Tales from real life
|"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone" - Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
The water main break put an exclamation point on our summer drought. We haven't had significant rainfall since June. Three months without rain in Seattle! Trees and shrubs are turning brown and dropping leaves. Lawns are parched. Blackberries, usually juicy and big as your thumb, look like shriveled black peas. We set a high temperature record of 108 degrees this summer. I am definitely not a fan of climate change.
The hole in the street was patched on Tuesday, and there were no trucks on Wednesday. If the pipe is mended, then why isn't the water on? If the pipe isn't mended, then why fill the hole? Jorgen, the Assistant Superintendent of the water company, stopped by Wednesday evening to answer these burning questions.
"Ten feet of pipe has been replaced, sealed, and pressure tested," he told us. "We could have turned your water on yesterday, but, out of an abundance of caution, I wanted to get a sample tested first. To make sure that no contamination was introduced - no critters in the pipe or anything. We should get the results tomorrow morning."
"I just want to let everyone know, personally, that this isn't the standard of service that we expect to provide," he continued. "If you would like, we'll put you up at a hotel tonight to get a real shower."
"Well, we have been able to shower. The pressure is low, but it's usable," I replied. "We do appreciate the garden hose work-around, but your communication wasn't very good."
We discussed the outage and the water company response for a few minutes. We could have asked for a case of bottled water at any time, but we didn't want to bother the workers. He agreed that they should have simply brought one to each house. He also agreed that a Wednesday visit was rather late for a Saturday outage. And, finally, he agreed that posting information on Facebook isn't adequate for people who don't use it. In the end, my wife and I decided that it would be more effort than it was worth to go to a hotel for one night.
The trucks came back Thursday morning. The water company guys turned on the water at each house, flushed the lines, and rolled up all the garden hoses. They picked up their traffic cones and the fire hoses. We flushed water through all the inside faucets, and I felt privileged to be able to water our wilting rhododendrons again.