Close Call, Good Eyes
The temporarily restored drain system was working well. The backlog of laundry, gone. The snowy, cold weather had abated on Saturday and part of Sunday. It was a good weekend.
Dan and crew arrived early Monday morning (Mar 02), shortly after 7:00am. Only the street portion of the sewer repair remained. Dan asked how the weekend went. I replied that it was problem free. Very pleased, he briefed us on the day’s plan to complete the project. It would involve removing the last section of Orangeburg pipe from our sewer line, the portion connected to the sewer main under the street. With everything located (sewer main, water main and gas main) and the street closed, Dan didn’t foresee any problems.
Though we had a dusting of snow the night before, the sun was already peeking through the thin cloud cover. The work crew began to make a cut in the road with their tools – a power saw with a diamond blade to cut the asphalt surface and a jack hammer to break it apart.
With the asphalt removed from the cut, the backhoe slowly began making a trench in the street. The process was much slower due to the buried service lines beneath the street. While Quinn (operating the backhoe) and Dakota (with assorted shovels) were fashioning the street trench, Trevor was working to create a tunnel under the sidewalk from inside our fence line.
The tunnel would be used to remove the last section of the Orangeburg pipe and insert the Schedule 40 pipe.
After reaching a certain depth with the backhoe, part of the street trench had to be hand dug by shovel – particularly around the gas main. With Dakota and Quinn hand-digging, work had slowed considerably. Then, it came to a stop. Something was going on. Dakota had become plenty upset. What happened? Dan, returning from picking up more supplies, was shaking his head, and had a dismayed look on his face. After Dakota had his say, Dan was talking to someone on his phone. Another problem?
A few minutes later, Quinn and Dakota were back in the street trench hand-digging with their shovels. Whatever the problem was, it had to have been resolved. An hour later, the street trench was completed. Due to the sandy soil, a safety insert was lowered into the street trench.
With the safety insert in the street trench, Dakota quickly cut and removed the remaining portions of Orangeburg while Dan cut away the portion connected to the sewer main.
After the Schedule 40 pipe was laid and connected to the sewer main, Dan invited us outside to explain what was done. While the Orangeburg nearest the sewer main seemed to be in the best condition, there were signs it was beginning to deform.
Dan also showed how the Schedule 40 pipe was laid in the street trench, beneath the gas main.
Talking a few minutes later with Dakota, we found out why he became upset earlier. Apparently when Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) did the location on the gas main, they located the old, inactive cast iron line instead. They completely missed the active gas main (orange PVC pipe with white locator wire). Dakota said if he hadn’t seen it from the corner of his eye, he would have struck the gas main with his shovel. It was too close of a call. He said CSU makes too many locator mistakes in the older neighborhoods where the gas mains have been replaced.
After another test of our drain system, and passing inspection, the street trench and the small trench in the front yard was backfilled.
Our “Adventures in Plumbing” had come to an end. A very good end.
Preview – Adventures in Plumbing, Souvenirs
Other than a big bill, the bits and pieces of the completed work. Though calling them souvenirs …