The signs of a sluggish septic system have been haunting our household for a month or two. At first it acted like a periodic plug, solved with a simple plunge or a five gallon bucket of water poured from chest height. However, the commode contents weren’t always eliminated after such calisthenics. Rusty, suspecting a full septic tank, consulted with a plumber friend who showed up early one morning. As soon as he yanked the toilet off the floor, it smelled like the tank was wide open. You didn’t need a trained nose to distinguish the distinctive septic aroma. After some serious snaking and meticulous measuring, the plumber and assistant found the exact location of the septic tank and found it to be flowing freely. It was five feet below ground surface under a lilac tree that Rusty had planted six years ago. Back inside, the toilet was wax ringed and given a prognosis that “it was old and needed to be replaced.” Could it be – a worn out toilet? Rusty thought maybe another opinion was needed so he took the toilet’s history and headed to the local plumbing shop. Dave, plumbing extraordinaire, had never heard of a worn out toilet and suggested loaning his closet auger to clean out the toilet’s trap. Sure enough, things were flowing so smoothly that Rusty was ready to kiss Dave when returning the borrowed tool. A week later, the flush just didn’t have it’s get up and go after Rusty got up and went. So Claire was sent to buy the auger for lifetime use; this remedied the flow for a few days and then stopped (up). At this point Rusty jumped on the porcelain throne and swore he would get to the bottom of the problem. Carrying the victim out the front door and placing it on its side, he was now ready to pressure wash “whatever” out of the toilet. As he geared up for business, he noticed something peculiar inside the toilet’s floor hole. He fetched a pair of pliers and grabbed hold of the shiny gold item as he bent and twisted it. Out popped a lid from a quart canning jar! Apparently an ambitious dishwasher had poured dirty dish water in an attempt to flush the toilet and had not seen the lid disappear down the can.
We’re still celebrating in honor of the cracked case of the clogged commode. So much to be grateful for – a super clean toilet and twenty more years of flushing, although through this long ordeal, Rusty has seriously been researching composting toilets. A bucket of sawdust could sure simplify life.