Hurry Up And…Wait.

by Lisa Linderman on July 15, 2010

in commercial kitchen,construction projects

So we’ve been installing our trailer for a while now.  Mostly we’ve gotten a pier-built deck put on (many many thanks to my Father and Jesus, his gardener/handyman).  We’ve peeled out part of the flooring.  And then we went on Quest for Sewer.  Yeah.

First Todd dug down to where the outlet for the garage sink should be.  No pipe.  He went inside and shined a light into the trap, and realized the pipe went South, not East.  Rats.   So they dug that way.  Instead of a pipe they found…a 36″ wide, concrete-sided French drain, which received water from both the garage sink and the garage and house roof drains.  Wonderful.  According to the neighbors, it drains from there down drain tiles to the creek, but given how full of sediment it seems to be, I think it doesn’t really drain anywhere except slowly straight down.

Then we called in a plumber to track the sewer.  That was fun.  There was apparently no clean-out in our house plumbing.  Made an appointment to have one installed in the weird bit of pipe that comes out of the basement ceiling and goes almost directly into the basement wall…only to discover that there was indeed a cleanout on that pipe, inside the wall.  Well, that’s some good news I suppose.  (Turns out there’s only one plumbing vent on our house as well, and there should be at least three.  I have no idea how that works.)

After finding the clean-out, we had a guy come out with a tracker and a camera, and he determined that our sewer runs straight out the back of the house, under the concrete walkway, then does a 90 degree turn north and ends up…at the French Drain.  ???!?  He does say it goes down about 5-6 feet beneath the drain, so it should be a real sewer pipe, but as to why there’s a French drain above it…I have no idea.  Neither does anyone else.  Dad’s called the former two owners of the house, taking it back to 1976, and they don’t know either.  House was built in 1947, so that still leaves about 30 years of history, but theoretically it was hooked to sewer before 1976.  That doesn’t gibe with what the neighbors to the south claim, but the city has no record either.  Sigh.

So then Dad went down to City Hall to talk to them.  Big, big can of worms.  We’re now waiting on a sewer permit and a water permit (something we were told we didn’t need as long as we were doing something to our own property, and not tying into a bigger system).  Once we get those, we have to get a permit from Labor and Industries to modify the trailer (shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s , I expect, just expensive), and then an electrical permit from the State for the electrical work.  THEN we might be able to proceed to attempt to hook the trailer up to the sewer in the first place.  I think a gray water tank and a black water tank would have been infinitely easier at this point, but what’s done is done.  So we wait for water and sewer permits from the city, and talk to L&I, and see.

And as I’m writing this, I get a call from Dad.  Turns out L&I doesn’t actually probably care unless it’s a “concession stand”, like a Taco Wagon or a Lunch Cart or a Hot Dog Trolley thingy.  (That’s what we were told originally, so it’s probably true.)  We have no employees, and we aren’t serving directly out of the kitchen.   Seems like no one knows what the hell to do with this.  Does this mean I’m thinking Out Of The Box, since it seems like this giant crazy thing no one can wrap their heads around?  Awfully small box, if so.

I think part of the problem might stem from the fact that we keep referring to it as a “Commercial Kitchen”, when really it’s a “Food Processing Facility”.  Or maybe not, I’m not sure any of them know what either one is.  I’ve also just been told I need a Home Occupancy Permit, which goes against what I read.  I specifically chose this size trailer to stay beneath the square footage needed to require a Home Occupancy Permit.   And while they’re telling me they have no jurisdiction over the remodel of the trailer because it’s a trailer, they’re also telling me the windows are “non-conforming”.  You can’t have it both ways…either you have jurisdiction over the trailer, or you don’t.  Bureaucracy makes me crazy.  I’m going back to bed.

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