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Mini-flood

Started: 2015-06-06 12:21:06

Submitted: 2015-06-06 13:09:02

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator's basement floods -- again

After a warm winter and a dry April, the weather shifted in May and brought more rain than is normal for the month, replenishing the snowpack from below-average for the South Platte River back up to well above average. (If I remember the newspaper article I read, this May was among the top five wettest Mays in Boulder since records began in the late nineteenth century, but I'm too lazy to hunt down a citation now.) The rain kept my lawn green and alive even though I haven't yet been able to find the time to turn on my sprinkler system, and caused mushrooms to sprout in the wetter corners of my yard and lawn.

One rainy Friday night in early May I was wondering about the integrity of the sump pump we had installed during the flood in the fall of 2013. Every couple of minutes I could hear the distant sound of rushing water, and I soon figured out this was the sump pump turning on and discharging water from the sump. I decided to go inspect the sump myself (even though there's very little I can normally see with the sump cover on.

My inspection proved fortuitous: when I opened the door to the unfinished utility room on the corner of the basement, I saw that the sump pump discharge pipe had become dislodged, and the pump was spraying ground water from the sump all over the stuff we had stored in the room.

Basement storage drenched after sump flood
Basement storage drenched after sump flood

I unplugged the pump and re-attached the discharge pipe with duct tape. (Fortunately the pump did not decide to start up while I was in the basement, though everything was clearly drenched.) The tape held and guided the water from the sump out to the end of the discharge pipe on the lawn. (With the discharge pipe properly attached I could still hear the sump pump from the main-floor living room, but the noise was reduced from a distant sound of rushing water to a soft humming for several seconds.) I checked the other junctions in the pipe and they were all glued together. It wasn't clear whether the lack of glue on the offending joint was an intentional choice; if the joint had been glued together it might have been impossible to remove the sump cover to inspect the sump and the pump. (I considered getting a sump cover with a built-in inspection hatch, but so far I've been too lazy to get one.)

Duct tape patch on sump discharge pipe
Duct tape patch on sump discharge pipe

With the discharge pipe taken care of, I shifted my attention to the drenched stuff that had been stored in the room. (I called it the "scary room" because it was unfinished, had a low ceiling under the front entry way, had only a poorly-functioning fluorescent fixture for light, and was our general dumping ground for storage for stuff that had no other place to go.) This included our sleeping bags, several strata of camping equipment, boxes of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and several boxes of audio CDs that I've mostly ripped. I spread the stuff out to dry in the rest of the basement, which remained dry -- because the door had been closed, the damage was contained within the scary room. I dried out the room, which survived unscathed, though we ended up discarding some of the wetter Christmas decorations and other stuff.

Basement utility room drenched after sump flood
Basement utility room drenched after sump flood

I spread out my audio CDs to dry, then packed them away in another box in the crawl space in another corner of the basement, where they were less likely to be damaged should the sump fail again.

Audio CDs laid out to dry after the basement flooded
Audio CDs laid out to dry after the basement flooded

The scary room remains empty; so far I've resisted the urge to return anything to the room, lest it suffer the same fate again.

I swear, it's not my fault if I loose things, even if I do have huge
messes.
- Neelix, 0223 CDT 30 April 2000, upon finding something he was looking
for on the bottom of a pile of Humblik's clothes