Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plumbing progress (sort of)

After my last two blog postings I've made a bit of progress with the plumbing problems - the leaking pool and the dead septic tank pump.

Next morning I drove to Pontivy about 20 miles away from the Gite. There's a large dedicated plumbing merchant there so I was sure that I'd be able to get a new pump there.

Well the plumbers merchant wasn't successful, if they had submersible pumps I couldn't see them, and I certainly didn't feel confident in asking for one in French!

BricoMarche opposite however did have a small selection of suitable pumps, both pumps for clean water and foul, the latter of which would accept small particles in the water. Made in China of course and I bought the last one on the shelf.
BricoMarche also had some swimming pool patches including some that claimed to be adhesive under water so I could apply one without having to drain the pool. Bought a packet of these patches as well.

Back at Gite we briefly tested the new pump in the swimming pool before taking the lid off the septic sump to install it into its new home.  Disaster though, the screw thread on the outlet pipe on the new pump isn't the same size as the old one, it's about 3mm different so the new pump won't simply fit onto the existing waste pipe that leads up to the filter bed.

Meanwhile the sump is getting pretty full with smelly liquid and I need to do something about removing some of the liquid from the sump and lowering the level at least temporarily.

Hit upon the idea of connecting up a piece of flexible pipe that we normally use to connect the pump to the swimming pool, I could use this to temporarily connect the new sump pump to the existing pipework and pump some of the liquid out of the chamber and into the filter bed.

In hindsight this was a bad idea.  Concept was ok in principle but basically the flexible pipe didn't fit all that well.

Liz stood by to plug the pump into an extension lead, I lay down and tried to simultaneously lower the pump into the concrete sump whilst at the same time tried to hold the flexible pipe in place at both the top and bottom of the pipe. Unfortunately this juggling act requires 3 hands whereas I only have 2 ... so when the pump was plugged in and roared into life the bottom end of the pipe wasn't being held in place, the pressure of the pump blew the pipe off the pump and I got face full of liquid sewerage. 

Yuck, yuck, yucky.

Dried myself off, managed to get the pump to empty the liquid onto the grass and left it at that.

I couldn't even take a shower on account of all the shower water would have ended up in the fosse which would have just added to the liquid level I would have to deal with tomorrow.

The swimming pool leak can wait for another day ...

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