How to write off your drysuit-confessions of a sewer diver


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Posted by Dave on May 08, 2005 at 23:27:40:

Speaking of sewer diving...

Many years ago I had a client in Malibu call complaining she had a foot thick layer of paper towels in her septic tank and the septic tank pumping company could not remove it. She said she called everywhere and she could not find a single firm to remediate the problem.

My office dispatched one of my staff plumbers and he went out. Not having heard anything, I radioed my man and he said he was on his way back, he told her he couldnt' do it. He whined about no air, access too small, standing in raw sewage, etc. I told him to get his crybaby lazy ass back and sign a contract with the client and I will deal with it.

So client signs a $2400 contract to remove the laye rof paper towels in her spetic tank. The next day I am there with my Viking rubber vulcanized drysuit, breathing filter and a dive mask. The septic tank access port was too small for a ladder, so I fabricated a really narrow ladder with copper t's and 90's. The ladder was so small as I descended into the port I had to raise my arms over my head and decend down with feet only. I had my dive mask on as well as a dual cartridge, activated carbon filter that fill-turd (couldn't resist that one) out the funk. We used our carpet dryers we use for flood cleanup and aimed one down the port to blow breathable topside air in and to displace any methane that might be present. I was knee deep on paper mache' floating brown crappie lunkers and used a short D handled shovel to chop the kitchen style paper cleanup towels and slop it into a 5 gallon plastic bucket roped up by my man. We threw the slop into the bed liner of my pickup truck. (You dont' want to know where it ended up, but somehow it mysteriously escaped the pickup bed before we got back to the Valley. The words really steep dirt trail and 4 wheel drive come to mind, not sure why....

Whole procedure took about 2 hours of actually being there. Predictably the client in their multimillion dollar home complains about the contract price AFTER the fact based upon time took. So anyway she says as long as we were there she wanted a "bid" which is what I call 10 contractors lining up fighting to see who is willing to lose the most amount of $, to repipe her bathroom. I replied with surprise; "Why, you already have copper?!" I have low pressure she says in her shower and lavatory sink in said bathroom and I have received bids ranging in the 8K area. 5 minutes later I had her shower head flow restrictor cleaned as well as her lav faucet aerator cleaned of debris, saving them 8k and I did it for free.

The Viking rubber drysuit is to my recollection the only Federally recognized HAZMAT drysuit. Nuclear reactor divers use it in contaminated waters in reactors. I put it on several times a year to crawl around under homes with floods usually from rotted out kitchen drains to the tune of $500 for just using the suit. Most sewage remediation firms suck all the crap out from under but the client cannot use their facilities for at least a week as it dries till the rotted out drain can be accessed and fixed, whereas I just crawl it in the´stew and fix it first. Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria will naturally consume the organize waste saving the client an average of 5-10K of cleanup and it will dry out naturally.

You know, from a write off standpoint, open circuit causes turbulence from the bubbles of exhalation, so when we are doing swimming pool leak detection and using dye squirt bottles into cracks to see if it sucks into the concrete crack, closed circuit rebreathers are a must..yeah, that's it, that's the ticket yeah....



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