, bells, whistles and technology are not always better in the world of household septic management!

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