I just had to blog this. This Father’s day I awoke early to find we had no water. This problem had been occurring several times in the recent past and usually was easily fixed. There seemed to be some kind of flakiness with the well pump controller. As I groggily walked through my bedroom I stubbed my foot on some furniture. This is not unusual but this time it really hurt and it kept on hurting. Within about 5 minutes or so I realized I had broken my toe. It was striking to me that it was the exact matching opposite toe I had broken long ago on a sailboat as I slid on my own vomit while trying to take the 2AM watch.
With that I limped to the well pump to see if a simple recycling of the controller would fix the problem. I won’t go into details but it didn’t and I pondered and experimented most of the morning trying to get our water back. I wanted to call the well company but it was father’s day and naturally no one was in the office that Sunday.
So we made due all Sunday with me carrying buckets of water from our caretakers well to flush toilets and whatever other things we needed water to do. It felt a little like camping but it was really draining for my wife and daughter.
That afternoon I hobbled a short walk around our pond in front of our house and noticed that it was a full 2 feet lower than normal. This I had never seen since we moved here in 1999!
Monday the well pump guy came by and I watched as he troubleshot the controller. He mentioned how he had installed 20 of these and only one had failed so far. It was interesting that this controller was 6 years old and had a 5 year warranty.
He and I discussed the evil of designed obsolescence and I could certainly rant on that for several pages, but I will spare the reader for now. See my political blog for a rant on this if you like – if I ever get it written.
The controller looked like it was saying that the pump was seized so the well guy (Joe) decided to pull up the pump and have a look. I assisted him with this as best I could with my broken toe.
When we got the pump out of the well we found it covered in a brown goo. I immediately recalled to Joe the situation with our pond and we both began to wonder if some major changes had taken place deep underground at my home.
We found that the pump was not seized and so the controller would have to be replaced. Joe would have to order a new one, and just in case, a new pump as well and he would come back on Tuesday to finish up.
So we had another camping day and improved on our bucket techniques for another day.
Tuesday morning, Joe arrived and we hooked up the new controller and put the pump in a temporary place in the well to test it. It would start and immediately stop, like the well was being sucked down instantly and the controller sensing no load on the pump. This has us both wondering if we were looking at a very serious problem. We adjusted the sensitivity on the controller and eventually got the pump to keep pumping water out of the well. As it did so the water was a dark brown which Joe said he had never seen come out of a well before.
Eventually it started to clean itself up and we were both relieved. Apparently something broke loose in the aquifer and released this silt into the well, probably blocking the pump intake path sufficiently to make the well appear dry.
After retesting the original controller we proved it was still a problem and the new controller was installed. Finally water was restored.
I was relieved to have water back but found myself strangely depressed as was my wife. After talking with each other a bit we both realized how unsettling it is to have your water supply affected by things totally out of your control. We moved out to the country to get away from the chaos of the city and live a more secure and simple life – but we found, even with all the efforts we took, just like for Y2K, the rug can be pulled out from under you at any time.
We now note that our plumbing system is clogged up and water pressure is low everywhere – looks like I will have to hunt down every filter in our system and get it cleaned out.
Oh well, my daughter and wife gave me some nice gifts for Father’s Day – so all was not a loss!