My house was built in 1936.  That means it’s 81 years old this year.  At some point in its past life, the wiring was replaced and modernized, as was the interior plumbing – though the original bathtub to the house is still in place in the downstairs bathroom.  It’s huge.  The home inspectors said to never get rid of it, because all that would be left is a huge hole in the floor where this nearly three foot deep monster currently resides.   Sure, it’s been refinished over the years, but I can well imagine some kid in 1942 with a navy flotilla in there splashing water all over the place.

The water line from the city meter to the house, however – is about kaput.

Oddly, for the work done to modernize the interior plumbing, the water input line appears to be the original from 1936.   That it’s still working is a minor miracle, though the word “working” can have a couple of definitions here.  Does it carry water from the city to the house without geysering up in the yard?  Yes.

Does it carry a large enough volume that you may flush the toilet without killing someone in the shower?  No.

I don’t know if you’ve ever replaced a water service line before.  Apparently it’s not cheap.   Three estimates were taken, and here they are:  $2700, $3200, and $3700.

Which one is being used?   (Go ahead, I’ll give you a second or two to do the math)

Right!  $2700.    And not only for the cost.  Mr. $2700, once he was done telling me how the line would be laid in and how long it would take, also said those two little words I longed to hear:  “Before we start trenching you’re going to have to call in a locate to 811.”

Okay, so maybe it was a bit more than two little words, but you get the picture.

It’s not a giant job.  No one is laying down a natural gas pipeline through the street.  But they will be digging.  And that means the risk of hitting something exists.

Homeowners, farmers, ranchers – all should be calling in for locates.  The 811 number is not just for the big boy utilities.  It’s a national number, and it’s for everyone.  What’s more, it’s free to use, and so is the locating service.

We’ve still got two weeks left in National Safe Digging Month, so make the most of it.  Get into the 811 habit!  You’ll be glad you did!

Until next week, safe digging!

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