This morning was all right as Fridays go.  I had a visit with a patient and then went to my post at the office.  Normal.  Average.  The water department was working across the street.  This is the third time in fewer than that many months.  The first time they dug up some piping (I’m guessing from glancing out the window), the second time they installed a black pipe and some trailer pumps that have been there for a couple of weeks.  Today, they were digging a trench across then entire block and had two large cat tractors of some sort there.  One had a large bucket and the other had a super sized jack hammer.  This secondly mentioned machine was the one making our lives interesting at the office.  I could feel the vibration in the floor as well as hear the noise while trying to work.  My boss abandoned her office in the corner for one slightly farther away from the din.  I looked for a picture of a similar machine and here it is:

From here.

Well this distraction keep things interesting in the office as to the conversation as things were a bit louder than normal, but lunch did come.

On return from lunch, I was met with a river of water bubbling at one end of the new trench and a flow down an adjacent street.  After parking, I asked a worker, “Water main?”  “Yes, we broke the main.”   Now we have the classic good and bad points.  I will start with the bad: our water pressure went to minimal and the sinks just drained at most.  The good: our noise, vibration and distraction was silenced.  My compliments to the water department for getting our water running before the afternoon was done, however, I was wondering the rate that should be charged for water usage as I understand the pressure on the line was to be 90 pounds per square inch and this was at least a 24″ line and maybe as much as a 42″ line – (I don’t remember the size, I’m just trying remember from the first time they dug up the street.) Let’s use the smaller figure and say 24″ line at 90 psi running for about an hour.  (web search) I could not find the calculation for this, but did find this chart that had some interesting figures.   I note that for an 8″ pipe, there is a flow of 168,000 gallons per hour.  The hour is my guestimate of how long the water was flowing before they shut off the flow.  Now let’s apply our rates for water usage: $540 for the water.  Now add about a dozen workers at about $20 per hour and I can see why our water rates are what they are.  They did get the water running before the afternoon was over, so I’ll grant them that much.

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