The potentially destructive power of water has been headline news lately, due to the catastrophic flooding taking place in several Midwestern states. Thankfully, here at our studios in Haubstadt, Indiana, we've not had to deal with overflowing riverbanks or failing levees, but this week has seen its share of water problems nonetheless.
It started on Monday afternoon, when we turned on the faucets and noticed that the water pressure was noticeably diminished. On Tuesday it was non-existent. After a couple of phone calls to the Gibson County Water Department and some investigation on Rick Barton's part, we discovered that we had a leak in our water main - a big one. And of course it was under the building, accessible only through the crawl-space. We shut off the valves, and Floyd and Rick went to work on the pipe.
It was a long afternoon for those of us in the office - my Facebook status for the day read "leaking pipe = no water pressure = no restroom at work. Yay." Little situations like this really make you appreciate our usual daily access to clean water and indoor plumbing!
However, it was an even longer afternoon for the two men in that crawlspace. It was hot and wet and plenty muddy down there (didn't smell too good, either!), and at first it was difficult to locate the source of the problem. Once they were finally able to get to the leak, they put on new fittings and got it taken care of. Or so they thought. According to Rick, "We turned it on, and the whole thing blew, all over again." They went back under and repeated the process, but decided to leave the valves off overnight.
By 10:00 AM on Wednesday, we once again had fully functioning water pipes - thank goodness! Unfortunately, while digging around in the mud under our building, Floyd and Rick also discovered that the foundation of our building needed to be shored up.
Not being an engineer or at all versed in building construction, this is my best interpretation of the problem: The building foundation is surrounded by gravel and sand and the sandy mud that is common to this area. Since the building is located slightly downhill, water flows toward it, and, thanks to the sand and gravel, into/through the foundation (which, apparently, is the reason our basement floods every time we have a decent rain). Result: foundation walls in danger!
The ultimate fix will involve "terracing" and "re-contouring" the land around the building, but a quick fix was needed on Wednesday afternoon. The area that they needed to get to was under the ramp attached to one of the porches, so that was ripped out and disposed of, and then concrete was poured at the foundation.
It was a very hot and sticky afternoon for the job, but Floyd and Rick were able to take care of it themselves, saving the station a little bit of money. The ramp will need to be re-built, but for now, everything else is back to normal.
When we talk about putting extra donations into our "Emergency Fund," we don't usually know ahead of time what that money will need to be used for, but this was one of those situations when we were glad for it! As we near the end of another year's donation cycle and start to gear up for Sharathon 2008, donations tend to drop off, but for those of you who are faithfully supporting us as we continue to pay all our monthly bills, please know that every cent is very much appreciated!