Monday, February 16, 2015

The Beast Outside the Footings

Our house - it just keeps getting better
We were having so much fun digging trenches inside our house that we decided just to go ahead and start digging outside the house. Actually, we weren't quite so nonchalant about digging outside, but it was a roll of the dice we felt we had to take.
After our attempts at using a camera to follow the drain tiles in our basement out under the foundation were met with a black sludge that resembled the old Beverly Hillbillies oil strike (but a whole lot more fragrant in a bad way), we were told we needed to expose more of the basement floor. Once again, the pros at A-Core brought their diamond-tipped blade in and sawed up more concrete and the burly men of Dayspring came in with their jackhammers and buckets to rip up and hand carry out the floor. More of our basement was removed and what used to be Coles bedroom was turned into an ode to WWI foxholes...stinky, muddy, nasty, rocky foxholes.  I'm beginning to think we could charge admission, add some fish to the stream, and recoup what can only be astronomical bills silently growing.
After a day of sucking out the black goo with "The Extractor", in came the cameras again to investigate where the drain tile traveled. With baited breath we waited to see if the camera could travel under the foundation, through the pipe, and hopefully to some path that would take the water and move it on down the mountain. But once again our hopes at finding a solution were dashed when the camera and snake ran into a wall; this time the wall was in the form of rock and crushed tile about three feet on the outside of the home.  It left us with a conundrum...should we dig out front to clear away the rock and crushed tile in hopes that the tile would pick back up, clear and clean as a whistle and travel down to the storm sewer or perhaps a drain field in the yard, or, should we raise the white flag and dig up the back yard to install the more expensive solution of a curtain/French drain along the back and sides of our home. It was a $1000.00 gamble we had to take and in came the Excavator.
The hole - after the black mess was removed
Last Friday was D-Day - Dig Day - at 610 West Crestline Drive. How fitting it should fall on Friday the 13th. I almost took the day off but I cursed the trench as I left for work and crossed my fingers. At 0900 I was notified the excavator arrived. At 1000 I was notified they were digging (and had already cut through our year-old irrigation system), to be followed by the 1100 notification that they were about a foot from their destination, but the excavator was broken. I could almost hear the trench laughing at me from my desk chair. FInally I was told they'd reached their destination but the dirt was too unstable to climb down.
By late afternoon the verdict was in...they reached the broken drain tile only to discover an even more gross and nasty mess. The "drain field" that was installed when the house was built was completely ruined. It was compacted with the same dreaded black tarry organic mess that caused the interior drain system to fail. And it smelled to high heaven. I believe "beyond repair" was the phrase used. We'd hoped to find the silver bullet but instead found a titanium turd - our hopes once again dashed.
Everyone seems interested, except for the homeowners insurance and the water company...the water company has had enough messes up here and are doing everything in their power to stay wide and clear of even looking to see if they have a broken pipe in the system and the insurance company, well we won't go there in this post. So now we are back to square one, except we have hired WGM Engineering to help us design a solution. We are hoping to have some sketches and rough estimates of our options this week...but I've been saying this week so long now that even I don't believe it myself. For those old enough to recall, we are now officially living in an unfunny version of Green Acres.