Paradise ponders... Yesterday morning I met with the realtor representing the sellers of the lots adjacent to the cabin we're buying in Newton, along with a local fellow (Terry G.) who knows all about the water situation there. We quickly discovered that he was the former owner (two owners ago) of the parcels we're looking at. We verified that there are irrigation water rights associated with those parcels, but ... there's a problem with the delivery of water. It seems that the water company is refusing to allow a connection to their distribution canal, which is only 100 yards or so from the parcels. Everybody in the meeting seemed to think this was outrageous behavior on the water company's part, and that a legal challenge would resolve it. The realtor and Terry both resolved to do just that. So ... this morning we put down an offer on the two parcels adjacent to the cabin, with the offer being contingent on the water delivery situation being satisfactorily resolved. If we manage to pull that off, we're going to end up with a piece of land that's 14 acres, with a nice cabin on it, both flat and hilly sections, an intermittent stream, highway access, a good well, and abundant irrigation water. That will be sweet!
My friend and neighbor Tim D. has been worried for several months now about a wet area north of his house. He was afraid it meant a water leak, and the area had pipes for both Paradise pressurized irrigation water and his well water running under it. The irrigation water would be vastly easier to repair, as those pipes are only 18" or so underground. His well water pipe was something over 4' down, and maybe as much as 6'. Paradise pressurized irrigation water was turned off about a week ago, and Tim found that his wet spot was still being supplied with water – there was no sign of it drying off at all. That meant bad news – it had to be his well water.
Yesterday he called me for help. He'd had the “Blue Stakes” people out to mark the locations of his gas, electric, and iron water pipes, so he now knew where it was safe to dig. It was time to figure out where that leak was! So I drove my little Kubota B-26 over to his house and we commenced digging where we'd seen signs of water bubbling up out of the ground. In very short order we broke an electric line. We'd known it was there, as it was marked, but we figured it would more than a foot down. Luckily we were smart enough to have turned it off at the breaker :) That line supplies power to his barn, which only has the power for lights, so this isn't a big deal (and it's easy to fix). By that time the hole had filled with water, so we pumped it out with my little sump pump.
I dug a little deeper, and Tim waved wildly for me to stop – I'd tapped a 2" PVC pipe that we didn't even know was there. He stopped me just in time; it wasn't broken. I repositioned the tractor so my digging would avoid that pipe, and went a little further – and promptly snapped another electrical wire. It wasn't energized, and Tim has no idea what it's for. At first we thought it might be the power to his pump, run very oddly nowhere near the pipeline – but when we turned his pump back on water started squirting out of the ground, so we knew it wasn't that wire. It's still a mystery. We pumped the hole out again.
Then I dug without hitting anything but tree roots, carefully. We'd use the backhoe to dig down 6" or so, then Tim would jump in the hole and explore with his shovel to see if the pipe was close. If it wasn't, he'd crawl out of the hole and I'd dig another 6" or so. We repeated this until we got down to about 5' deep, and then Tim's exploration found the pipe. It was an old (40 years!) galvanized pipe, 1.5", and the hole was right on top and plainly visible. The pipe is terribly corroded, so most likely he's going to have to replace the entire run (100' or so) from his well to his house. Tim's not real happy about that. We figure a big part of his cost for replacement will be the trenching, and he and I can do that. First he's going to get a professional plumber out there to see what the right way to fix it is, then almost certainly he and I will be trenching. This is just like a year ago, when he helped me trench for our shed's electricity, water, gas, and network connections.
Elray the well driller talked with me just before he went home yesterday afternoon. He's now down to 200', and he struck a water-bearing layer that he calls marginally acceptable. He'd stop there if I asked him to, but would prefer to go deeper in the hopes of finding a better layer. We're going deeper – but not until next week, as he's going on a mini-vacation until Monday.