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By View From Falling Downs
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We fooled everybody... except the health inspector

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In my teen years I had a gas-pumper job at John’s Supertest, out Waterloo Ave just past Silvercreek. It was a two-storey structure with a couple of apartments upstairs, and public washrooms, an office, and an auto repair shop on the main floor.

My job included keeping the public washrooms clean. Over time, there seemed to me to be more and more plumbing malfunctions, to the point I was spending more time mopping up toilet overflow as pumping gas.
We brought the situation to the attention of the absentee owner, who had bought the place as a real estate investment. Eventually a backhoe and a couple of guys with clipboards showed up. 
Bad news! The city sanitary sewer didn’t run that far out Waterloo Ave at the time, and the septic system needed replaced.
The owner wasn’t the kind of guy to throw around money on capital improvements if they could be somehow delayed, avoided, or simply forgotten. His solution? The backhoe had partially exposed the rotten septic tank, so there was an open sewage pit in the side-yard. He spent fifty bucks on a sump pump and fifty feet of plastic pipe to pump the shit and piss into the ditch.
That solved the problem of the toilets not flushing, but it created a new problem.
The scent of raw sewage permeated the air.
People would comment on it when they pulled up for gas. I blamed it on the City of Guelph sewage treatment plant, just down the road.
“Ya, I know! When the wind blows the wrong way, they stink up the whole neighbourhood. Ain’t it disgusting!”
That worked pretty good for about six months. Then one day, the health department guy who does septic tank inspections stopped in for gas. Unbeknownst to me, his office was at the sewage treatment plant, so he knew what it smelled like down there, which was nothing like the smell at John’s Supertest.
As I’m filling up his car and washing his windshield, he’s walking around sniffing the air. His sniffer takes him towards the ditch. He bends over and puts a finger in the muck and lifts it to his nose…
I knew we were screwed right there.
He spots the plastic pipe and follows it back to our sewage pond. We’re shut down on the spot.
Overnight, the owner found the money for the new septic system, and we were open for business by the next afternoon!
Alas, John’s Supertest was eventually bulldozed to make way for the mother of all highway interchanges, where Waterloo Ave crosses the Hanlon. That monstrosity wiped out everything in a one mile radius except for a strip joint and the Guelph Bible Chapel, but I’ll leave those for the next history lesson.


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