Monday, August 6, 2007

the contents of our garage belong on stilts

Alternate title: our tax dollars at "work".

Some of our garage got soaked last night, again. We don't live on a flood plain. We aren't subject to coastal hurricanes. We don't have a questionably maintained levee nearby. Yet the contents of our garage have been variously soaked and re-soaked and ruined or just spared countless times in the 6 years we've lived here. There was the time the drain that the washing machine, dishwasher, and sink disposal feeds into got clogged, which causes water to flood into the garage. And the other time. And the other. And the last time too. There was the time I dropped a gallon of milk in the garage while carrying it in from the car. And the second time. "People in your family sure spill lots of milk," John observed. That's a jab that relatively few readers of this blog will understand, and fewer still will find funny.

There was the time the water heater valve broke. There was the time the water heater itself broke. And there was last night, when our new, one year-old replacement water heater began leaking beyond repair. You'd think after all of this we'd have both the cleanest garage floor around and learned not to have things on the floor, or at least not on the floor anywhere in the general vicinity of the water heater or the washer. But we don't and we haven't.

So our faithful plumbers, who installed this water heater, came out promptly and rather late last night when the leak was discovered and they informed us they'd be back this morning with a new water heater to install. John stayed home this morning and as they were draining the old heater water into the driveway a whole CARLOAD of city "officials" (term used loosely) pulled up to the house. Apparently the street sweepers went by at some point and reported the gross infraction of the entirely clean but warm municipal water...the same water we pay to drink and cook with and the very same water which I would have been very happy to shower with this morning had I a functioning water heater, being poured into the gutter.

This warranted a visit and stern lecture about all manner of clean water violations that won't be tolerated in our fine town, which includes, just in case you were wondering, because I know I was, emptying an ice chest in a driveway.

Since I wasn't the one to witness our very own keystone code cops in action, here's John:

Our city's code enforcement official arrived, had one of his three crew members take a polaroid of the infraction, and then proceeded to spend 15 minutes explaining to both the plumber and to me about the serious nature of draining clean water into the street. Apparently it is a serious pollutant and against local, state, and federal regulations to allow it to run down the street. (for those keeping track, that's 4 city workers x 15 minutes. )

The official didn't have the appropriate copies of the code in his truck, so he told us that he would be back in 15 minutes to give us a copy of the civil street moistening code and to get our information for his report. He returned promptly an hour later, with his whole crew in tow, in the city vehicle, and proceeded to show us the code, write down our information on a yellow pad of paper (official form?), explain to the plumber's boss about the serious local, state, and federal consequences of street moistening, and to talk about how fast my motorcycle looked. (It does.)
(add another 4 workers x 15 minutes)

The plumber's boss had asked an innocent question about car washing while he was talking to the city guy, and since the guy didn't have the pertinent codes handy, he said he would have to get back to him. Apparently it was of such importance , that the city official returned yet again, just to tell the plumbers about the car washing rules. The plumber's boss had already left by then, so the city guy decided after another 5-10 minutes of chatter, that he would send the info to the plumbers with his report. I never did get a straight answer about whether I could wash my car in the driveway or not.

city: 2.15 man-hours , taxpayer 0


MommaWriter said...

Uhhhh. Street moistening? I'm wondering, exactly how is it that the winter rain clouds don't violate all sorts of codes. I'm confused. Seriously. WTF.

they call me mama said...

Rainwater is apparently all the gutters are made to collect. Any activity on our part that causes even clean water to run down the street won't be tolerated. Allegedly. Wtf indeed!