Do you remember Magic Drawing Board from the old "Captain Kangaroo" show? That was one of my favorite parts of the show. (Along with Mr. Green Jeans setting an upright bass across his lap and playing it like a guitar.) The basic idea was that this screen illustrated songs and stories that were told. One of Magic Drawing Board's best numbers was "Hole in the bottom of the Sea" a cumulative folksong. We had our own little version of that happen in our front yard this week.
I had reported on the new water main that was being installed last month in Week in Review. Tuesday was our day to get our line hooked into the new main. The morning started with a backhoe opening up a work hole across the street to access the new main:
Then they needed to open up a hole big enough for a person to stand in and connect our line to the main:
So far so good:
You can see the shut off here. What happens after the two holes are opened on either side of the street is that a horizontal bore will dig under the street to open a hole for the new line. This is a much smaller version of what the City did when digging the new main line under the sidewalk, and what we did in our geothermal system. The water workers refer to their little bore as "The Mole."
A worker went in to do a little hand digging to expose our line and that's when things started to go a little funny. A pocket of gravel (washed rock" to the water guys, they know their terms for what you might find underground) opened up next to the water line:
And it grew:
And it grew! At this point the backhoe moved because so much gravel had poured out from under the street bed that the fear was that the where one the feet was planted would cave in.
That was when I had to leave and go teach a workshop. Lisa called at noon to tell me that the hole was now twice as big as what they had said they needed. She called again at 2:00 to say that the workers tried to use the mole and the hole collapsed around it before they could get across the street. Then they sawed open a channel across the street and started digging the whole thing out with a backhoe. She said then they stopped and pretty soon the Mid American Energy guys came along. There was a big confab and lots of pointing into the hole. It turned out that the backhoe had nicked the plastic casing on a gas line. Mid American checked and pr0claimed everything safe. When I came home at 5:00 our water was on. The hole in the street was covered back up and gravel laid over it
The hole in our yard was so big they didn't have enough dirt to completely fill it. Yesterday they came with a truck load and filled it all back up:
Lisa said that they had completely filled the other side of our lower front yard (where all our geothermal piping is, so I was very diligent in mentioning where it was) with dirt and cement while opening up the street. But by the time I had come home they had cleared it all away:
My guess is that the gravel was dumped into a big hole created when our sewer line was replaced 15 years ago but never really packed in. I am very impressed with the water workers, they are polite, good communicators, and very diligent!