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On The Mark: New septic install is no small feat

The Walli family home, just northwest of the city of Cromwell, required a septic system redo, which has consumed our lives for some time.

The project called for both intelligent labor and impressive machinery, including two backhoes and a vintage dump truck.

We started this summer by logging off the larger trees, mostly birch and poplar. We tossed the long skinny boughs downhill like javelins. The larger trunks Rod cut to manageable lengths - more or less than 2 feet - with his chainsaw. We piled them in the wagon drawn behind his four-wheeler and chugged up to our woodshed multiple times.

Our firewood supply had been depleted over the long cold early months of the year. It's been good to solve two challenges simultaneously: clearing the space for the new septic drainfield and right-sizing, splitting and stacking stove-sized chunks of firewood into the shed to feed our living space stove through the cold months.

Our new system was designed by state-licensed Roger Hurd. Our neighbor, Craig Harp, drew up the plans for both the new septic tank locations and drainfield, including the pumps that will distribute the water from the house to the septic tanks and drainfield beyond. I enjoyed taking photos of the work in progress.

There are unexpected challenges in a project this size.

There are also good things. Rod and Barb Walli built their home on a glacial moraine that offered several desirable features. These include a huge two-story natural sand pile to the southwest of the house, which supplied many dump-truck loads of sand up to the hilly knoll where the new drainfield and tanks are being installed. Rod had installed the prior septic system, which had served us well for years.

We lucked out with the weather. The past few weeks have been extraordinarily dry. Otherwise we would have ferried even more mud into the house than we did.

We're looking forward to the completion of the project and to the return of graceful silence on our knoll. Except for the welcome late fall visitors. Last night, I heard coyotes calling out back. Earlier this fall, the lovely barred owl sang its "who cooks for you" refrain deep on a quiet night.

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