I found it. I’m done now.

We hopefully have some plumbing work gonna be done at Ian’s place this summer but it got complicated right away when it turned out the incoming water pipe wasn’t big enough to allow a pressure pump. Laying new pipe will be relatively straightforward but it will be necessary to dig very deep down on the side of the dome to get the new pipe inside. People keep asking me, “Do you know where we should dig,” and I keep gesturing vaguely and saying “Around here somewhere.”

But one thing I am supposed to know about is where the tank end of the pipe is, and particularly where the shut-off valve is. Unfortunately I have moved a lot of dirt back and forth in that area since the last time I had to deal with that valve – it was probably buried deep, the marker got kicked away long ago, and I had only a vague notion of something that is certainly going to be needed.

Well, it’s a beautiful day to dig, I figured. I didn’t really know what I was getting into.


Unfortunately we put the water manifold on the shady side of the tank and that led to … problems. I’m hoping to be able to undo some of that poor planning this summer if Ian and the plumbers can come to an agreement, but the only way I could mitigate the problem of no-sun-on-pipes-in-winter was to cover the valves as best I could to protect them from dirt and then pile on the dirt.

Of course that means than any time I need to work on the pipes, job one is to move all that dirt somewhere else.


I’m getting too old for digging in the sun but I can still do it – I just dig slow. The part I was really looking for is that lowest white pipe going off to the left. Somewhere along that line there was a buried valve…


…so with death in my heart I dug a second hole. Fortunately it didn’t take me long to hit black poly pipe. Unfortunately the fact that one hole had white PVC and the other had poly meant I had neatly missed digging up the thing I was looking for, which was the valve. But now I knew where it was, and it didn’t take long to unearth it. I just knocked the top off the partition between the holes and there was the 4″ ABS pipe I stuffed with fiberglass to protect the valve handle from dirt.


Unfortunately that batting had had plenty of years to get saturated with water and break down.


And if that’s the same brand of gate valve I had to replace winter before last, there’s no way it’s going to work. I will inform the plumber that though we could get lucky, I believe we’ll have to drain the tank before connecting a new pipe. The silver lining on that cloud is that they shouldn’t have any problem rotating an empty tank 180o and putting the underground plumbing in the sun where it’s much less likely to freeze.

Good thing they’re plumbers, because I’m not and I’m done here. Now if you’ll excuse me…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to I found it. I’m done now.

  1. Cederq says:

    If you empty the tank and rotate it, who has the enviable job of cleaning all the sediment out of it? You Joel?

  2. R says:

    If you do get into cleaning the tank make sure you treat it as a confined space. Ventilate it very well and have a plan for rapid rescue (could just be an appropriate power saw on standby) in case anyone in the tank has issues.

  3. Ben says:

    Beer and apple sauce, interesting combination.

  4. Robert says:

    R: Navy? And I agree with having a plan.

  5. Demented Guy says:

    Do you guys still have gulchendiggin around for serious digging?

  6. Joel says:

    We still have him. But he hasn’t run in several years. Bad injector pump problem … I think.

To the stake with the heretic!