Bad luck if you’d guessed we would continue the draining works now. No no no no no (and once more, no), we weren’t ready yet to create drains all the way. First, some more demolition needed to be done, so for a little while longer, we could keep messing around breaking stuff away from the wall or rip them out of the ground.

The storage room

Let me start by showing a photo from the previous post.

storage-without-floor

Notice how there’s this kind of bump sticking out in the middle of the room, past the wires running across? Anyone up for a guess what the thing is (or at least used to be)? Come on, I can see it in your eyes, you have an idea but you’re a bit shy to say it. It’s ok, I’ll say it for you.

An old septic tank. Yeah.

It collected dirty water from the old bathroom (bath, toilet, sink and bidet), that came down in a drain right next to the electrical wires in the photo. It had an overflow to the left, into a drain going straight to the sewer. It  also collected dirty water from some other, at that time unknown source, the pipe going out underneath the back door (it’s a little hard to see though). Are you already seeing this huge problem building up?

We wanted that tank gone, for multiple reasons. For one, it would get massively in the way when pouring concrete, hoping that the brick and mortar didn’t crumble in the process. It would also be very unpleasing to have a 60X60 cm cover in our floor just for this tank. It also didn’t have any function anymore, as with the street being redone we received dual sewers (one for rain water, one for dirty water), which, in our case, actually forbids using a septic tank. And it also posed a problem for me laying a drain to connect our little side-building to the sewer, as the pipe should go straight through it…

So we called in a specialist.

Pretty soon he came over with this kind of camera system for tubes. After about half an hour of poking around, we had a pretty good idea of how it all was laid out.

In our side-building we have another toilet. This toilet dumped straight through in another septic tank, underneath our terrace. As if one septic tank wasn’t enough, we had two of them! As there was a drain running right next to it I assumed it overflowed into that drain and into the sewer, exactly the same as the setup inside was. Wrong! It had an overflow into the first tank, our unknown source had been found!

That toilet wasn’t in use anymore back then: we had one in our bathroom and this one wasn’t connected to the sewer anyway (and I need that tank gone to get it connected), so we could safely remove it all. Byebye septic tank!

Now that we knew it could go, we first drained whatever was left in it, dumping that straight into the sewer. Then we needed something to fill it up again, but we needed something sturdy. If you’ve ever done some reading about driveways, one of the things used quite commonly is all kind of brick and stone debris. Luck was on our side! In the kitchen, we still had a lot of tiles to be removed, not only from the wall above the counter, but also because they had installed a small sink and medicine cabinet in a lost corner:

Lost kitchen corner

So I picked up my drill, set it to chisel and chiselled away! Very fulfilling, it’s a kind of therapy, to see all those ugly tiles disappear, knowing that they still have a use. Thousands of wheelbarrows later we had filled the tank to the brim:

Filling up tank

By now we were practically ending our demolition works in the storage room. Working on the drains now really came close…

Anyone that went through the same process also had unwanted surprises? Let us hear how you tackled it in the comments!