Friday, January 1, 2010

The past revisited in Red Lake

This is a photo of our home in Red Lake in 1975. We purchased the land it was built on, almost one acre of rock and bush, from the school board. The contractor who built it agreed to provide the 200 foot driveway in return for my labour in constructing the home during my summer holidays. I was also to be responsible for providing the hook-up to the water and sewer lines.
Red Lake is solidly located within the Canadian Shield. Bedrock is either very close to the surface or at the surface. The cost of blasting a trench to a minimum of six feet in depth for a distance of 200 feet was astronomical. So I resorted to the tried and true Northern solution. Dig to bedrock and then encase the pipes in a wooden box filled with sawdust. bury this as deeply as you can. Add heat lines to the water pipe too.
For several years this was successful, especially if we had a "bleeder" line going too. A "bleeder" is where a toilet is allowed to overflow all winter so that the water line has continuous flowing and does not freeze. Then, one winter, despite all precautions, the line did freeze. Northern ingenuity came to the fore again. We connected a 200 foot hosepipe to our nearest neighbour's outside tap to our outside tap, and we had water. That hose was kept running until deep in the spring.
Our next solution was to install an "aquaflow" unit in our crawl space beneath the house. This unit had a 50 gallon tank into which water flowed. When it became full, a pump then started up and expelled the water directly back into the water line. Flow was maintained, and no water was lost to the town.
That was the end of any water problems until Adrian dropped a bunch of shower curtain hooks down the toilet causing a sewer back-up. But that's another story.

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