Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Great Flooding Disaster of 2010

Two weeks ago I worked a 50+ hour week with only one evening all week long where I was at home with Nathan to relax. The following Monday, I was altogether euphoric to have an entire morning to myself. I headed down to the basement to do a bit of laundry, only to discover that due to torrential rain, the old-fashioned soapstone triple sink behind our washer and dryer was overflowing onto the poured concrete floor.

I did what any sensible girl raised in the country would do: I grabbed a bucket and started bailing. Still in my pajamas, I carried bucket after bucket out the basement door and onto the back lawn. Nathan was heading out the door to work and told me to call him if the situation didn't improve soon.

I became increasingly suspect of the nature of this liquid quite literally bubbling up the sink drains, particularly since there seemed to be trace particles of disintegrating toilet paper floating about in it. The more I bailed, the faster the water seemed to be coming up, and no sooner would I get one of the three connected sink basins down to a reasonable level than another one would pour over. I began to realize that this wasn't a simple clogged sink and overflowing water from our own water pipes. I didn't quite make it an hour of this bucketing before I was crying aloud to no one at all, "I don't want to be doing this! This is so disgusting!" It was quite disgusting. I called Nathan and said, through tears as I recall, "Please come home!"

He was quite heroic about the whole thing, and helped me set up a siphon (or rather, I helped him). By this point the sewage coming up from the sink drains had clogged the sinks partially and slowed down the bubbling of water significantly. Nathan called the town water division and had our fears confirmed: yes, due to the massive amount of rain we were getting, and the fact that it had been a high tide, it was altogether possible that the town's untreated sewage was backing up into our personal sink.

If all good things must come to an end, the good news is that the bad things do, too. I was eventually able to shed my wet pajamas and take a hot shower, and while for the rest of that day I had to check the sinks every half hour, I only had to completely bail them out three or four more times before the waterflow finally stopped altogether. By the next day I could even do laundry without fear of drainage repercussions. It could have been a lot worse. I discovered the whole disaster shortly after the sinks filled and began overflowing, and only one small corner of our unfinished, concrete-floored basement was actually under water, and not really too much of it in the broad scheme of things. It dried out, and I poured a bottle of bleach over it to regain my sanity. Between the bleach and the passage of a week, I can now venture into that corner of the basement without fearing the immediate onset of disease.

I didn't get any pictures taken of the basement situation itself, but the tiny trickling creek between our yard and our neighbor's became a rushing torrent, and the area beyond the lawn became a swamp, and I did photograph those.

Several local papers wrote about the flooding, such as this article and this one. Oddly, no one called us for an interview. I would have gladly posed for a picture, in my pajamas, with my trusty little bucket.

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