Never let your water run dry

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This week at Macquarie Island: 19 July 2013

There is always something to do as the plumber on Macca, be it routine maintenance or emergency call outs. This was the case on Sunday when it was reported that there was a leak in the water supply line from the dam in Gadget Gully.

The report was made on Saturday but the weather conditions ruled out anything being done straight away, water was still running at the station so the leak was assessed as a small leak not a major malfunction of the water main.

The weather had improved on Sunday so Josh and David set off with all the bits and pieces that we thought may be needed to carry out the repair, but once we got to the site of the leak there was still an issue that we hadn’t counted on, loose rocks that were tumbling down the steep scree slope of the Gully. The leak was, as we thought, small but with the amount of loose rocks tumbling into the creek at the base of the Gully, we retreated back to station until the weather improved and to get helmets just in case. 

We deemed it necessary  to take a third person along as one was needed for the repairs, one to operate the valve at the dam wall to stop and start the water flow and a third to go as a spotter for the one doing the repairs. Marty volunteered as long as Josh and I gave him a hand to remove some of the SAR exercise anchors that they couldn’t pull out manually during the exercise. Little did we know that this meant carrying a jack up over the top of Gadget Gully.

The weather and the stability of the scree had improved enough for Josh to repair the leak safely and quickly and then up over the top to the anchors that proved to be well stuck in the shale and muddy ground typical of Macca. 

Looking up the scree slope of Gadgets Gully with the black poly water pipe running across the slope, slightly suspended above the surface. Water can be seen spraying from a leak in the pipe
The leak with loose scree above
(Photo: David Brett)
Marty and Josh stand just below the leaking pipe on the scree slope, assessing and making preparations to fix the leak. Both are wearing safety helmets
Josh and Marty Prepping to fix the leak
(Photo: David Brett)
Josh on the scree slope on his knees just below the pipe he is repairing
Josh repairing the leak
(Photo: Marty Benavente)
View from the dam down Gadgets Gully shrouded in mist.  The black poly water pipe can be seen on the left (southern) slope of the gully
Misty veiw from the dam face
(Photo: David Brett)
Marty and David using a jack and some rope to remove an old SAR anchor
Removing the SAR Anchors
(Photo: Josh Tomasetti)
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