Stubborn Plumbing Problem

yellow flower in a pool of water in a rock

The first plumbing problem happened this week. Both kitchen sinks drain into a grease trap. Mr. house builder said the trap had to be cleaned out regularly and it has been. The last few cleanings did not produce a lot of grease. In hindsight, that was a warning of what was to come.

The sink backed up on Sunday. A kitchen sink faucet was running to test the water pump. After a few minutes water backed up and the drain was plugged. Water was removed and potasa was put down the drain. Eventually a dark sludge and grease chunks came out. However, the drain did not flow freely so more potasa was applied.

yellow wild peanut flowers in Costa Rica

More unplugging attempts on Monday but it was still clogged. Another container of potasa was put down the drain and sat overnight. Tuesday morning more work on the blockage. Mario was cutting grass near the chicken palace and asked me if there was a problem with the pipes. He explained what needed to be done and I asked if he would help.

After the clog softens with potasa, use water from a garden hose to flush the drain. That did the trick; however it was only part of what needed to be done. The garden hose, with water running, was inserted up and down the pipes in the grease trap. More guck was released and finally everything was flowing perfectly. Mario said potasa and the hose technique need to be done every three months. He was surprised we went a decade without doing that.

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I am more careful with the kitchen drain now. Everything is pre-cleaned with paper towels. As I was doing the new method, I recalled watching my grandmother in her kitchen. Before washing dishes, she meticulously removed every speck of food from everything. She masterly manipulated spatulas to take off every iota of food. It was clear nothing was going down the drain. As a child I thought her actions were extreme but now I understand.