Wednesday 10 July 2013

Dig We Must

    Normally, seeing a small section of damp earth is nothing to get concerned about, but if that moist section is right above your buried waterline, it can mean big trouble.  Yesterday, a neighbor and I walked up to see how we were going to deal with another problem on our waterline--a 200 pound (90 kg) boulder that had slide into our collecting culvert at the head of our waterline.  We went up to try and figure out how we were going to get the monster out.
    Before we got to the culvert we happened upon the soggy ground and we had to switch our priorities.  The boulder wasn’t really causing any problems, just taking up space in the culvert, but if our  waterline had developed a leak, that was trouble.
    We began digging around the moist area, and the deeper we dug the soupier the ground became.  Soon we could see spots where the water was seeping up through the ground.  We saw areas where we had dug, start to rise and move eerily as the water forced its way up from below.  As we dug down, we also had to dig a trench sideways about 10 ft (3 m), to the edge of the hill,  so the water would drain away and not fill up our hole.
    Yesterday, we only managed to dig down through the rocky/sandy soil about 2 feet (60 cm).  We didn’t know how deep we were going to have to dig to find our waterline.  In places it is buried 8 ft (2.4 m.) below the surface.  We finally quit, deciding to begin again today.   Luckily, this morning we were joined by another neighbor ( a younger one with more energy than us old guys) who helped us dig.  Joan took the photo showing how I looked, when I came home from lunch.  We managed to find the waterline 5 ft (1.5m) down, and discovered that there was a leak in the union of two of our pipes.   
    This afternoon we wheeled two wheelbarrows filled with tools up the hill, and luckily had all the tools and pieces of plumbing we needed to take the faulty piece off and replace it with a new part.  Of course, at this point we had turned the water off at the top of our waterline, and after about an hour we managed completed the repair and had water flowing through it without leaking.
    We all returned home chilled (we had rain showers during our operations on the hill), but we’re all happy that the miserable job had been successfully completed and hopefully, we won’t have any similar problems for 20 or more years.  I am finally warming up, but still pretty knackered from all that digging.  I’m glad it all went as smoothly as it did.   
    As we were digging in the rain, several times I wondered how easy life must be living in an apartment, where water problems have to be solved by someone else.

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