I am very pleased to announce that the first round of exploratory digging has been completed here at Gimpy Dog Ranch.

Did you think we forgot about holes, and the digging of holes, and the resulting piles that come from the digging of holes? We did not. We had holes, and so much more. There was a ladder, and there was effluent, there was a surprise water heater, and a visit from our neighbor. There was even some septic related education. It was truly an exciting day.

And the most important thing of all: there was photography. So lets get started!

PA050001Adrian arrives with the backhoe, bright and early.


The goal of the day’s exploratory digging is to locate a leach field, since documentation about it’s location is pretty vague. Adrian digs in at a spot which seems likely to give us a lead.

PA050006The groundbreaking.

Despite all the excitement, it is a little disturbing to watch this machine tear giant holes in our yard.  In no time the first hole was quite deep.

PA050015Hitting gravel is a good sign, since leach lines are put in with gravel around them. Effluent and gravel together are an even better sign that we’re in the right area.

PA050013The search is done with a combination of digging from the backhoe and then more delicate work in the hole with a shovel.

Although leach lines comprise the majority of a leach field area, what we really need to find are the distribution boxes: in short, wastewater goes from the septic tank to the distribution boxes in a hard/non-permeable pipe, and then from the distribution boxes it is dispersed through permeable pipes/leach lines over a large area of land.

There’s no distribution box in the first hole, so more digging.

PA050018Action shot!

Adrian is back-filling a bit into the first hole with dirt from the second hole.  The tree above the backhoe had some of its roots torn up from from the digging (and some branches torn as well) – we are hoping it won’t mind too much.

 PA050025One thing I did not expect to find: the ancient remains of a water heater. Andy, on the other hand, did expect to find all manner of debris, and he was right.

PA050042Here’s our neighbor Mike checking out the progress with Andy.

PA050031Andy surveys the wreckage.

It took some more digging, but eventually both distribution boxes were located. Due to various conditions, I don’t have a photo of them, but I can tell you the covers were round. Imagine smallish manhole covers in a dark muddy spot 7 feet under ground.

And then the holes were filled back in, less one water heater.

PA050043It’s almost like it never happened.

The orange posts mark the location of the distribution boxes. The lines (marked but not photographed) extend from there – one of the lines goes for 85 feet!

This concludes our post about digging holes, climbing into those holes with a ladder, climbing out again, and filling the holes back up.  I think we all learned from The Simpsons that the hole’s only natural enemy is the pile, and this was well illustrated today.

What is your experience with holes and/or piles? Tell us in the comments!

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