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  • J.F. Rowan

Durango...again? "I need to get my plumber's license..."

It's all about this gal, Josie! Lounging on the couch.

House-sits are always memorable in one way or another. We really liked house-sitting for our friend Sue in Durango Colorado, for several reasons. One, she’s just a really nice person who has a great dog named Josie. Second, it’s a great house located in a very interesting area. There is so much to explore here, that you could go out exploring every day for a month and never even scratch the surface of what the area has to offer. This was only a 2-week house sit, so we better hustle.

You just never know what mother nature has in store. One day warm and sunny, the next day...

The first week, our friends Gary and Michelle came to visit. We explored the town, went hiking and even took in the Durango-Silverton Train. As usual, Gary and Michelle brought news from home and provided a great deal of joy for us. We know we’ll see them again, perhaps in Oregon?

A great day on the Durango/Silverton Train.

(always click photos for more info)

(Click on the photos for more info)

The second week, the house developed a septic issue. As it was, when we arrived we were informed that we would have a fresh water issue. We’re used to conserving, so for us, not having a fully operational well system, and instead relying solely on delivered water…well, we do that all the time anyway, sort of. But early one afternoon, I thought I heard something from the basement. As it turned out, it was the water filter system which was accomplishing a scheduled back flush, which it did on a schedule of about every 12 days. The back flush water empties into the septic system (red flag).

Septic tank and well issues kept us on our toes through most of this house sit. A possible cracked casing meant there wasn't enough pressure to get water from the gulch up to the house. Water was delivered twice while we were there. And, the septic pumped once.

But the backflush hose, emptied into a floor drain, much like a sump pump would in your basement. The problem was, the floor drain was backed up and overflowing, spreading across the floor.

Snowfall in Colorado was way above average. While we were there, it seemed as if winter was far from over. This coupled with above average rainfall had a huge impact on"Engineered Septic Systems."

The septic tank was basically full! Heavier than normal snow and rainfall had lead to a saturated leach field, which in turn backed into the septic tank. We made the necessary calls, confirmed the tank was indeed full and coordinated to have the septic tank pumped, pronto. And I have to say, even though this isn’t what we usually expect, we…or maybe I…love this kind of homeowner challenge. It gives me a chance to work through a problem using troubleshooting to resolve the issue. I enjoy using those skills to work through something and fixing what needs fixing.

I was fortunate to be able to take the time to do some repairs. One of the advantages of house-sitting.

As it turned out, we were able to pump the tank which took care of 90% of the problem. I also took the backflush schedule offline so that excess water from the water filtration system wouldn’t keep running into the septic system.

In the end, I think the homeowner was appreciative of what we were able to go above and beyond just walking the dog and keeping the house clean. But I think it’s interesting to note again how much I think people back in New England take their water for granted. I think we did to an extent, but since we’ve been on the road, we’ve learned to conserve not just because we have a limited supply, but many homeowners in several parts of the country do as well.

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