Water, anyone?

When I first noticed several weeks ago that water was coursing through a channel next to my house, my first concern was that we had had a dry spell and I could not figure out what might be the source. So, I called Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and explained what I saw. “Not our responsibility,” was the short answer. “Take it up with the county…” So, I called Montgomery County and explained, and a helpful lady told me she would get in touch with the ‘Transportation Department’–moving water, seems like a transport issue, I guess. I heard nothing further.

I spoke to some neighbours and asked to check that they were not having problems with sump pumps, or similar. No issue. But, one neighbour told me about springs that rang through the area and how also there had been problems with pipes related to their water source. So, we decided to tackle WSSC again. Short story, a man came; then he came again; then a crew came… I went to greet each set of visitors I saw and told them that I had spotted the problem, initially. After a few weeks, a crew had established that a mains pipe adjacent to the house was leaking and it needed to be checked. But, it was 14 feet underground.

Fast forward. A crew from a private contractor came by midweek and had with them a bulldozer. “We’ll be digging on Friday. We need to shut off the water for the day.” I asked if they would inform households. The answer was vague and I took it that this was not really their concern. Just in case, I informed neighbours on a list serve. But, I know that they were only a few of the supposed 70 homes due to be affected.

The crew came and set up a set of metal plates the next day, on which the bulldozer could roll and heavy trucks could drive. They put up a port-a-loo. “Eeh, that’s gross!” was all my first grader could say, recalling too many bad experiences with outside toilets. But, she was not past posing next to one of the huge tyres of the bulldozer.

So, last night, we filled basins and pots and kettles with water. I filled a bath, just in case.We did not know when the workers would arrive and start.

Come today. We all bathed early. Trucks and pick ups rolled in, just after 7am. The guys were all chirpy and as I had been taking pictures all along, they were goofing around and putting on buff poses. The bulldozer was started and for the next 7 hours they dug our dirt and looked into the huge hole they created. Eventually, they found the leak and fixed it. As I write, the dirt is being put back. It will take a few days and the area to the side of my house is a muddy mess. Thank goodness that today was a bright, balmy 70 degrees, after many days of sub-freezing temperatures.

Making good will be an interesting process. I have a feeling that if it happens without a few difficulties then the world would really have changed. Dealing with public utilities can be quite simple, sometimes. But, I am not getting ahead of myself and saying that this will be the case. Watch this space.

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About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
This entry was posted in Bureaucracy, Government, Service economy. Bookmark the permalink.

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