Thursday, June 05, 2008

The water main

A little late, but this is certainly noteworthy! Last Tuesday, after I miraculously put Rose down to bed just before 8, I washed my hands and noticed we have very little water pressure. Curious, I went into the kitchen and checked-- no water pressure there, either. I told Dave, who prepared to go next door to see if they had water pressure. He opened the door, and saw what the problem was. We had water shooting up 6 feet in the air! OK, I didn't actually see it, and the number keeps getting bigger, but for little while we had a water feature going there in our front yard. By the time I got out there to take a look, it was just a little fountain, reaching up maybe 2 inches, but the amount of water that was coming out of it was amazing. Dave ran around trying to find the right tools to turn off our water main, and had to borrow a tool from the neighbor. Before he got it turned off, we saw the water gauge quickly turning in circles.

Immediately, we started looking for tools, shovels, and everything else we might need. Dave started digging as soon as we borrowed a shovel from our neighbor. One of our shoves is missing and the other was run over by the people who resurfaced our lawn. Lacy couldn't sleep with us out there working, so I told her she could watch us IF she would sit quietly in a chair and not get up. I thought this would take very little time to find where the pipe was. I misjudged. Dave's friend Chris had work lights, so he said he'd come over and help us out. At that point, it was close to 10, so I made Lacy go to bed.

Dave and Chris kept working until after 11, when they finally found the pipe. It was too late and they didn't have all the tools and parts to fix the pipe, so they decided to call it a night. The next morning, was at the Home Depot as soon as it opened. He worked hard and fast, and got the repair done early. He was able to still make it down to work before the first break was over, and got an 8 hour day still. He kept the hole open to see if there are any leaks. There are a couple, but unfortunately Dave hasn't had the time with his crazy schedule to fix it, so I have a giant hole in my front yard still! Oh, well-- at least I have running water! I keep reminding myself how much worse it could have been-- it could have happened while we were asleep, or while we were out of town even. We had a much higher than normal water bill last month, which I attributed to watering my garden more often, but perhaps the leaky pipe also contributed!

While we were working, I gave Lacy the camera, and she took a few pictures of the action. This one's a pretty accurate depiction of what we were doing. Dave doing all the work, me scratching my head wondering what the heck I could do to help. Really, the only thing I was doing was watching, fetching tools, and telling Dave where the water was coming from when he turned the main on and off so he would know where to dig (I would have just dug straight down from where the water was coming up, but it was actually at quite a bit of an angle. Glad Dave's smart about this type of thing).

At last! The broken pipe. If you click on it for a larger image, you can see the 6 inch crack across the top of the pipe.

Dave's repair work.

We are going to replace the whole pipe when we relandscape our front yard. Apparently there is another spot on the pipe where a repair has been done, and according to our neighbor it didn't look as sturdy as Dave's repair. The pipe is only rated at 75 pounds pressure and should be 150 pounds (or something like that... that's jargon I'm not really familiar with) so it really should be fixed anyway. He's planning on trenching it out and buffering it with a layer of sand before covering it back up with dirt. The problem here was that big rocks were close to the pipe, bumped up against it with the normal shifting we have here in the Pacific Northwest, which weakened the pipe eventually leading to its failure.

But before that happens, I just want my front yard back. Pretty please?


Les said...

Wow, that water spout is getting taller every day, isn't it? :)

Carolyn said...

Yup, I increased it just for you!