The plumber came back on Wednesday morning as promised and brought an electric jackhammer and a helper. We ran an electric cord from the inside the house to the jackhammer and the plumber and his helper got to work.
I got busy with online things, but before long the plumber knocked on the door. He held up a section of white PVC pipe. “Here’s where your leak was,” he said.
The piece of pipe had a hairline crack that ran for about an inch and a half.
“The line was surrounded by the concrete,” the plumber added. “The weight of the tree roots made the concrete press against the pipe until it finally cracked.”
“How did the concrete get into the ground?” I asked.
“Probably when they finished the concrete work on your driveway and sidewalk, they had concrete left over. The trench with the water line must have been uncovered, so they just dumped the left over concrete slurry into the trench.”
It sounded like a plausible explanation. The plumber gave me his invoice and drove away with my check.
It was left to me to fill in the hole – and save an hour’s labor charge – with 250 pounds of “play sand” that I purchased from the local hardware store to cushion the water pipe and its newly repaired section. I shoveled small rocks and dirt back into the hole over the sand and put the sod back in place.
Later I met with the water company manager and showed him my bills for the leak finder and the plumber. He had had my meter read again and estimated that my next bill would be at least $1200 instead to the usual $100. We talked it over, and he agreed to subtract a portion of the amount, but we’d still end up paying the largest bill we’ve ever paid.
So where did all that water go? I have no idea and neither did anyone from the water company or the plumber or the leak finder. In fact, the only trace of the water is the numerical difference between the initial reading on the water meter and the last reading after the leak was fixed.
In a future blog I’ll let you know what the final bill came to – another joy of home ownership.