Down to Lecce yesterday ( hence no post yesterday, sorry) to buy the Imhoff septic tanks in a big white van. One of my joys in the UK was hiring white vans either to move my own stuff around or take the kids to university. “White van man” has all kinds of connotations in the UK but mainly for ignoring all forms of road courtesy. They pull out from side streets, cut up cars when changing lanes and sit inches from the bumper of the car in front when travelling at speed. However white van man to white van man there is an understanding. So for a couple of days I too would join their ranks and do what they did. I loved steaming up the motorways and seeing the look on motorists faces . However other white vans would give way, flash to let you know you were past them and could move back in and be generally really courteous.
I wasn’t driving this white van and anyway they don’t seem to have the same reputation down here. Indeed many of them seem to be the slowest things on the road. Here the car drivers do the cutting up, the speeding, and the near the top of an hill overtaking.
We were bound for Bricoman a kind of Italian B&Q or Home Depot. I think there are many branches but this is our closest. They are certainly cheaper than say Leroy Merlin and certainly cheaper than the small ferramenta ( ironmonger ) . The staff there are amazingly helpful . They also have a big online site which helpfully tells you if the stuff you want is in stock and how many are left. 1,000 litre septic tanks are in big demand, I checked on Monday and there were three left but by Tuesday they were down to one. Would it be mine ?
On arrival there it was in all it’s isolated glory sitting on a pallet just waiting for me and alongside it was the other tank where the grease and fat apparently make their way once it is installed and working. I had a quick look online at UK prices for these tanks and perhaps surprisingly they appear to be about the same or maybe a tad more.
No one in the bar thinks plastic ones are good only because they tend to do what their father and his father before him did. Stick in a concrete one and knock an hole in the bottom so you don’t need to empty it. However the plastic ones are really light and there was no way I could have collected a 1,000 litre concrete monster.
There is a great deal of chatter on various forums down here about how often these Imhoff babies need emptying. Some say every 3 years some say longer some say never at all.
In an earlier post I talked about the huge charge for emptying them down here and apparently the high cost is not with the emptier ( espergo) but with the sewage treatment plant who takes the lions share of the €450 cost.
The solution is to put a submersable pump in when it needs doing and as long as you are in the countryside ( we are) then pop the pipe over the nearest wall and pump the sediment into the next field. Horribly illegal in Italy but everyone does it.
Unbelievably as I researched this I found that it is also illegal to put cow sh*t on fields in Italy as well. I wish someone would tell the farmers around me. Twice a year they clean the cowshed out and spray the lot on the fields. The guy up the road from here waits for a South Westerly wind so he gets no smell and we have to retreat out for the day. For a week after flies the size of budgerigars then plague us. It will be nice to return the gesture when my Imhoff needs a spring clean .
So today into the hole they went and then sand was packed around them to keep them nice and cosy.
Further down the line the soakaway pipe was placed on gravel and plastic .
It will soak-away down the hill near to one of the fig trees and a couple of apple trees. Next year I can expect figs the size of melons and apples the size of footballs I guess.
Yet more chatter on the Italian forums about whether you should eat them or not. No one seems to really know but again most seem to do so. in fact many actually grow tomatoes etc in the soak-away area .
Now we just have to connect it via a 18 metre pipe to the house waste pipes and we are in business.
Another holiday tomorrow but once again the weather forecast is dire . April mean temperatures have been almost the same as March and 240 mm of rain has fallen which is about 10 inches on old money.Only on one day in April did the mercury get up to 20c A month to forget me thinks.