. . . and These Are the Words That He Said . . .
"The Town of Grass Valley, California now requires sewer line inspections and upgrades at every Point of Sale." I first heard these words from Sewer Superstar Doug Urke at a Nevada County Association of Realtors workshop. If your own burg doesn't already have this crappy ordinance in place, it's just a matter of time. Naturally the regulation provides me with stink'um for a new article, and you know how much I love Poo Blogs.
First comes the inspection of the sewer line, from the house to the street. The technician locates and opens the clean-out and runs a camera down the line. This is really cool. A man-sized monitor is mounted on a cart and all the guys gather around to watch the show. And by "guys" I mean . . . guys. Most ladies just don't get excited by taking a camera trip down a sewer line. I don't know why. I will never figure out women.
Down, down, down we go. Don't be scared. The camera has a headlight on it so we can see where we're going. I wish I had a photo to down load (get it?) "down load" to this blog. I asked Urke if he could send me a photo or a vid in return for a link to this article and some heavy "product placement," but he told me that he doesn't have a web site or even a computer. "I'm so busy I just don't have time for that stuff." Well, EXCUSE ME, Mr. I'm Too Busy.
"Everybody's gotta poo," says Urke.
Yeah, yeah. Anyway, we're looking for invasive roots, breaks, dips, humps, obstacles, or . . . build-up. Eeeuuuwwww. But, on this property, the line is clean, smooth and free of polyps. See? I just got a sigmoidoscopy image going here? Hey! Wake up!
The sewer line has passed the test! Yay! Now the technician prepares one of the required retrofit gizmos, the overflow device.
Then comes digging. Here is a photo of Urke finishing the hole and measuring for the overflow device.
While I'm thinking about it, "Urke" is kind of a funny name for a septic and sewer guy, isn't it? Urke. Urrrr . . . keeeeee. It would probably be funnier if his name was Urpe. Urrr . . . Peeeeee. I think his name is a lot funnier than HE does.
This simple device is not much more than a cork sitting in a bottle. Poo pressure builds up and the cork pops off. Where does the pressurized poo go? Into your yard, which is pretty icky, but a hell of a lot better than into your tub.
Next, the technician preps the back-flow preventer. Here you see Doug getting ready to send the sawzall blade whipping into his knee cap. Kids, do not try this at home.
The back-flow preventer is installed between the overflow device and the house. Poo, evil poo, begins flowing backwards, uphill, upstream, toward your house! Remember the movie, "The Blob?" The shit hits the flapper in the back-flow preventer which snaps shut, if it is not already shut, and the poo stops. Pressure builds and builds, and the overflow device pops its cork. Eruption of excrement! But . . . the house is saved!
Hip Hip Hoorah for the wise City Fathers who thunk up this new regulation and the minor industry that their wise decision has spawned.
"Nah," says Urke, "they are just covering their ass. (I know there's a good joke in here somewhere, but I just can't stop to find it.) You see, when the municipal sewer workers clean out the main lines, they jam a hose down the hole with 3000 psi of pressure. If that hose takes a wrong turn and heads up your line toward your home, that water pressure can literally blow your toilet right off the floor." Or so says Urke. The city wants that back-flow preventer there to cover their own liability.
In this final photo, the technician has emplaced a box to protect the two devices.
"If we didn't box it, some idiot would come along and cover it with dirt which would prevent it from working. If we set it high enough to keep it from getting buried alive, some idiot would come along with a lawn mower."
By the way, how much does this exercise cost? In Grass Valley, it will set you back about $800 . . . as long as there are no problems with the sewer line itself. Of that $800, about $200 is for the city in the form of permit fees and inspections. See, the government thinks up a new regulation to cover its ass, and then makes you pay for it.
You knew that already, didn't you?
I'm still working on that cover its ass joke. "Couldn't find it's own ass with two hands?" Let me know if you come up with something better.