Friday, August 8, 2008

Mountain Living - Water Part III

The next update in the water saga, but first, a recap. It's been two weeks since the last post on this topic.

You'll recall that our water quality was bad, and that the production from our reverse osmosis unit dropped off. That started the cascade of events that lead to the discovery of a low water level in the tanks and no water being pumped into the tank from the well. Then we found the blowout in the well pipe, the slime all over the well, and then we left on vacation with the well disassembled and the well pro fixing it the next day after the acid treatment was done. Remember all that?

So we actually got home on Wednesday, but the story resumes about 2.5 hours before we got home. My cell phone rang with the news - from my friend Alan who'd been watching the place and watering the garden - that he'd found a water leak down by the tank. He thought it was in the line to the garden and shut it off. OK, not a big deal. I can fix that in a day or a week or whatever, so we proceeded on home and I didn't bother to run right out and examine things.

That changed when Anne determined we had no water in the house at all.

Meandering down to the tank I saw that Alan had shut off the water to the entire house. OK, I turned it back on and immediately heard the hissing of a small leak nearby, in a joint in the main line to the house. What to do? Obviously we start by turning it back off again and pondering the options. Fixing it in short order - before the hardware stores close - seemed the best choice.

So I got out a shovel and dug up the area around the leak - so I could get at it and see what needed fixing. Then I rooted around in my stash of PVC pipe fittings to see if I already had the right parts. Fortunately, I did. 45 minutes later I've cut out the damaged fitting, replaced it, and have the water back on. All good.

The next task is to flush all the lines to the house, since whenever we lose water pressure the gunk on the inside of the lines comes loose and we get filthy brown water for a while. Not fun, but relatively simple. Except for the toilet fill valve that is now partially plugged with that gunk, but I've hated that valve ever since I installed it some time back and now I've got a reason to replace it real soon.

At this point there is just one little detail I've left out. While working around the tank I noted that we had a new pump controller. It had been changed while we were gone. That's odd. Why would that be? The well pro must have found something was wrong with the one we had and replaced it. Not good, but I'll call him and find out the specifics as soon as I get a chance.

This morning he told me he was coming out today to make sure things were still working right. Interesting. Worrisome, but interesting. When he arrived a while later we talked. Putting the pump back into the well was no problem, but when he started things up, the controller wasn't shutting the pump off properly. Not wanting to burn it out, he'd installed a new one, but it had taken several visits and some time to properly calibrate it to shut off the pump at the right time.

Apparently, in addition to everything else, the water production from the well is dropping off. That's why it took so long to calibrate the controller - waiting for the well to recharge. Not good, but we are in the second year in a row of low rainfall, so not entirely unexpected.

All this extra work does not bode well for the bill, but water is a necessity, and even with a big bill it will be cheaper than trucking water up here all the time. As it happens the damaged pump controller has been sent off to the manufacturer. If they decide it was their problem, they might send me a new replacement, and that would take that cost off the bill. I'm not counting on that outcome, but we'll see.

The good news is that the well is slowly catching up again - the water level in the tank is rising - now that the pipe is repaired and the pump is working. At the current rate it will take a while, but it is catching up.

And that's where we stand. Still no samples sent off for testing. Still no idea what I will be doing about filtration. Nadda. That'll all have to wait for next week. At least, I hope nothing comes up to interfere with that plan.

With that, the three of you tracking this story are now as up to date as I can make you. Stay tuned, or keep those RSS readers going, and I'll get you more when I can.

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