After four service calls in five weeks for backed up drains, I finally decided it was time for drastic action. Using the sewer cam/locator service to mark a trouble spot, I cut through the tile and concrete floor in the basement laundry room. When I dug down, I found that that particular section of cast iron pipe was so badly corroded that a section of it had completely collapsed. The rest of it seemed poised to follow suit.
I’d already hired a local company to work on the outside line. They’d found a broken line and replaced fifty feet or so of pipe. That seemed to fix the problem but then less than two weeks later the drain backed up again. That’s when we found out about the cast iron corrosion issue underneath the house.
Instead of fixing those problems piecemeal, I decided to do the whole deal. I rented a concrete saw and cut an ell-shaped swath seventy-three feet long and eighteen inches wide through the concrete floor. The thickness varied from four inches to five inches. Next, I rented an electric jackhammer to break up the concrete. Swinging a pickaxe to pry the pieces loose, Randa helped me tear out and cart out a ton-and-a-half of broken chunks.
Then, I set to digging down through the dirt and ended up with a trench that went from fifteen inches deep to just over two feet deep. At some points, I sawed through the old pipe and in other places used a sledgehammer to break it out. The condition of the pipe and fittings at different points confirmed that I was not over-reacting; there were segments in truly wretched condition.
With all of the old pipe removed, I installed new PVC pipe and fittings.
It was with no small satisfaction that I stood for a while, looking at that gleaming white system lying in the clay trench. Gone was all of that hundred-plus-year-old pipe. Gone all of the thick scaled rust and cankered cast iron. Gone all of the years of layered corruption.
There are times for cleaning and scouring, times for repair and spot fixing. But there are other times when you just have to get rid of the present mess and start over. Which is why God took a good long look at the beings he’d created and declared, “I will put a new heart and a new spirit within you.”
I wonder if maybe he stands there for a while, just smiling at the wonderful work he has done within us?