Q. Some 17 years ago our house was hit by a tornado. One result was that the bathroom wall was soaked with water and then it molded. When we repaired the house, I washed the walls with undiluted household bleach and the contractor put a layer of waterproof plaster over the walls after drying. Then 10 years ago we put ceramic tile on the wall. In replacing some of the grout recently, we discovered mold. What can we do to get rid of it?
* Also, we have a septic tank which has served us for many years. Now it needs to be pumped out but the top cannot be entered without breaking it. Is it possible to pump out the tank through the tile which drains it?
Mrs. M.A. Brunk Kokomo, Ind.
A. Mildew or mold may be thwarted by applying one cup of household bleach and one-half cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) to one gallon of warm water. Using a bristle brush, scrub the mixture over the infected area. Let it stand 15 minutes and then rinse with clear water.
Since you say the area was dry before the plaster was applied, the mold must be triggered by leaks through the tile grout from the shower. Thus, perhaps you should regrout the tile.
* Now, about that faithful old septic tank and its need of pumping:
I would question if the pumping could be done at the point where the tile leaves the tank. A thick solid mat develops inside septic tanks. The mat is quite unlikely to be removed without a direct onslaught.
Further, septic tanks are often made in two or more compartments, each one needing to be pumped during the cleaning. You will need to break through the tank top in as many places as there are compartments to really pump it effectively.
After pumping, cut the holes in the top in such a way that you can cover them with removable lids. Then the next time pumping is called for, the lids can be removed without further breaking of the tank top.