LETTER: Living With Cesspools Becomes a Long Series of ‘Situations’

February 28, 2019, 2:24 PM HST (Updated February 28, 2019, 2:24 PM)

As the founder of Cesspools Anonymous, I want to testify; I have a cesspool (and therefore, I have a problem)! To those of you with cesspools, you either had, have or will have problems and know there’s nothing funny about the subject. If not, consider yourselves MOST fortunate. For the rest of us, living with cesspools (and to a slightly lesser extent, septic tanks) becomes a long series of ‘situations’ which are often stressful because we know that symptoms usually come without warning. In daily use, we have no way of knowing whether we’re headed toward a problem or away from it. For those who might be interested, I’ve found a quick, accurate, easy and inexpensive way to stay ahead of the problems. Some time ago, I shared this letter with an island septic service provider who thought it was an excellent idea for both property owners and service providers and encouraged me to pass it along.

The idea is simple; accurately measure the wastewater levels in the tank and log the readings over time, whether minutes, hours, days, etc. The results give the most important information of all; the trends. Until relatively recent advances in measurement instruments, getting such readings that were accurate, clean and safe was not easy. Enter the laser measure, a small device that measures distance (top down to the liquid level) very accurately with high resolution. Many are available (my choice was the Bosch GLM30, about $65) that can resolve to 1/32” at up to 100 feet. Using a typical tank diameter of six feet, this produces a volume resolution of about a half-gallon, all done with a non-contact optical measurement. This kind of sensitivity means that valid and useful drainage data can be obtained in thirty minutes or less (a single triple reading in less than a minute total). By the time you read this letter, I will have collected a fair amount of data and passed it along to my service provider and they may be ready to show it publicly. The idea is that you can easily produce your own data history, and if you wish, discuss problems and data with your service provider in real-world, specific terms.


Admittedly, this is not for everyone to do. But if this is something you’re inclined to take on, by all means contact this publication and ask them for more information. With the present interest in cesspools and wastewater treatment in general, the more we know about our own local conditions, the better. They say that knowledge is power…. Well, here is an opportunity to collect your own!

Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.



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