What Lies Beneath

A Day in the Life3 Comments

You may recall that we are doing some excavation projects around the neighborhood. Well, we were delayed in June due to very wet weather. Then this month, we had to switch excavating contractors but now its time to play in the mud again!

So on day 1, we got started at around 8 AM. The goal was to trench out a channel so we could lay the drainage pipe down in it. Things were going well. I would take breaks from work and run over and see how things were going. But at around 1 PM, I get a call from the operator that starts with — we have a problem. Oh, wonderful.

Turns out there was a 1.5″ irrigation line that crossed our digging path. Now, we aren’t dummies…we have maps and that irrigation line is not on there. This isn’t the first time the “plans” haven’t matched what’s in the ground. So since the line isn’t on the maps, it wasn’t clear how to isolate it. I ran around for about an hour trying different isolation locations. Oh yeah, its 100+ here and the key is a big 6′ long poll. I looked like a pole vaulter running around the neighborhood. Finally, I gave up and had to shutdown irrigation water to the whole neighborhood. Did I mention its over 100 degrees? Shutting down the water isn’t the thing our pro-watering neighbors like to here.


We filled up the ditch with water through the break and had to get it pumped out so we could continue working. I spent until 9 PM (under Hummer truck lights) with another neighbor pumping the water out. Even though we shut down the lines, the entire neighborhood was back draining out this one little pipe. Luckily, they have wet/dry glue!

So at 7:30 AM I returned after a short night’s sleep and pumped out some more. The operators were back on the job at 8 AM and we were able to carve out a perfect spot around the break to repair the pipe. Jim, a neighbor, ran to Home Depot and got $26 worth of parts to repair it and had the work done in 15 minutes. We let it dry for an hour. After seeing that it held, I turned the water back on. It took over an hour to re-pressurize the pipes. Whew! Less than 24 hours of down time. Not bad. Damn maps!


Back to work…we put fabric down in the trench, then poured rock on top then put the two 4″ perferated pipe in, then wrapped it up like a burrito. The pipes and rock act as a drain system. When the water comes out of the outfall, it goes in the pipes underground on a very very small angle downhill to the middle of the field. All the water used to just sit at the outfall and keep backing up all summer because it was uphill to get out into the retention pond.


Finally, we graded the dirt back in on top and made it look like the field it should be. The drainage system lies beneath. Now the final step is to rock in the outfall and reseed the dirt so we have grass again.

No more cattails, standing water, and ugly ditch. Looking sharp and it will be functional for years and years.