Sunday, September 03, 2017

Down the sewer

Well, today went down the toilet—literally. We had water out on the lawn this morning in a BIG puddle, and it was running across the drive toward the neighbours' property, but we didn't have much rain overnight. So, we contacted our usual plumber, and he was able to come round, even though it was Sunday. It turned out there was a blockage in the sewer lines somewhere NOT on our property, but it backed up onto our property. From several houses. Nice.

The plumber couldn't locate the access points (our map, which we got with the property file, was quite small and imprecise. Besides, it was a problem affecting many houses, not just ours. But he was able to see that the neighbourhood sewer lines were backing up through our gully trap (kind of like an outside sink at ground level that sinks and other gray water drains into before drying into the sewer line).

So, we called Watercare (who look after Auckland's water and wastewater), and they said they'd be here within an hour (they always act fast when sewerage flows over land, even if it's on a Sunday). They were here in maybe 45 minutes, getting here around 7 or 7:30pm or so.

By the time they got here, water was flowing fast out of our gully trap, and the puddle out front had grown—a lot. "That's not all you," he said, because it couldn't be. When he saw the flow out of the gully trap, he mentioned it was peak time for water use (making it peak time for wastewater production, too). Who knew?

Watercare have the complete maps of the sewer lines and access points, and they set about clearing the blockage, then they flushed the land with water to move the sewerage. They were here and somewhere else a couple times, but they drove off sometime after 9pm. The guy said he'd let me know when they were done, but maybe he forgot, so I waited until around 10:30 and went out and closed the front gate on the driveway. Hope they're done.

I had a look around with a torch around 9:30 or so, and I noticed that the puddle was much lower. The water looked more muddy than, um, sewer-y. They'd washed off the deck where the gully trap had been flowing, but the didn't replace the top of the trap properly, and a correctly seated lid is important to keep debris (leaves, etc.) and rats away. I also noticed a small pile of toilet paper by the down pipe for our sanitary sewer (the toilets empty through closed pipes directly into the sewers). I'll clean that up in the morning—I want to scrub it all with a good cleaner, anyway.

But that, combined with them just leaving without saying anything does kind of reduce my enthusiasm for the quality of the job clearing the blockage and rinsing everything on a Sunday evening. Still, it WAS done, and probably won't cost us anything because the blockage must have been in council sewerage lines. We'll see.

Note: I wrote this post in my iPad, where formatting is extremely difficult, and many errors slipped through—especially because of predictive typing (aka "autocorrect"). I'm fixing them as I find them, but haven't been able to concentrate, not the least because the saga isn't actually over yet.

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