Thursday, January 07, 2016

5039 Brush fire 2 - water

January 7, 2016

Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.” 
 --circa 1764--


My front lawn has a slight slope down to the road.  We had lots of rain throughout October and November, and I noticed that the end of the lawn near the road stayed wet a lot.  I sort of thought it was because under the thin layer of sod it's pure clay, so the lawn just wasn't absorbing the rain very well.

Then later I noticed that right along the curb, the grass was dying.

Then a week later I noticed that even though there'd been no rain for several days, water was spilling over the curb and running down the street to the storm drain.  Hmmmm.  That's not right.  Hmm.  My water meter is buried in the lawn just above the wet spot.

So. in mid-December I called the water department.  Left a voice mail, "Please send someone out to check the meter.  I think it's leaking.  Water is coming up through my lawn and running down the street."

A week passed with no response.  So I called again.  Again, "Leave a message."  The water is now coming up between the end of my driveway and the curb.  I'm worried about it undermining my driveway, and if it freezes under it, it will destroy my driveway.

Five days passed with no response.  It's now a heavy flow over the curb and down the street.  I wrote a letter to the town hall, ATTN: Water Dept. Fix this, damn it!

No response.  Until yesterday.  We'd had our first hard freeze.  The water continued to pour over the curb from my lawn, but on its trip down the street it froze, and had formed a sheet of ice several feet wide and a few inches thick, and growing.  About 10 am I found this stuck to my front door (I was home at the time, by the way, but there was no knock on the door):

I totally flipped out!  Jasper heard some words he'd never heard before.  

I called the number on the form, talked to a woman there, told them it's YOUR $%^&$%ing water, not mine, and I can't get anyone to respond.  She gave me the number to call for the water department, I called there --- and --- left a voice message.  I then sat down and wrote a very angry letter to the township water department which I intended to hand-carry to town hall.  But, in the meantime, the neighborhood had heard about it, and apparently several people were calling to complain.  Somebody must "know" somebody, because as I was leaving the house to tear some asses at town hall, I discovered a water department truck at the curb, and a man opening the hatch to the water meter.

Two hours later everything was fixed.

The guy was up to his elbows in freezing water in below freezing weather, and I told him I had started calling about this back when it was in the low 60s out, so when he gets back to the office he should complain, too.  He told me that when they'd installed meters back a few years ago, they'd used a meter with a plate on the bottom that (this is hard to believe) disintegrates in water.  I said "No shit."  (I was still in a swearing mood.)  He showed it to me when he pulled it out, and it really, seriously, was disintegrated.  There were four flanges on the sides where the bolts go to hold it on, and two of them were completely gone, no sign of them.  He replaced it with a cap that looks like fiberglass.  And I said, "So you guys know this is going to happen, everywhere?"

No idea whether there's damage to my driveway.  The lawn got dug up around the meter, and refilled with frozen clods.

But at least the flow has stopped.

Oh, by the way, I've still had no response to my calls or letter.  Just in case you were wondering. 


Coming up:
Brush fire 6 - eBay, 5 - real estate taxes, 4 - homeowner's insurance, and 3 - investments.


rockygrace said...

I called my town's highway department last April asking them to send someone out to look at a town-owned ditch adjacent to my property that floods every time it rains. I'm still waiting for someone to come out. I feel your pain.

~~Silk said...

I hope when someone does come out,it isn't to leave a violation notice on your door: "Regrade the park grounds so you don't flood the ditch!" Sigh.

You're reporting the wrong thing. Next Spring, the first time it floods, float a plastic alligator in there (you do have one, right) and report suspicious wildlife to the authorities. That might at least get someone out to look. Oh, and threatening to sue works, too.

rockygrace said...

hahaha I like the way you think, ~~Silk.