Thursday, May 24, 2012

utilities= giant mess

if you recall a few months ago we were having some serious issues with our utility services.  the city of durango decided ever so awesomely to neglect putting a water main down our street, even though our building lots have been part of the city since around 1907.  they also built the sewer system at a time when there was very little public utility oversight which could explain the resulting sewer main that is about 5 feet higher than the street grade.  and if we know anything we know that sh*t goes downhill!

digging the trench

as a result we have been forced into non-standard utility hook-ups and in the building world any time you are doing something that is not standard it usually means more money, more problems.....ain't it the truth.  so inorder to actually have water and sewer we had to do it ourselves.  björn rented the excavator for two weeks and we have been playing in the dirt and ripping up the entire yard for about 5 days now.  it has been a dirty, sweaty, stressful few days but we keep reminding ourselves that we are saving about $18,000.00!!!!! Can you believe it?!  In my next life i'm becoming a plumber.....

here is a little diagram which explains our problem with the utilities....

you can see the trench leading from the
house for the sewer line

the blue line leading to the large blue circle represents the sewer line.  this line comes out of the house below ground and slowly descends downhill to a depth of 9 feet below grade at the blue dot.  the sewer line then connects to a lift station which is located underground.  this station literally grinds the sewage and pumps it up and across the street to the sewer line (which is built 5 feet too high above the grade of the road)

the bobcat mini excavator is not so mini

björn and i laying the sewer pipe

me carrying pipe
we ran two sewer lines, the one coming out of our house and one that runs parallel to the street and continues north for a future house.  normally a house in a town simply has to hook into a sewer line from their house to the curb, not over 100 feet as we did.

the green line coming out of the house near the stair bump-out headed perpendicular to the street and then running parallel to the street is the water line.  we ran a second line which i did not depict to the lot to the right of this house for future development.  again, the typical home owner hooks into water at the curb in front of their house because the city or developer has stubbed out service lines to each building lot.  not in our case, we got to run water lines over 150 feet through our easements and we are still waiting to hear from the city regarding where we will hook into the water main.  

water lines

we added blue "warning tape" over the water lines to warn future
 diggers that they are about to have problems!

the red line which exits the house from the rear of the bump-out represents the electrical line.  we chose to bury our electricity, our neighborhood has overhead power lines but we decided that we can't stand that.  so the closest power pole is represented by the red circle.  

electrical conduit being run to the junction box

all of these utilities are occurring in the same trench but at different levels.  each utility has specific requirements regarding how deep and also how close to other utilities it can be.  the sewer is the deepest from approximately 30 inches to a total depth of 9 feet over the span of 80 feet.  this is to ensure that everything flows in the right direction. 

electrical conduit leading back to the house

the water line is above this at a constant depth of about 40"  with about 12" of sand between the sewer and the water.  this is to ensure that the water lines don't freeze.  and because of the distance that we are traveling to attach to a water main we chose to run 1" service lines rather than the typical 3/4" service lines.
the boys working hard to cover the water lines
and finally we filled in the trench with more sand and laid 2.5" conduit which houses the electrical wire.  this is anywhere from 18" to 24" below the ground level.  our electrician, david, will then run the very expensive wire through this conduit at a later date, and connect everything to power.  

we are hoping to have the trench filled in by the end of the week and get the yard looking back to normal.  we can't wait until we can dig holes for trees and plants instead of plastic tubing and sand!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


today we had a mini excavator delivered to the house so that björn can begin to dig the utility trenches and we can do all the grading and landscaping that needs to be done.  while the guys are inside working on the drywall mud we are outside finally trying to tame the yard!  

believe it or not there are still some roots and stumps around so that is what björn worked on today.  including pulling out a HUGE stump next to the box car where our garage will be built soon! you can see the first round of excavation here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

things are changing

its been a while since i posted but while i was away visiting family on the east coast the guys were hard at work putting up drywall.  here are some pictures and as you will see spring is in full bloom and everything is looking lush and green which is wonderful.

the foyer

the kitchen



great room

great room

foyer / hall / stair

bath 1

bedroom 2

bedroom 2

the back yard

more of the back yard

a view from the master bedroom 



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