Notes from Windward: #67


Reworking a Water Manifold

stopping to do a bit of maintenance

  August 23:

     It's becoming an internship tradition that the Twelve Hundred pick one day during the internship period to teach a lesson about the importance of the water supply. In the world "out there" people take the availability of their water supply for granted--something which we can never do here since water is arguably the most essential component of a sustainable lifestyle.

     No soon had I left on my run down to Eureka to pick up Alison and Mindy, the crew awoke to find the main water system was off-line. Last summer a brass faucet had failed in the night and drained the main tank, a failure which was easily found since a wall of water had washed down the driveway. That was handy since with more than a mile of installed water lines, any part of which could drain the system, finding the leak can involve covering a lot of ground.


     Last summer was easy, but this time it took a but of sleuthing to figure out where the breach was. Fortunately our system was built with a series of isolation valves which enable us to close down the entire system, and then bring it back online section by section. Once the leak is known to be in a specific section of the system, tracking down it's exact location is straight forward.

     This time the Twelve Hundred were kind in that the mainfold that failed was the very manifold that we needed to dig up in order to run a water line to the new goat pen. It's easy enough to use a hose in the summer, but come winter hoses freeze up so it's important to have a frost-proof faucet at the pen. It's inconvenient to rebuild a water manifold, but since this is one we needed to rebuild anyway, we can't complain.

     The first task was to dig around the vault that sits on top of the manifold. At least the leaked water makes the ground easy digging :-)

  August 24:

     It took a good bit of time to hand dig the lines far enough back so that we could lift the PVC pipe enough to be able to slip the existing pipe into the new pip fittings, but while the task was notable, it was also finite. Once the pipes were sufficiently exposed, the next step involved cutting out the failed manifold in order to begin the work of installing the new one.


     With the new manifold glued in place, the next step was to pressurize the line and check for leaks. Mating plastic fittings to metal is tricky since if you don't screw it tight enough, it will leak--and if you screw the plastic fitting on too tight, it will crack and leak. We'll know tomorrow if the new manifold is dry, but for tonight it's good to have water flowing again.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67