Weekly Flush: Septic System Fails Under Ontario Woman's Dining Room

In septic-related news around the world this week, an Ontario woman’s septic system fails under her dining room; and serial toilet/sewer cloggers are on the loose in two states

When you’re shopping for homes, pay special attention to the property’s wastewater system. That’s a lesson Janet St-Pierre of Dunbar, Ontario, learned the hard way after a powerful odor started emanating from under her dining room floor.

It turns out a previous homeowner had added the dining room next to the main foundation of the house, building it directly over the concrete septic tank in blatant disregard of building code. Not only that, but the property’s detached garage was built right on top of the drainfield.

St-Pierre says she knew the location of the tank before buying the house but insists it didn’t smell before she bought it. She also claims an area septic service company inspected and passed the system pre-purchase.

Now, she says the failing system is stinking up her home about “80 percent of the time.” That’s going to be an expensive repair.

The Case of the Serial Clogger

In a couple of weirdly similar stories, authorities in two cities 2,000 miles apart are seeking serial toilet cloggers that are costing their respective municipalities thousands of dollars.

In Wood Village, Oregon, a serial paper-towel flusher has caused $16,000 in damage to a city sewer pump. Public Works has tracked the problem to a single business park in a dead-end area. But the building’s 27 renters use the same sewer line flowing into a lift station, and so far, the culprit hasn’t been identified.

Meanwhile, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, someone has clogged a toilet at a community center using a 20-ounce bottle for the past year and a half. According to a Facebook post by the Sheboygan Police Department, authorities say this serial act of vandalism has led to thousands of dollars in repairs, not to mention the inconvenience of an unavailable restroom.

“I know what you’re thinking at this moment,” the post reads. “‘Why is the Police Department telling us not to put trash in the toilet?’ Well, I’ll tell you why. Over the past year and a half, someone has been clogging the women’s toilet at the Deland Community Center with a 20-ounce soda bottle. How does one do this and how many flushes does it take? Flushing is not necessary as the person is actually inserting the bottle into the toilet pipes.”

Jacksonville Spends $837,000 on Septic Lids After Child’s Death

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, is delivering on its promise to standardize more secure lids for septic tanks at its parks in the wake of 3-year-old Amari Harley’s death last year. The city reports that 193 of its septic tanks are now secured by heavy metal lids with locking devices at a cost of more than $837,000.

Harley died last autumn after falling into a septic tank at a park. A subsequent investigation discovered that same tank had been complained about twice before and an inspector found it unsecured a month before the incident.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the city contractors in charge of maintaining septic tanks at city parks.

Prosecutors Aim to Make Example of Illegal Waste Dumper

In other news, it appears federal prosecutors will make an example of Diamond Environmental owner Arie Eric De Jong III. De Jong was caught illegally dumping waste into city sewer systems across Southern California, avoiding millions of dollars of dumping fees. The prosecutors are pushing for 30 months in federal prison, along with payment of $3.9 million in restitution and a $10,000 fine. Chief operating officer Warren Van Dam is also facing prison time and a $3.9 million restitution payment. See more details here.


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