Personal Stories – blown water main

Going through some good REM sleep around 4:00a.m. this morning. I dream that a cement truck backs up to my house, and bumps the house. I grab a crow bar to help smash up some concrete. Then my wife calls, "someone is making a lot of noise, can they do that". I replay, "sure they can". Now I was awake. There was a lot of noise outside. I look out, and see a half dozen city vehicles outside my house and a back hoe parked in front of my driveway. A crew member is cutting away the sidewalk with one of those big circular saws. Pretty odd before 5:00a.m. on a Sunday.

They were congregating around the manhole in the sidewalk between our house and our neighbor's house. Then a horrific discovery. We had no water.

My wife and I figured that the occurrence must have been an emergency, because no one would voluntarily work at 5:00a.m. on a Sunday, after a holiday, unless it was absolutely necessary. Also, there was no warning like a flier or notice in the city newsletter. Still in my bathrobe, I wasn't about to walk down and ask. I yelled out to the crewmen, but they couldn't hear me over they deafening sounds of their equipment.

My wife was a super trooper. We conserved what water we had left in our Brita filtration pitcher and Powerade bottles we picked up as a free promo. When your city sends your plumbing back to the 1900s, you do what you have to. My wife's car was blocked in the driveway, but my car was out on the street. Later in the morning I managed to drive around the big trucks and buy some water. My shoes were caked in mud that covered the entire street. I only bought the essentials: water, pre-moistened wipes, and donuts.

Little man woke up a lot of excitement and curiosity. He refused to go outside because of all of the noise but stood by the window saying "very big backhoe . . . dirty backhoe . . . butaa"

Around 11a.m., my wife got the scoop from one of our neighbors. She was coming home at 1:00a.m. and saw a huge wall of steam over the street. Then she drove through about 5inches of water to get into her driveway. The whole street was flooded. She called in to the city and reported the problem. The city crew had actually been working for hours before their noise woke us up. Another neighbor and the neighborhood's oldest living resident told my wife that the water main was original to 1937. That big grey pile of concrete to the left of the backhoe is the old water main. Fun stuff.

Around 3:00pm, the trucks all started driving away. I had been napping to make up for lost sleep (and that nap felt awesome!), and awoke to the sound of water refilling our toilet tanks. Hooray, hoorah. Once again, my wife got the scoop. The backhoe driver told her that the water main broke drained nearly all the water from one of the city's water towers. It was likely the worst water main break he had ever seen. Imagine cars trapped in ice, flooded basement, and a city's water supply in danger. All avoided by one woman with a night life.

Huzaa to our neighbor and special props to my wife for her investigative reporting.

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