Not What I Had Planned

Today did not go according to my plan at all. The day started out like any other Sunday does for us – I got up when I woke up instead of letting my alarm clock dictate when I should get up, I fixed my coffee, checked my email… I don’t want to bore you with all the mundane details so I’ll move on to this afternoon.

I wanted to get a trellis up in the garden for the cucumbers to climb on. For that, I like to use the steel wire grid used to reinforce concrete slab; the wire is about an eighth of an inch thick and is spaced six or seven inches apart so it makes an excellent trellis for cucumbers. I cut a section of wire grid about four feet long then bent the ends of the wire back around itself to eliminate the hazard of the sharp, pointed ends of the wire. With that done, I was ready to setup my first section.

I grabbed two steel t-posts and started pushing the first one into the ground, once I had seated it by hand, I tried to drive it in using a sledge hammer. After the first strike with the sledge hammer, every time I struck the post to drive it in it would bounce right back up. I bounced the t-post by hand a couple of times and could tell I was hitting something that felt like a large tree root. No problem; I moved the post back several inches and to one side several inches then got it started by hand again. I pushed it into the ground, pulled it back out then pushed it back into the ground again only to hear something crack.

Did I mention our garden borders our pool?

I’m standing there trying to convince myself that I had just broken through a tree root and not one of the pool pipes – no one in their right mind would run the plumbing for the pool several feet out from under the concrete walk around the pool only to run it several feet back under the concrete walk, right? There’s only one way to find out.

I pulled the t-post back out of the ground and even before I had the post completely out of the hole it had made, there was water gushing up out of the ground like a mountain spring. Not cool (the water was, the situation was not). I ran over to the pool equipment and turned off the pump but that didn’t have any effect on the volume of water coming out of the ground. This pipe supplies water to the outlets in the pool so it typically has about twelve inches of water pushing down on it. I set the diverter to send water from the pump into our drain line then turned the pump back on; this did slow the flow of water coming out of the hole I had created but I was going to have to drop a foot of water from the pool before I would be able to repair the pipe. At least with most of the water diverting into the sewer line I won’t flood the neighbor’s yards nearly as badly.

I dug the dirt out from around the damaged pipe and created a trench to direct the water into our mulch pit to stop or slow down the water before it ran into the neighbor’s yards. I kept an eye on the water level in the pool and the water running out of our yard and I’m pretty pleased with how well I got this under control in a short amount of time. It looks like the vast majority of the water has gone into the sewer; I would guess only about one-quarter to one-third of the three thousand gallons I had to drain went into the yard.

I have errands I have to run now so I’ll clean up this mess later.

If you’re wondering where I came up with the volume of water we lost, the pool is oblong and measures about 34 feet long by 15 feet wide and I had to drain 12 inches of water. I used the formula:
V=(LWH)·5.873 so…
V=2,995.23 gallons

Where did the 5.873 come from?
One cubic foot (1′ x 1′ x 1′) holds 7.481 gallons but our pool is oblong not rectangular so I have to take that into account; a cylinder that is 1′ tall and 1′ in diameter holds ~5.873 gallons. Here’s the formula to get that number:

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