Thursday, July 29, 2010

a mucky day...

Thomas and I are members of the Miami Domestic Water Users and the Miami Water Users.  This gives us certain privileges, such as swimming and fishing in the lake (which provides our water for home and irrigation).  It also means that every year, we get together for a potluck and business meeting annually, as well as a work day.  The work day may be done away with in future years, depending on a vote at the upcoming business meeting on Saturday afternoon.  Until such time though, the work day continues.  And that day for our household was today.

The "Lake Tank" is a very, very tall tank at least twenty feet tall.  I would guess taller, but I will have to very this information with my father-in-law.  Our household was assigned the task of cleaning the lake tank, along with Tom's sister's family and his uncle who holds the membership for Grandma.  Because Thomas had to work, I represented us in this task, of which I have been asking everyone for a week what it will entail and what to wear, etc.  Nothing really prepared me for what we did, though I was wearing the right clothes.

At two o'clock we all met at the tank, driving down the narrow dam to the tank.  Mike had already drained it, so we opened up the seal, about a two foot portal two feet above the bottom.  Our job would be to sweep the mucky water towards a hose pumping the muck out.  As needed, water would be pumped from the lake and rained down upon us (not really "on" us unless you weren't standing next to the wall) to thin the muck and give the hose something to suck on.  I don't know if Tio Dennis had ever done this job before, but I was for sure the rookie.  I jumped in first, splashing muck into my boots, and grabbed my push-broom.  Tio Dennis joined me.  I would guess that the tank is at least fifteen feet in diameter, and it had at least 14 inches of sludge all the way around.  That is A LOT!  As we broke up the sludge, really lake silt that had turned itself into a thick, thick custard, the muck got to thick for the pump, and we had our first waterfall.  We continued to break up the sludge, but there was just so much of it.  At one point we took to using pails to haul it out.  Gross!  Once all of it was thinned and draining, we scrubbed the walls, too.

I quite enjoyed when the water was turned on.  It felt both refreshing and reminded me of Punch Bowl Falls in the Columbia Gorge.  All in all we were there for three and a half hours.  I would guess that at least two and a half of those hours, I was in the tank getting dirty.  What fun!  I hope I get the chance to do it again.

On a side note, I understand that this year was uncharacteristically sludgy.  When some work was done at the lake near the pump, it began sucking up mud from the bottom of the lake.  The pump couldn't handle it and broke, preventing even more mud from piling into the tank.  Mike figured that there could have easily been another three feet if the pump had not been overloaded.  Phew!  I guess there are times when the best tool for a job doesn't need to be more powerful than the job requires.

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