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Orangeburg Pipe Collapsing, Part I productions home page

Orangeburg Pipe Collapsing
Part II

The plumbers from Option 1 worked until around 8pm the night of the 28th, getting the area prepped for work the following day. They marked where to dig to reach the Orangeburg pipe and connect up the new pipe with the city line.

On the morning of the 29th, the bobcat arrived. The guys would have to dig down just over 7 feet to reach the connection point; this is located just in front of the shed. They had to take out one section of sidewalk, but hey, it's just a concrete slab. Small price to pay for decent plumbing.

The digging started at this point, and when they got down far enough, I took a photo of what the Orangeburg pipe looked like. It looked like mud, because, really, there wasn't much pipe there.

Then, the bobcat tore up the ground at the opposite end, at the connecting point to the house, where it's only three feet down. But guess what? The Orangeburg pipe is pretty much disintegrated along there as well.

So it went throughout the day, with one guy running the bobcat and the other guy shoveling aside the heavy clay soil so well known to gardeners and builders here in the valley of the sun. As they made their way across the property, the trench went from three feet to four feet to five feet to six feet - until it met up with the seven foot deep hole at the other end.

They cleaned out some of the debris from the trench, including bits of Orangeburg pipe. You can see from the photo that it was crumbling, falling apart and wasn't much more than scraps of tarred paper. Then, the new pipe went in. By that time, it was too dangerous for me to be out there, because the soil was piled up and somewhat slippery. The trench lay to the other side like a scary pit, so I stayed inside the house and left it to the professionals.

The guys worked until after 8 pm again, checking the plumbing in the house before filling in the trench.

On the morning of the 30th, they came back and smoothed out the lumps, bumps and hilly clumps in the backyard. I told them not to fuss too much about it. With everything tore up, it just afforded us opportunity to landscape the backyard. It's the silver lining to this dark (financial) cloud.

But such is the plight of homeowners across this great land of ours, when city planners and committees of politicians don't think of consequences past the short time of their own terms in office. I find it difficult to believe that Orangeburg pipe was approved as a viable option for sewer lines for any other reasons than it was cheap, and somebody's brother-in-law or cousin or college buddy wanted the supply contract and he sold this junk. Because really, who couldn't figure that stuff no stronger than toilet paper rolls was going to collapse under the weight of three, four, five, six, seven feet of heavy clay soil.

Anyway, it's done. Now, it's on to other projects, including a new landscaping project, which we'll document on our blog, just az gardens.

Article copyrighted: Shelly McRae
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