Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

April 19, 2006

Plumbing Day Update

Today was to be the day that our yard gets dug up by a nice guy (seriously) with a back hoe. However, it's not happening, because of this sequence of events:

  1. Monday morning: the plumbers think that the leak is from our water service, probably a leak in the pipe that goes between the main at the street and our house.
  2. The water company turns off water at curb, to see if that stops the leak.
  3. The leak in the basement gradually slows down.
  4. Monday afternoon: The plumbers come back to survey the situation. They decide to operate. That will involve digging up the pipe in the front yard and in order to replace it. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday. It will be out-patient; our yard will be able to go back home the same day, but there will be a period of recovery as grass etc. grows back.
  5. We decide to turn the water back on until the repair can be made, since the leak is only about 10 gallons a day, which we seem to be able handle.
  6. We call the water company to get the water turned back on in the meantime; they say "No, we can't do that; you claimed the leak was damaging property, so we sent someone in 30 minutes instead of 7-10 days, and now we aren't going to turn it back on until you give us written evidence that it was repaired." Reasonable.
  7. We tell the plumbers, who come back and try to turn the water back on. They have trouble getting a grip on it (it's about 4 feet underground, down a metal pipe that is full of leaked water, and they use a long steel tool to turn the valve). "The service box is shifted over, and we can't get the key onto the valve handle." They dig a hole around the pipe and try to shift it over to get a better angle. Eventually we decide that we didn't want the water on anyway -- the yard is waterlogged below the 18-inch level; this will give it a chance to dry up and make the work easier. Besides, it will halt water damage to our basement.
  8. We call JULIE to mark the location of our gas line (and cable TV and telephone and electric, but those are not in the front yard).
  9. Bahiyyih buys white "marking paint", which Billy sprays haphazardly in a snaking line (three snaking lines, actually) over the front yard in the vicinity of said digging. Bahiyyih "Steady Hand of the Quilter" Baker probably should have done the spraying instead.
  10. We fetch water from Heidi's house, for drinking and flushing toilets. We make plans to use paper plates and stuff for the next few days.
  11. Monday evening: we discover that the toilets still flush. What the? In fact, the water is on. But the leak has stopped. We're not really sure why. The water tastes funny -- we figure some leaked into the pipes from the yard during the time that it was turned off. We continue to drink water from Heidi's house, although showering, flushing, dishwashing all seem to be okay with our local supply.
  12. Georgia has a soccer game. We play in the park and have a good time.
  13. Tuesday: a guy with some neat underground pipe-finding equipment marks where our gas lines are.
  14. Wednesday morning: the plumbers and the guy with the backhoe show up. We tell them the situation. "Well, if the leak has stopped, there's no need to dig up your yard, is there?" Maybe the problem was in the valve at the street, and it was "fixed" by turning it off and then slightly on. In any event, that valve belongs to the water company, and it's their responsibility to fix it if it's broken.
  15. Bahiyyih announces that it smells like the water company is doing one of their periodic chlorine flushes (which they do about three times a year, and which makes the water taste distinctly swimming-pool-ish), just in time to clear out our dirty pipes.

In short, the leak has stopped, apparently just because the valve at the street was closed and then opened just a little bit, in a failed attempt to open it all the way.

So no plumbing day after all. We'll see what happens next.

Posted by Billy at April 19, 2006 01:15 PM