Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Plumbing Saga Day 4: Adventures with Bobcat

This is a continuation of our wee plumbing saga. To read the last installment, click here. To go back to the beginning, click here.

I call this pic Still Life with Buckets. It only hints at the excitement going on behind the house, though there was enough noise and commotion on Sunday to draw the attention of neighbors. We were creating quite the little scene.
Just before that, our bobcat rental had been dropped off. As our plumbers hadn't yet arrived for the day, Keith the equipment delivery guy was obligated to show someone the key functions and safety features to someone. That someone would be me.
It was amazingly easy to handle, though I only swiveled in the driveway, and did not need to be trusted to avoid damaging the house or running into the propane tank. I happily climbed off when Don the plumber arrived, but gotta share the coolest picture: the fast/slow indicator on the bobcat. Isn't that super clear, no matter what your language?
To make room for the bobcat down the side of the house, they ripped out our old gate. Goodbye gate. The intention was to put it aside to put it up back up again, but it was so old that it practically disintegrated in their hands. Note the aforementioned propane tank that heats our house. We'll call this the left hand side of the house, as we look out towards the street (this distinction will be important later). And note the girl in the distance... that's me taking pictures from the front yard; this pic would have been taken by my sister looking out the bathroom window. Patient guys, all our picture taking, I must say....
And so the dig began... this is when they got a bit closer to the old septic field.
A moment of contemplation... where to dig next?
"Oh no, no can find sewer", thinks Don the plumber after half a dozen hours of digging with the bobcat, both beside the house and behind the house. Our yard is half dug up, and we are no closer to finding what we are looking for.
Brad the waterworks guy from the City of Sidney had dropped by that morning to give us a copy of what they had on file for our property (by the way, I keep saying "our", but really, to be clear, this is my mom's house! ;-).... From this diagram you can see that there are two sewer lines (indicated by red), one running along the street in front of the house, and another running beside the right hand side of the house (the "other" side), along an easement on our neighbor's house. What is most interesting, I suppose, is the words that say, "Sewer unknown" (you can click to enlarge to read it for yourself... yup, it says unknown for the location of our sewer, never a good sign...).
Brad had been on site a couple of times that day, consulting with Don, to figure out which sewer we were most likely connected to. Apparently it was pretty easy to rule out the sewer main in front of the house. We were, apparently, connected to the sewer main on the other side of the house, meaning that the sewer line ran somewhere across the back of the house.... But just where, became increasingly elusive as the day progressed.
Towards dinnertime, Don admitted defeat (which he did not do easily, saying this was the worst situation he'd ever encountered trying to find a line), and said that if we couldn't get better information in the morning from the city, maybe we should just put in a whole new sewer line out to the street. Well, I guess that's an option. But what's a girl who barely manages toilet plunges to know? The good news was that there are little sewer robot cameras and other devices that can be used underground to find sewer connections, but Don wasn't sure what the city had, or what they could get their hands on. All he knew was that he had gone as far as he could with the blind backyard digging without ripping up our cement slab patio.
This was Liam the plumber-boy having his turn sitting in the bobcat, once it was turned off for the day. He was dying to drive it, and I gather it won't be long until he gets his chance. He is actually planning to become a plumber's apprentice. You are looking at the future owner of Sidney Plumbing. Oh, Liam is also good at finding backyard treasures, having located two balls, one truck and one toy soldier during the dig.
And after a photoshoot on the bobcat after the guys had left (my sister of me, goofing around on the bobcat), we settled into another night of "Leave the flushing to us!" and praying that the morning would bring more answers and, hopefully, a conclusion to our saga... how naive we were...
To learn what happened on day 5, click here.

No comments: