They start each weekday at 6 am, the workers who are laying sanitary sewer pipe in my neighborhood. It’s a darn good thing I’m already up then, because I couldn’t sleep through all the noise they make.
This is what they’re laying in the street. Did you know that the French word for sewer is égout? Well, now you do, and it is thanks to the bilingual stamping on these pipes.
The work involves pulverizing the road surface, digging deep, laying the pipe, filling the trench with dirt, and packing it in tight. When they’re done, they’ll repave all of my neighborhood’s streets.
They’re also laying what they call “laterals” into each yard. Mine’s where the green marker is sticking out of the ground. Later, the city will spread grass seed and straw where they’ve destroyed my yard, but it’ll be up to me to water and tend it. When the pipe’s all laid and connected to the sewer mainline, I’ll hire a contractor to run pipe from the lateral my house and connect it to my plumbing. That will tear up my yard even worse than this, but all the contractors who’ve given me estimates want to leave repairing my lawn entirely to me.
The workers are gone for the day by the time I come home. They do a pretty good job of tying up loose ends before they leave, but there are surprises every day. Sometimes a street is blocked and I have to find a way around. Sometimes giant heavy equipment is left parked in front of my house. One day I found this stuff sitting in my yard. I feel lucky my lawn was not one of those chosen to hold a huge pile of crushed rock.
Overall this project hasn’t been unbearably disruptive, though I’m ready for it to be over just the same. The worst of it was the other day when I had to find someone to move the dump truck from in front of my driveway so I could drive to work. And because my neighborhood’s roads are all dirt and gravel right now, my car is always covered in dirt so thick you can write your name in it. It would be a waste of time to run it through a car wash, as it would be filthy again by the time I got it home.
I’m not, of course, looking forward to writing the checks associated with all of this; it is anything but free.
I bought this place after my divorce. It helped me finally reach my new normal. Read that story.
Last updated on 24 February 2020 by Jim Grey