61. More Water Problems

Monday 1/3/2022- What kind of a tropical jungle adventure would this be if we didn’t have more water problems?

When we were out for our walk this morning we noticed a very mushy muddy spot in the middle of the road near the place where Stuart & Gem’s water meter is. The rest of the road was pretty much dry, so Ramie immediately recognized there was a problem. He also recognized that the problem was on the side of the meter before the shut off valve, so it wasn’t a fix as simple as turning off the water to Stuart’s house, we would have to turn off the water at the main well. Of course this would happen when Stuart is out of town and when Jorge is in San Isidro and he has Orlando filling in for him. Stuart is also the guy in charge of the association of all of the neighbors and property owners in the area. We let Stuart know about the problem and asked Orlando to shut down the pump so it wouldn’t wreck the pump because of its constant running. 

After we had cooled down from our walk, Ramie went down to the problem area and started digging at around 9:30. He was down there for about an hour before I walked down to check on him. He had a big hole dug and was at least a couple of feet down but he still hadn’t found the pipe yet. He was hot and tired from working so he took a short break and we discussed what we could see going on here. The water still appeared to be flowing so no matter how much he dug, it just kept filling in with water. Shortly later Orlando came with his shovel to help out. He had been in town when Ramie messaged him, but he wanted to see how things were coming along. He hadn’t turned off the water yet, so we sent him back down to the pump house to turn that off and then figure out what to do next.

With both of them digging now, they were able to get more work done and finally found the pipe, about 4’ down in the center of the main road. They carefully cleared away all of the mud around it and found the problem. The T where the 2” main line supplying the houses beyond it splits off to Stuart & Gem’s ¾” line to the house had sprung a leak. This was NOT good. If it had just been on the smaller pipe things would have been easier. After a very short conversation (luckily Orlando speaks some English) it was determined that an excavator would have to be called because this was just way too much work for 2 guys to do this afternoon. Ramie would be able to make the repair, but they needed someone else to come dig the hole.

Now, we know that here in CR things like this can sometimes take quite a while to be resolved. Ramie and I figured that we might be without the well for a couple of days so we would have to conserve the water that we have in the tank. Fortunately for the community, Tito the Tico that just built his house at the end of our road knows a guy with an excavator, called him up, and asked him to come out ASAP. We had no idea how long it might take for the excavator to get out here. So we went back up to the house. Ramie changed out of his muddy clothes and took a quick shower, and ate some lunch.
No sooner had he sat down to relax than we heard the excavator coming down the road. Wow, that was fast (definitely weren’t expecting it so quickly)! It seems like nothing happens fast around here, but I guess the excavator guy wasn’t busy today, or he owed Tito a favor, and could come out right away! So, Ramie changed back into his muddy clothes and headed back down to the place where the broken pipe was. 

I stayed up at the house and had to work, so unfortunately I didn’t get to go down and take any pictures of the work in progress or the big hole the excavator dug in the middle of our road. A couple of hours later Ramie came back up, all dirty and exhausted again. He said that the excavator was able to dig out the area and the hole ended up being about 20’ long. This was in order to be able to lift the pipe and get them spliced together. Ramie was able to repair the broken pipe, but of course not without making 2 trips into the local hardware stores to try to find 2” pipe, couplings and T-s. The excavator was able to fill the hole back in most of the way, but since much of the dirt that the excavator had dug out was dumped into the stone runoff ditch on the side of the road, they ended up shoveling most of that back into the hole by hand. He had blisters all over his hands, and despite drinking several bottles of water, was dehydrated and hungry.
For the 2nd time today, he changed out of his muddy clothes and took another shower. I made him a snack and then got going on making dinner, and Ramie got to relax the rest of the afternoon/evening. He felt accomplished and happy that he was able to help the neighborhood out with his skills, since this type of work was right up his alley.