Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Basement floods suck, any way you slice it.

In the category of Stuff That Sucks, last Saturday produced the record one day rainfall for the day in May, and our basement flooded. Kate and I had gone to church early to speak about fostering and adopting kids, and (fortunately) had left the kids at home. On the way home, I got panicked phone calls from both Brianna and Devin to tell us the basement was full of water.

We raced home to find the kids all barefoot in the water, bailing it as fast as they could into buckets. We got three wetvacs going (I had to go buy two more), and after a few hours got the water down to the point where I could see it bubbling _vigorously_ through a chip in the concrete.

We have a lot of springs on our little farm, and my immediate reaction was that the water table had filled up because of the record rain, and we'd sprung a spring in our basement. Aside from the alliteration, this did not seem to be a good scenario any way I looked at it.

To cut a long story short, in the fullness of time, we came to understand that the problem was not so much that the water table had filled up because of the record rains, but rather that the _sump_ had filled up. It turns out that our builder had never connected the sump pump to the electricity, and when he finished the basement five years ago, his guys had simply put a nice hardwood floor over the whole pump.

In other words, the pump had _never_ operated, and this was just the first time we had enough rain that it mattered.

Subsequently, the pump was plugged in, and is pumping lots of water away from our basement, and all is now well from that perspective. Oh, and the ducks (we have new ducks) love it.

The question now is whether or not we have water under our basement hardwood floors.

The first moron^H^H^H^H^H water-mitigation expert that visited us assured us that we would have to get everything out of the basement, rip up the floors, rip out all the walls, put all the mattresses and clothes into a drying facility, and move into a hotel within three days, or we'd all start getting sick from mold. He also assured us that although the water appeared to be clear and clean, it would have leeched mercury from the soil, and that the house would now be full of mercury.

Now, I don't claim to be a water removal expert, but it's not my first rodeo, and I can spot someone trying to scare me pretty quickly, so we're ignoring him while we get second and third opinions.

We may well have to get everything out of the basement and pull up some of the floor boards, but I seriously doubt the bit about the drying facility, and I doubt we have to pull up everything. Time will tell.
This will be a busy week.

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