Septic tank in, Water vault in...
The big event was that at about 9am, Jeff showed up with his big earth mover. We unplugged the trailer, he drove across, I plugged the trailer back in, and he proceeded to clear a space downhill of the trailer for the septic system. I asked him to avoid a barrel cactus right near the septic site, and he very deftly did so. He also kept a juniper tree in the middle of the septic field - it looks a bit lonely there, but I'm sure it will become tall and stately with the added soil nutrients...
By early afternoon, he had a hole dug for the septic tank. Here's a picture, but this really doesn't do it justice - the hole you're looking down into here is about ten feet deep. You can see some rocks down at the bottom - Jeff had to climb down and remove the rocks to avoid the possibility of the tank cracking when it settled on them.
What you're seeing here is after Jeff leveled the bottom of the trench. It looks trapezoidal because of lense forshortening, not because it's actually that shape - the hole is pretty close to square.
Here's the tank on the truck, backing up to the hole. The truck has to back up quite close to the hole, and then the driver puts down stabilizers - the scissor-like assembly underneath the bed of the truck.
Here the tank is suspended over the hole on the boom on the back of the truck. Notice the quality of the finish on this tank - I'm used to seeing tanks that are pretty rough around the edges. Jeff gets his tanks from a guy in Saint David - Dad's Septic Tanks. I wondered why he'd do that when there are several places closer by that sell them; after looking at the quality of the tank we got, I guess I know.
They hold the tank with a single crossbar that's threaded through two rebar hooks; the entire weight of the tank hangs from these two hooks.
The tank descends into the hole, suspended on a steel cable from the end of the boom.
There was a bit of a problem putting the tank in - Jeff had carefully leveled the part of the trench closest to the trailer, but it was a little rough on the edge farthest away because that wasn't where he wanted the tank to go. Unfortunately, when the tank went in, the guy who delivered it couldn't get the truck to back up that far, so the tank wound up having to go toward the wrong end of the hole, which made for a bit of fussing to get it level.
Eventually Jeff was satisfied...
This is what it looks like out the window of the trailer, just to give you an idea of how close Jeff got it to the trailer without once digging a chunk out of the side of the trailer. He's really quite good with his backhoe. I'm very happy with his work so far - apparently David was right to recommend him.
The other project that needed doing today was the installation of the vault for the water system. This is a simple wooden box into which the main shutoff valve and the particulate filter go - there's a fair amount of dark particulate matter in the water here that needs to be taken out so that it doesn't wreck a seal in the pump. The filter is about 24" tall, so there's plenty of depth for it in the box. David has a clever system where he puts a slip joint on either end of the filter; to take it out, you just undo both slip joints and lift the entire thing out. Then renewing the filter is easy.
This is how the vault connects up to the trench. The vault is temporary, at least for now, so the water line is actually coming in above ground. This will need to be moved below ground or insulated before winter comes. My eventual goal is to have the water system in a concrete bunker on the eastern wall of the house, so that will mean we'll have to move the vault after the house is built.
What you don't see in these pictures is the hole Jeff kindly dug me with his backhoe. It took him about ten minutes to scoop out a hole big enough to put the vault in; I actually had to build up the bottom of the hole to make it work. I also had to dig a really huge wall out of the side of the hole to square it off so I could install the box, which was really a huge amount of work, because the soil right at that point was a really good clay - you could probably wet it and make pots with it.
Once I had the box in, I started burying it; a few minutes later, Chuck Vedova innocently wandered by to give me a CD, and because he's such a nice guy he offered to help me fill the hole. This was a huge boon - I was exhausted by the time we got it filled in, and I have no idea how I would have finished it myself in the time allotted. It's been nice working on these projects as a team - first with David, and then with Chuck.
This is a picture shot from the bottom of the trench, and the entire trench is actually in this picture. The top of the trench is to the right of the far right corner of the garage that you see off in the distance in this picture. The T in the pipe for the second building site is just below the garage.