Cover Thy Poo Junction

Saturday | October 6th, 2012

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I covered the wonder of the poo junctions weeks ago, soon after moving in. These pipes connect to vats of water which drip along to the other pipe and so goes the flow of things. Normally, like in more developed countries, all this piping is underground and in one pipe … without a break. In Korea, there are poo junctions. Meow has since told me that they are illegal, but in the countryside … it’s still illegal to put these in, but … it’s the countryside so no one cares.

The obvious problems with poo junctions are the smell and the noise. Both things are avoided with the cover which seals the hole and acts as a sound barrier. However, our poo junction cover has a giant chip in it (hero image, top) and a significant crack. Both these things let loose the smells and soundful joys of bathroom living. The dogs like it. We hate it. Replacing the cover is expensive (not bathtub expensive) as it comes in a set with its vertical tube. I have no idea what other folks do when their poo junction covers get cracks and chips. Maybe they do nothing.

I can’t do nothing. This has been bothering me since I saw it was borked during the renovations. (Of course we asked reno-guy to fix it … guess how that conversation went.) This morning when I was sleeping, I dreamt of myself fixing this and all the materials I would use and how I would put them together. As soon as I woke up and could see clearly, I started banging out what I saw in my dream.

Cutting a circle with a jigsaw worked out okay. I only had to go back and slice off a few turns to get the plywood to fit. The real pain was getting my lopsided pieces to fit together in the hole without dropping the bottom piece down into the poo water. The solution I can up with was to fit them together, mark the “wing” parts of the bottom piece temporarily, then tack them together with a fast screw. Then I drilled a hole through both pieces, put stronger tacks in, and retested the cover in the hole. It fit fine.

The end thingy was a double layer cover with a top piece to sit on the inset and a bottom piece to go down into the hole a little bit. Conceivably, if this doesn’t work, I could tie on more layers to further muffle the sounds and smells, but this worked out well when tested. The layers between the plywood are either vinyl or pvc. The idea is that this is the stuff that can mesh and conform to the curves of the shaft and make a seal. There are three layers to stop the poo-venting. The assorted pieces on top (above, middle) are to protect the wood. A little warping and swelling is good, that should make my cover a little more snug and sealing, but too much will damage it and perhaps rot the wood the the point where I have to pay someone to fetch pieces of the cover out of the poo junction itself (it won’t be me). The little metal piece (above, right) is an extra corner bracket which should give the next guy something to pull on to open up the junction.

The cover fits perfectly in its space, but when we did the first toilet flushing tests, the water sounds were still pretty audible, so I packed the remaining empty spaces with extra bits of Styrofoam (above, middle). This had the affect that I wanted. It was much harder to hear the water down below. I put one larger piece of vinyl down over the whole thing for a little more protecting and sealing.

When we were looking at the house the second time, the old man who sold it to us kept moving this funky piece of gray plastic over the poo junction cover. It was cracked and chipped and he didn’t want us to notice and complain. We had used this same piece to cover the chipped cover, thinking it would be okay, but a week or so of use proved that pretty much wrong. For all things being done and the same, I went ahead and used the original cover with the nice flat brick to keep the dogs from knocking it around.

A few more tests and I could only hear the water if I put my ear to the ground and even then, I needed a lot of silence to notice. I only wish my neighbors would tend to their poo junctions and I wouldn’t have to hear them use the bathroom or do the dishes all the time. (But that’s what loud music is for.)

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