Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

$33.19 water bill: money well spent

By Jeff Wilson, Ledger publisher | Nov 17, 2011

I like mysteries that can be figured out quickly.

Last week my morning shower water pressure at Southgate was a little more than a trickle. I was more concerned about a water heater going bad than the annoyance of a less-than-satisfying shower.

When I pulled out of the Southgate drive at 7 a.m., the ditches on the east side of Highway 1 were filled with water. I assumed it rained a little more than I thought during the night.

Twelve hours later I pulled into the Southgate drive and waved at Fairfield Waterworks Department employee Dave Ogden who was turning a backhoe on to Highway 1.

Mystery solved. A bunch of freshly turned soil obviously marked the spot where a broken water main was repaired.

I didn’t think much of the favorable outcome until I turned on a few faucets and brown water started spitting out. That problem quickly corrected itself. I assumed the spitting was from the water being shut off for a while.

I spent a few moments appreciating the timely work by the Fairfield Waterworks crew and quickly got back to the routine of taking water for granted.

A few days later, I was talking to someone who had driven by Southgate during the water main work.

“Have you done a load of wash yet?” he asked.

I had no clue why I was being asked the question.

“You might want to run through a cycle without clothes,” he added. “Otherwise you’re going to have some rust stains.”

The advice was from an unlikely source. I expected neither of us to know much about that stuff.

A few days later, I caught myself filling the washer with a load of whites and turning the start knob. The water spit a little and I recalled the advice about running an empty cycle. A load of dress shirts was spared a tragic outcome.

The whole episode was forgotten until I paid my water bill at City Hall yesterday.

Barb Bloom asked me how I weathered the day without water last week. I told her I left before it was turned off and got home after it was back on. I did just fine except for a little air in the water lines and a near disaster with a load of wash.

“We got a lot of calls from Southgate residents waking up to no water,” she said.

She noted that the main break also affected the city of Birmingham nine miles south of Fairfield. I had no idea the main carried water that far.

I paid my $33.19 and felt it was money well spent.

 

Jeff Wilson is publisher of The Fairfield Ledger.

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