03 July 2008

WASA Big Idea? Part 2

Last month, I began an intense document of DC WASA's project to replace the lead water-service pipes on our block, as an almost tongue-in-cheek service piece for others in the neighborhood. See the first installment here.

Since then, I haven't reported on it because WASA's creep down Irving Street has been very slow indeed. As soon as we thought they'd get to us, they switched sides of the street. But now they are upon us. The destructo-hoarde has arrived!

The scene above is the view from the porch, taken yesterday morning.

While WASA is dealing with the lead pipe on the city's side, homeowners have elected (or not) to allow a selected contractor to handle the private-property side of the feed.

This involves having a 5'x5' pit dug in the front yard, where the contractor can check the pipe: if it's lead, they replace it. That involves more digging and a bit of destruction to the basement interior wall, where the feed enters the house. If it's not lead, they fill the hole and move on.

So far, it seems many of the homes on our block have not needed the full treatment. And I'm happy to see them seeding new grass after patching the hole.

Here's one nice thing (photo): WASA was able to excavate the public-side meter under the sidewalk without destroying the humble wood-frame flowerbox that M put in this year. It was an ugly little patch of grass before; a place for collecting discarded vodka bottles and filthy scraps of street weirdness. But it was much improved with a few shrubs from Home Depot and some scrap wood to frame it. The shrubs haven't fared well with winter and being walked on, but hell, it's something. And with luck, it may survive the WASA project.

As I write this, a freaking gigantic truck-sized jackhammer crane thing is pounding the hell out of the street outside the front door. The dog believes The Apocalypse Is Here Now. And who am I to argue?

NOTE: Two of the workmen just asked to check the inside, where the water feed enters the basement. They say they've been "missing" the pipe junctions with their 5'x5' test-pits and want to make sure they're digging in the right spot. So if you're looking at this wall of destruction approaching your place, fair warning: they'll likely need to check your basement without advance notice. Wait, that's a knock at the door. Just a minute:

THE ENVELOPE PLEASE.......................

Well, it appears that we DO have lead pipe leading into the house. So we'll get the full treatment, including a bit of home invasion next week and a 2'x3' hole cut into the interior drywall to allow them to do whatever surgery needs to be done.

The drama continues. Tune in next time, when we puzzle over what the hell to do with the dog while all this chaos is going on. Exciting, innit?


Anonymous said...

I'm across the street from you....look at your retaining wall. You will see that it is perceptibly cracking, starting to lean, a little more each day - mine is, as is the neighbor's. The amount of digging and jackhammering is damaging all the retaining walls from the vibration. We need to find a good contractor who can repair all our walls after this project is over, cause we're gonna need one.

Steve said...

Good Lord. It sounds like the apocalypse IS here now. (Dogs are always right about these things.)

Heather said...

Well, it appears that we DO have lead pipe leading into the house. So we'll get the full treatment...

{{shudder}} Good luck.