So That's Why the Grass Is Greener
Septic Tanks Hold Surprises, Some Odious, for New Exurbanites
By William Wan
When Candice Quinn Kelly and her husband bought a house in the farmlands of Charles County, they loved the rural feel and the big, open yard--especially the small patch of miraculously lush grass in the middle. To Kelly, a Baltimore girl, that odd strip of bright green turf was like having her own little piece of the golf fairway at Pebble Beach.
Then it started getting soggy, which was curious. But they chalked it up to low ground. It wasn't until their toilets stopped flushing one day that they recognized the flourishing greenery for what it was: a spongy marsh of human waste.
As urbanites push ever outward in search of bigger property, better schools and quieter neighborhoods, their inexperience with rural plumbing has led to sometimes disastrous and odiferous results.
Some don't know that their septic tanks have to be pumped every two to five years, maintenance companies say; others don't even realize that their house has a septic system until it's too late.
Sir, Madam, let us pause here to get this straight. You didn't even realize that your house had a septic system? You bought a house, moved into the house, carried on your bodily functions within the house--all the while unaware that you were the proud owners of a huge, underground tank that was slowly stockpiling your excrement? When you flushed the toilets on your five-acre property, twenty miles from the nearest municipal sewer system, where exactly did you think it was all going?
And when you bought the place, did your inspector not have a glance at this $5000 metallic fellow? Oh but wait, I forgot... you didn't have an inspection, because you agreed to buy the property without one, like all the other interest-only monopoly money mortgage panic bidders who made DC so expensive in the first place that you had to move all the way out to where they haven't yet invented the sewer. I'm sure it all made sense at the time.