Wednesday, July 20, 2011

that was fun (not)

(From Wikipedia: Laying pipe for Seattle water supply 02 - 1900.jpg)

Monday night Sister Suzy and I were taking the trash out to the street for trash pick-up the next morning and Sister Suzy stepped off the sidewalk into a wet spot. She hollered at me to come here! Using the flashlight and looking around she was standing in a puddle in the grass with the water meter in a direct line on the other side of the sidewalk. Uh Oh! That was the exact spot we dug up eight years ago and tied into the water line. We called Hubby out for him to have a look-see and a strategy session. The game plan was to get up early when it was cool and start digging after watering everybody and filling some buckets.

Tuesday morning we actually got up early to beat the heat and got everything set up. I lay (I just learned the correct past tense for lie. Woot!) down beside the water meter and had to bail water to get to the shut-off valve. Then we started the odious task of digging up the water line on our side of the sidewalk. We finally found the shut-off valve we installed on our side (You can never have too many!) and turned it off so the water from the house wouldn't siphon back. We bailed water out of the hole and dug Muddy Black River-Bottom Gumbo for three hours until we found the pipe coming in from the meter. The light moments were when we were scraping mud off the shovel and it was plopping on the pile and looked like a smaller version of the dino dung pile that the actors in Jurassic Park dug in to find a phone. Turned all the valves on and watched the meter spin around-n-around while watching the water level in the hole start to rise very slowly. We figured out which joint was leaking so we came in the house and called it a day because it was up over 100 degrees by then.

This morning we even got up earlier and got busy. Had to bail the meter hole again to turn it off. Hubby headed to the hardware store for parts. Sister Suzy and I got to bail water out of the hole we had dug and then enlarge the hole to expose more pipe so the pipe would flex as we replaced joints. What a muddy nasty mess! Because of the saturated heavy clay soil the water kept perculating into the hole. The dirt was sticking to the shovel and the dirt would fall into the water and fall apart. Then we would have to bail the muck out of the hole. If you weren't careful the muck would splash and you would have it all over your face because we were on our bellies hanging over a three-foot deep hole scooping and scraping mud.

We finally got enough pipe exposed I called break time. As we sit around the table having a drink and cooling off we discussed how to get the leaky joint replaced. Quite frankly I was ready to call it a day because I was stiff, sore, hot and miserable. I just wasn't looking forward to trying to make the repair because I was having trouble reaching the bottom of the hole and I remembered having trouble making the original joint. I wasn't too sure I could make a better joint this time being eight years older and not as spry as I was eight years earlier. (I'm also too short at 5'2" to lie on my belly and comfortably reach the bottom of a three-foot hole!) Sister Suzy wanted to 'get-er-done' so she suggested we get one of the neighbor guys that my bunch grew up with to come and do the actual gluing of the joint. She called and he was gracious enough to come over, cut the old joint out and install the new one. (Hubby is taking him and Sister Suzy next weekend to 'Harry Potter, IMAX' as a token of appreciation.)

The men were ready to immediately turn the water back on to see if it was going to leak. I was adamant we were going to wait this time for the joint to cure before turning on the water. (I think that was one of the mistakes we made last time along with not getting the end of the pipe all the way to the bottom the coupling.) Hubby bought a new glue that will work wet or dry and on any type of PVC pipe. It is suppose to be set in 15 minutes and completely cured in two hours at 60 degrees. We waited three hours at 100+ degrees! LOL

And the results? No leaks! Yeah!

We are going to refill the hole with play sand up to about four-inches from the top. Then add topsoil for the grass to have something to root in. If we ever need to dig that hole up again it should be easier to dig in sand than clay!

Have a good day!


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