You may recall this previous blogpost about the construction of my in-laws home in Russia back in the ’50’s. Well recently, my mother-in-law had a flooded basement after a large rainstorm because the drainage line to the creek out back was blocked due to a number of collapsed clay tiles.
My wife’s mother is such a meticulous gardener, it was a real shame to have her lush back yard pictured above in the “before” photo torn up as shown in the “after” photos below by backhoes digging trenches to first locate the problem then replacing the line.
The company making the repairs was supposed to do the work the following week, but had a schedule change and said they were coming out the next day instead. That evening before the digging was to start, we called and I walked my mother-in-law through the likely process for finding and fixing the drainage problem. She was reminded to mark the area of the back yard where the septic tank was located so the heavy equipment would not drive over that area and collapse the tank, avoiding what happened to me years ago as documented in this previous blog and as depicted in the photo below.
During the course of the conversation, my mother-in-law referenced a set of blue prints for the original home construction and wondered if they might be useful. Over the phone, I gave her a quick primer on reading blue prints, so she was able to locate the appropriate blueprint, find the back yard details and read the location of the septic tank as well as the drainage line going to the creek from the corner of the house. I was amazed how quickly she picked up the nuances of blue-print reading. But after all, she was a farm girl way back when, therefore amazingly resourceful. She set up a card table in the garage and laid out the blueprints on the table as shown below for the plumbing repair company’s use the next day (note the old wrenches used to keep the prints from rolling up).
Unfortunately, the repairs could not be completed in one day, as is so typical with contractors, her yard was left in this torn up state for several weeks until they could return. Good thing there were no heavy rains during that waiting period to flood the basement. Gratefully, my wife ’s family members were there to help my mother-in-law deal with the contractors. That means everything should be draining smoothly again. And the good news is the septic tank is still intact! However, now my mother-in-law has to spend the winter looking out her back window at the piled dirt slowly settling so the disturbed areas can be backfilled and reseeded next spring. Better than a flooded basement but an eyesore for sure.