Septic System Sump Pump Installation

Septic System Sump Pump Installation

My friends needed a septic system that pumps uphill. Their house is at the low point on their plot and for years the septic system has not worked well. They needed to fix it so that they can have toilets that actually flush in the rain. An unusually wet Spring season has accented the problem so that they made the decision to spend the sizable sum of money to correct the problem.

The system consists of the regular septic tank then a septic effluent pump tank and then a distribution tank located at the top of the hill. The new septic tank had to be placed so as not to disturb the old tank so that the existing system could still be used during construction. The pump tank had to be located slightly below the septic tank so that gravity would flow the waste water to it. The septic tank effluent pump sits inside the pump tank and pumps the water to the distribution tank high on the hill. From there, the water will drain into the field lines by gravity.

My job was to connect the sump pump and alarm to the electrical supply. The alarm is required by the local sewer codes to make a visual and audible alarm should the water level in the pump tank exceed a certain level. This gives an early warning that there is something wrong with the sewer pump.

For reliability, the alarm has to have its own separate circuit. If the alarm was powered by the supply to the pump and the breaker tripped to the pump, there would be no alarm. I installed the alarm inside the house so that it can be easily seen and heard as suggested by the local plumbing inspector. I connected the wires directly to the alarm panel and ran them all inside conduit so that it would be tamper resistant.

This house had an exterior breaker box originally installed for the AC addition. This box had a couple of extra spaces in it that made a perfect place to pull power for the new septic pump system. I used a 20 AMP GFI breaker for the sump pump service and a 15 AMP standard breaker for the alarm. Their local ACE hardware had the right breakers for this older Square D box.

The most labor intensive part of the job was running the underground wires from the box at the front of the house to the septic field behind the house. Much of the trench had to be dug by hand due to close proximity of the AC compressor, flower beds and a sidewalk. The majority of the trench was dug by the plumping contractor using his backhoe.

A 12 gage wire was run for the pump and a 14 gage wire for the alarm. The wire used was rated for direct burial so conduit was not needed. I did run conduit for extra protection from the box down to the bottom of the 24 inch deep trench at each end of the wire. I used the same 14 gage direct burial wire to extend the float wiring from the alarm unit to the field.

At the pump tank, I installed a weather proof single 20 AMP outlet on a 4×4 post. This is where the Myers Sewer pump is plugged in. The plug provides the required local disconnect since the breaker is not within sight of the pump tank. The float wiring was placed in a separate junction box on the same post.

A piece of conduit was cut to fit into the neck of the tank so that the cord to the septic pump and the alarm float wiring would be protected. The conduit ends slightly below the outlet for the septic pump.

Our local inspector was happy with the details and water proofing. I used a compression fitting at the bottom of each conduit run and sealed it with silicone as well to prevent critters from finding their way into the junction boxes.

I tied a length of rope to the sump pump, fastened the alarm float to the outlet pipe and carefully lowered the sewer pump into place. I secured the free end of the rope to one of the lifting lugs of the sewer pump tank. Now the plumbing contractor can finish his work to get their system operational.

I am sure they will enjoy being able to take baths and flush the toilet even when it rains.

Prentice Cooper State Park

Riding in Prentice Cooper State park

Having been inspired by youtube videos and some photos I saw on the web I decided to revisit Prentice Cooper State park for my Father’s Day adventure. I had been there about ten years ago but I only drove one trail. I am still not sure which trail that was but there was a big warning sign saying only 4×4 vehicles were allowed past that point.

Here is one video I saw:

This is Haley Road which all the reviews said was the gnarlyist trail there.

Here is another video of a rock we found on Haley Rd.

On Saturday, we were at another event near the park so we took the Suburban and drove the main road called Tower road. It was closed at one point for Turkey Nesting. We tried a few side roads but they were narrow and the Suburban is hard to turn around so we did not venture off the main road. We did find the marker for Haley road so we knew where to go in the Jeeps.

We returned on Sunday with two Jeeps. Since my off road Jeep is still suffering from worn ball joints, I took my daily driver. This Cherokee has 30″ BFG ATs that are pretty worn. Open differentials and slight less than stock ride height. Jenny’s Jeep has 31″ Maxxis Buckshots and a three inch lift. Also open diffs.

Taking the street Jeep allowed Janice and my son will to ride along. Jenny had all three of her kids with her.

We stated on Persimmon road. Our map showed it connected to Haley Rd. We made a few turns that turned out to be dead ends and then came to a spot where a tree blocked the road. There was an ATV bypass but there was no way to get my Jeep through. So we turned around.

We then made our way to Lusk Point via Sulphur rd. I could have driven the Suburban on this one. The view from Lusk point was beautiful. We had a picnic lunch here.

We drove out on Lusk Point Rd and found a Honda stuffed into some trees along Tower road. Not sure how she got there. Both air bags were deployed but every one seemed OK. She had lots of family there to assist but was still stuck. I hooked up my tow rope and pulled her back on to the gravel road. I left her family to deal with getting the car home from there. She said she was on her way to visit her father’s grave for father’s Day. Glad she did not join him there.

He headed on down to Haley road. Just a short way in is one of those 4×4 only signs. I stayed in 2wd just to be stubborn until I got tired of using the brakes to hold back on the hills. If I had two low I would have used that. We dropped down a rocky hill and crossed a shallow creek. I kept waiting for the good part. After the creek, the road smoothed out. After rewatching the first video above, I realized that was the good part.

Near the end of the road we did find the rock ledge pictured in the second Video. I took the bypass and spotted Jenny on her way down. After looking at the hill form the bottom, I decided to go up it. I took a line slightly right of the Dodge in the video and made it up easily. Jenny then turned around and drove up as well.

We drove on to see if the road really did intersect HWY 27 like the map said. Sure enough it did. Funny that there is not one of those 4×4 only warning signs on that end. Just a sign with lots of park rules.
There is a funny sign that says Speed limit 1 MPH. I think there is a number missing.

We headed back in to try a side road we saw that looked interesting. No name ion this one but the map showed it went back in the direction we first tried on Persimmon Rd.

This road turned out to be the most fun all day. There were several climbs that looked like there would be no way a stock Jeep on 30s could make it. But my little Jeep just crawled up with ease. I hardly spun the tires. I was thinking that going back down some of those might be interesting.

About that time I met a Chevy Pickup across the road. I got out to chat and found there was a tree across the road. None of us had a saw and the bypass was too narrow for even our Jeeps, much less the Chevy. After a meet and greet, we turned around to head back down.

That is when Jenny’s Jeep balked. Princess did not want to leave. She bucked and snorted and refused to run. There was vapor in the fuel rail. We could hear the pump running but it was boiling before it got to the injectors. After a long discussion about carburettors and propane while the ice melted on her fuel rail Princess fired up.

It would run fine if the RPMs were over 2000 but if it got below she would die. More ice on the fuel rail was needed to get her to restart. Driving down the tricky trail was made even more exciting for Jenny by trying to keep her Jeep running. Loosing power brakes and power steering while going down the tricky rocks was a real challenge. It took a while but we finally made it back to Haley Road. We chose to drive the short way out and take HWY 27 home.

It was a fun day in the woods and I do want to go back and explore some of the other side roads. But I do have to laugh at the folks who said Haley rd was really gnarly. My stock Jeep Cherokee made it look easy.

Enjoying a Coke with my Grand Daddy Straw

Enjoying a Coke with Grand Daddy Straw

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood involve spending time with my grand father Strawbridge. We called him Daddy Straw.

Many of the stories I don’t actually remember, but they have been told and retold in our family for many years. Just keep in mind that we never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.

One of my earliest adventures of drinking a coke with my Daddy Straw involves me sitting with a really large coke bottle when I was just a toddler. A visitor to our shop commented saying; “That’s a really big coke for such a little fellow.” According to my granddad, my response was; “Yep, it reaches all the way up to my mouth.”

We always had a Coke machine in the shop and it was set to keep the drinks ice cold. The perfect temperature was so that when you released the pressure by opening the top, a few ice crystals would form on the surface of the drink. The six and a half ounce size was considered the best. Rumor had it that the thicker glass allowed more pressure from the carbon dioxide so they had more bite than the taller ten ounce size.

One hot summer day, a farmer brought in a tractor wheel with bolts that were rusted solid and could not be removed. He had hoped my grandfather could heat them with his torch and get them loose. Daddy Straw had him lay the wheel down and suggested they have a Coke before they got started. As he sat down by the wheel, he casually poured a bit of his drink over each of the stuck bolts.

They sat and talked while they enjoyed their ice cold Cokes. Finally, my granddad walked over top the tool box and got a wrench to fit the bolts. He worked them back and forth a bit and then easily unscrewed them. The farmer was amazed. When Daddy straw explained that the acid in the Coke had dissolved the rust and loosened the nuts, the farmer exclaimed that he would never drink Coca Cola again!

Coke bottles also served as gaming devices in those days. Each bottle had a place molded into the bottom of the bottle representing where the bottle was manufactured. Since the bottles were recycled at the bottler, the bottles tended to travel around some but not much. We had a map on the wall of the shop with a string pinned at our location of Gibson, Mississippi. The game was to see who had the bottle form the farthest away.

One day, the guys were sitting down for a drink and began tossing in their money in to the pot for the Coke Bottle game. On this day, the pot grew to quite a bit more than usual. The bottles were read and the string was pulled to determine the winner. The guy who pulled the bottle from south Mississippi was quite excited as the counted the pot. One old fellow was sitting there drinking his Coke with his bad leg propped up. When he finished his Coke he turned the bottle over and re read the location. To his surprise, he had not noticed that his bottle was from Houston, Texas instead of Houston, Mississippi just down the road. They say his paralyzed leg jumped a foot off the table when he jumped up to reclaim his winnings.

Another story that is told about me is the time I interrupted my grand dad to have him “spit” a coke with me. My grand dad was always very patient with me even if he had no idea what I was talking about. He took the empty coke bottle I had and held it to his mouth and spit in it. I was outraged! He could not understand why I was mad for doing what I asked of him.

I got another empty bottle and guided him to the Coke machine. You see, we had a custom of sharing a coke together by him pouring part of his drink into a bottle for me. When we got to the coke machine, he finally understood that I wanted him to “split” a coke with him, not spit in it!

My best memories of my Grand Daddy Straw really do involve a Coke and Smile.

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