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BobT

This is Baffling

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This morning I found a hole on my front lawn. It is about 6"-8" in diameter and without putting a stick in there I could see it appeared to be about a foot deep with a tunnel going off in one direction. What is really strange to me is there was no dirt around the opening. The area inside that I could see would have easily filled a 5-gallon bucket or more. Anyone ever see something like this? What kind of animal would do this and not leave any loose dirt behind. The area of bare dirt around the opening was caused by me scraping with my foot.

 

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Edited by BobT

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Have seen that before and was a hole in a sewer line or a culvert and the dirt was disappearing into the pipe.  Do you have a sewer line in that area?  Or a septic tank?

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Maybe a rotten stump void that has become home to a critter....?

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I think I may have figured it out. When I got home last evening after dark I shined a flashlight down the hole and I could not see bottom. I could tell it was not created by any animal but looked more like it eroded. As I was looking around trying to figure out how it could have happened, the answer occurred to me. 

 

Twenty years ago we put in a new septic system. The old system drained out through the bottom of my basement floor, was piped to a holding tank about 30 feet from the house, and then continued until it exited on the surface of the ground in my pasture, which is downhill from the house. The hole lines up nicely with where that drain pipe is probably located.

 

When we replaced the system, by code we had to destroy the old holding tank, which we did but instead of plumbing the basement floor drain into the new system, we used a rubber tube to make the connection across where the old tank was to continue using the pipe as a storm drain in case my basement should get wet. 

 

Over the years the only water that would route through that drain was from about two times a year when I would drain and refresh the bladderless pressure tank we have in our home. I would use the basement floor drain for this. The only other water would be during spring thaw or if we had a very wet period causing my basement to get a little wet and yes, I have a sink that I'll use for keeping minnows from time to time and that also drains through that old pipe. 

 

I suspect that the old drain pipe has corroded enough that soil around it was little by little sifting into the pipe and being carried to my pasture. This also explains why every fall I had to shovel dirt away from that opening to be sure it was clear in case of a wet spring the following year. I could never understand where that dirt came from but figured is came from around the area. It never occurred to me that the dirt was coming from the pipe itself. 

 

Now I have to figure out a way to put in a sump pump in my basement and route the water elsewhere. 

 

Mystery solved, Dr. Watson!!

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Yes. There was no underground drain field. It discharged on the surface. Pretty common way of doing things in the past. Not much different than just doing things naturally except it concentrated it in one location and contained the solids, which were eventually pumped out and then spread on the fields for fertilizer. 

Edited by BobT

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On 4/13/2017 at 8:53 PM, delcecchi said:

No wonder the streams got polluted.  

Could be. Could also be too many fish in the streams dumping their excrement wherever and whenever the mood hits them and then dying and rotting on the bottom or all the deer, elk, bison, and other wildlife roaming wild dropping their excrement wherever they please and then leaving their rotting carcasses behind or from dumping raw sewage and roadway runoff including oils and gasoline into the rivers and streams from urban areas and lake shore homeowners or maybe pumping our waste gases from our use of fossil fuels into the atmosphere or even all those other underground homeowner sewage drainage systems all over the countryside. I'm not sure but I suspect the discharge from my sewage system was no more detrimental than the mound drainage system I have today. The only difference was the old one evaporated the liquid within 10 feet of the discharge. Anything left behind was left to leach into the soil. Now with my mound system everything leaches into the soil. 

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16 hours ago, swamptiger said:

You guys ever get all that goose poop under control down there in Rochester?

 

 

 

They let the weeds grow high along silver lake and it keeps the geese in the water.  Also shutting down the power plant to save the planet lets it freeze in winter which helps.  

 

Still plenty of geese around if that's your thing.  

 

Don't eat the lettuce from near the septic outlet...  ha ha. 

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I don't know what the numbers are now, but I remember reading at one point there were 30,000 geese hanging out there.  At three pounds of poop per adult goose per day, that figures out to two semi loads of goose poop every day.

 

"Saving the planet" - yeah,,,,,:)

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18 hours ago, delcecchi said:

Where was this?   And what happened to the effluent in the winter when nothing evaporated and the ground was frozen? 

I suppose it froze until spring thaw. But then, evaporation continues through the winter, albeit at a slower pace.

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I've never seen it build up a layer of ice at the discharge over winter. I don't know where it went but it wasn't staying put. I figure it either evaporated or soaked into the soil. During the summer months it was never wet more than a few feet (maybe 6 at best) past the discharge opening. Essentially, the only difference between that system and the expensive mound system I have today is the potential for odors but I don't recall experiencing any problem there either, even when I would spend time clearing away debris such as leaves and tree branches that accumulated around the discharge opening. 

 

As far as what was spread on my fields, the tank was about 300 gallons and we pumped it out once a year in the fall before freeze-up. If I did my math correctly, 300 gallons spread over 5 acres equates to just under 1/4 cup per square foot. It provided a small (very small) amount of fertilizer for my alfalfa and didn't run off anywhere. 

Edited by BobT

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