Friday, 25 December 2009

Cleaning Sewage

It was the morning after Christmas, and merely seven hours after midnight, we were awoken by a ‘bang-bang-bang!’ on our front door.

After only one holiday, our village of Myungdang-ri was up and running again.

In our pyjamas, we quickly changed our clothes and answered the door. A man was solidly standing in front of me, with a full getup of dirty work clothes. From what I could make of his words, it was time for the annual cleaning of our house’s sewage tank.

Since our town doesn’t have a sewage system set up, all of our, ahem, ‘wastes’, collect in a tank, right underground, in front of our house.

This is how I imagined the whole process to be carried out: a tube would be lowered into the tank, everything contained in it would be sucked up into a truck, and that would be that.

But no…

The inefficient process turned out to take hours upon hours. The workers made a small bonfire on our neighbour’s property using some of her small trees to keep themselves warm. After a ramen break, they started to drill… The sounds rang through our living room for longer than we expected.

The workers drilled over ten meters of our concrete lawn, leaving behind a wake of mashed-up, poorly laid out concrete.

Instead of using one of the few manholes scattered on our lawn, they just happily and carelessly tore up our lawn, making a foot-and-a-half-wide path from the base of our home to the edge of our property. After pumping up the sewage, they decided to fill the gash on our property with one foot of crumbly concrete that we could easily kick up. How inefficient.

With the rough translation, ‘We’ll bill you later’, the workers were gone, and although we were left with an empty sewage tank, the ugliness that the process left behind wasn’t worth the trouble.

Aunt Kimchi’ll have something to say about this.

- Jess


  1. I hope that this bill isn't like your heating bill! Sounds pretty sloppy...

  2. See moral of the story is "leave stinky poos in your home for months and they make a stinky mess on your lawn" ( I kid I kid). Hope they didn't gouge you too badly little buddy.