Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Water and Sewer Upgrades

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the first couple years with us in the house will be filled with boring, non-cosmetic renovations, and our current project is no exception.

When we took possession of the house in early December, we signed up for a City of Ottawa program to replace our lead drinking water supply from the city.  Ottawa has a program that allows home owners with lead supplies to have the city contract the work out for the entire job of replacing the line, including both the City portion (connecting to the main, digging in the middle of the street), and the home owner portion (digging a trench on your lawn, connecting to your existing plumbing).  At the same time, if your sewer connection is in the same trench as your water supply, they’ll replace that too.  You pay for the home owner portion and the city pays the rest.  The advantage is that it’s all done at the same time, and the work is cheaper than you hiring someone yourself.

When we signed up, they had 2500 home owners on a waiting list!  However, if you have a child under 6 years of age (which we do), they move you to the top of the list, as lead in drinking water is a no-no for young kids.  Our supply was tested for lead levels in 2005, and was well under the provincial limits, but still high enough to warrant replacement.  The lead lines over time can form a build-up inside the pipe that reduces water flow as well, which is another reason to replace it.  As for the sewer, when we moved in, I noticed about 20 (!) RotoRooter stickers (each one for a service call) stuck around the room containing the main drain cleanout.  Every one of them listed tree roots and backup as the reason for the visit.  So, we figured it was just a matter of time before we added to the sticker collection with a backup of our own.  Fun times.

Anyway, the city called a couple weeks ago, came out to take measurements, and then called on Friday to say they were coming on Monday to start the work.  So, we now have an 8 foot deep trench running across our yard.

They are already done running the new sewer and copper water supply pipes in our yard and are starting the road digging tomorrow.  I took some pictures on my mobile phone which I’ll find and post, but here are a few from the camera.

My son and our cat took an interest in the digger right outside our window:



Look closely at this one and you’ll see a jet of water coming from one side of the bank:


The water is from our supply.  I guess the old lead line had a weak spot and when they excavated near it, it burst.  It took almost an hour to fix the leak, which was done while the line was spraying them with water (they couldn’t get the main shut-off to work at the street).  They ended up splicing some copper into the line with compression valves.  It will hold until Thursday when we cutover to the new fully copper line.

1 comment:

  1. As boring as all these mechanical upgrades are, it's really nice to have them done, isn't it? It's so comforting to know that the mechanical systems are fixed and working to your standard of quality, and not someone else's standard, twenty years ago.

    We just had all the valves and bleeders on our radiators fixed as well as having valves installed on the radiators on the third floor. Many of the valves didn't open or close properly, and many of the bleeders were rusted or painted shut. Further, the radiators on the third floor didn't have any valves at all, which was contributing to our ice issues this winter. The quality of the work was so good and the price so right that we had other plumbing work done that might have been put off a little while.

    Now, they're going to start soon on the repairs on the roof and a new garage floor. It's boring stuff, but the city is requiring we fix the garage floor, and it'll be nice to have a roof that doesn't leak.

    Boring stuff, really, but once we have it all out of the way, we can both work on the fun projects.