Friday, May 23, 2014

Water and Sewer Distractions Return

Our street is a little bit gone
I don't think I've gone into a lot of detail here on the blog about our sewer and plumbing woes over the past year or so, but those who know us, know that Lori and I have had ongoing water issues in our house and on our street for a long time.  I would have needed a separate daily blog to keep track of all of the twists and turns that the leaks, backups, trenches, floods, new hookups, remodeling, demolition, renovations, and re-routing took in our basement, through the sidewalk, and into the street.  The sewer and water pipes that we had to deal with were less than 30 feet long, but that length spanned three jurisdictions, from inside our house (our problem, our plumber) , through the sidewalk (city's problem, municipal workers), and into the street (city's problem, contract construction company).  Trying to coordinate the repairs and replacement of pipes across those three jurisdictions over a year's time has been disruptive at best and all-consuming at worst.

This was the trench in front of our house last night.  If you look at the backhoe in the upper right corner of the photo you can see that it is sitting on backfill overlaying three big pipes.  The big black culvert in line with the backhoe scoop in the deepest part of the trench is the storm drain.  Prior to this upgrade, the sewer lines from all of the houses on our side of the street drained into it.  Now we are connected into the smaller green sewer pipe just above it and to the left.  The little waterfall running down into the basin in front of the big black storm drain pipe is flowing out of the old sewer pipe that was connected to the houses on the other side of the street.   The rest of the water flowing into the pipe is coming from the disconnected storm sewer in line with it upstream.  The backhoe at the top of the photo is sitting with its left tread over the sewer pipe and its right tread over the new main water line. 

The green pipes are for the sewer and the big blue pipes are the new waterline.  The skinny blue hula hoop is a loop of blue municipex pipe that runs from the main line to each house.  

One of the white sewer
lines being buried runs
 into our house
Anyhow, we're hoping that things have turned a corner today.  The major sewer upgrade on our street has finally made it's way to our house and we are now completely tied in to the new sewer system.  We had new pipes installed last fall inside our house and under the sidewalk, but they were still running into the storm drains (like every other house on our side of the street).  Today the last stretch of pipe was added and we have all new sewer pipes running from the inside of the house to the middle of the street and on down the line to a treatment plant, instead of flowing into the Waterford River and exiting into the St. John's harbour.

This trench migrates up the street.  The backhoe at the far end of the trench digs out the leading edge of the hole and the one at this end fills it back in again as the workers install the pipes in the bottom of the trench.  They travel at a rate of a few houses a day

The view out of my office window 
While the trench was open through the sidewalk last fall to replace the city's length of sewer pipe between our house and the street we asked the municipal workers to add a new plastic "municipex" waterline to the trench.  This line would eventually replace the existing copper pipes that were installed when the house was built in the 1930s.  That municipex line was hooked up inside our house today by plumbers that we hired and the other end of it is tied into a temporary waterline that is being used on our block while the main line is replaced.  So technically, there will be one more operation on that end of the line by the contract workers hired by the city to do the sewer upgrade, but it shouldn't involve us.  We can begin to focus on putting our house back together after having the house torn apart for months waiting for all the little pieces of the puzzle to come together.

Inside the house is our problem.  Our shut off valve and sewer cleanout used to be in a closet in the corner of the basement, but because we have a porch over that area now we couldn't dig up that part of the sidewalk outside of the house.  That meant re-routing the water and sewer pipes about 8 feet into the main room in the basement.  Now that everything is hooked up again we can begin encasing and refinishing that wall.  We'll need to create some sort of removable access box to cover the valve and drain.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

1 comment:

  1. That is one big sewer problem. You're right that coordinating everything isn't easy. Your government would have to bid out the project to contractors, and that process isn't a quick one. At least by now, your plumbing problems are about to repaired, and you and Lori can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Let's hope that everything is fixed up quickly. Take care!

    Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing


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