Well those of you who read the station news regularly may remember back in April an article I wrote regarding our water supply and the problems we had with pipework freezing up after we repaired a leak. We managed to overcome that problem with some clever thinking, a bit of patience, and a week of very cold work.
Well, today we nearly had a repeat. Each week as part of our work myself and our other plumber Charlie measure the level in our water supply, correctly known as a ‘Rodriguez Well'. This is a well in the ice, created by pumping heated water through a bell shaped vessel which causes the ice below the surface to melt out which is where our water comes from. Normally measuring day is Wednesday, weather permitting. Due to some concern about a large amount of air in the circulating pipes we decided to head up to the water supply building and investigate, and also measure the well a day early. Fortunately we did. The level had fallen from 3.1 m deep last week to 2.1 m this week.
Immediately we realised that something seriously bad was occurring. It didn’t take long to find the problem. A repair that had been made a couple of seasons ago had given way and was leaking at a steady trickle. Fortunately it was in a location that made it easy to detect. I've seen photos of the situation the guys faced when they made the repair and considering it was a meter deep in snow they did a great job, but it is no surprise it has eventually failed.
Unlike last time we already had a flexible hose made up that we could bridge the faulty section with, left over from the previous episode. A quick chat about how we could overcome the situation and where everything was saw a radio call go out to a few helpers, our plan put into action, and within two hours we had the job done, if only temporarily. We can all continue having showers!
Our next job will be to rummage around station in an attempt to locate sufficient quantities of the correct diameter pipe and fittings to do a full repair. That will be a challenge in itself.