Working Inside the Vertical Culvert

It was a bit spooky but had to be done.  Bryan went down a ladder inside the 20 ft vertical culvert. 

The new temporary sump pump is now connected to our underground pipe system that enters the cistern and is pumping as required.

Let it rain, let it pour …

Continuing to Fabricate Our Red Front Door

Bryan stopped by American Ornamental Iron to see how our door was coming along.  When Bryan arrived, Nathan Merrill was, in fact, working on our door.  Nathan remarked that he expected Bryan to drop by.

Nathan had just received the four Soss hinges for the door.  These are ‘invisible’ hinges that will not be seen from inside or outside the door.  They are way cool.

The Soss hinges are stainless steel and are extremely strong.  There are four fasteners in each side of each hinge, for eight fasteners per hinge.  Nathan designed the door to have four hinges, so there are 32 fasteners in total.  Exactly what we require for our (estimated) 240 lb red front door.

Nathan thought the stainless steel fasteners that came with the hinges could be improved and showed Bryan larger, countersunk machine screws with an Allen hex head.  Nathan suggested that these fasteners would be a nice touch, if they were stainless steel.  Bryan agreed, immediately.

Next step is to order the door hardware, which will either be FSB or Valli&Valli.

Stay tuned …

Working Inside the Vertical Culvert

With the winter rains arriving with more frequency. our seasonal perched water table will start to rise, which will fill the 20 ft long vertical culvert, which is 3 ft in diameter.

We have two penetrations of our waterproofing – one for the drain from our stairwell and the other for the drain from our window well.  These drains connect under our structure and then enter the vertical culvert through one pipe.

The perimeter foundation drains and two drains in the middle of the foundation all connect into one drain that goes into the vertical culvert.

The drains under the foundation were excavated and filled in early January 2009.  It is interesting to look at the photos from that point in time.  The perimeter drains under the foundation were excavated on 01/06/09 through 01/08/09.  We covered the perimeter drains with 3/4 inch crushed rock and then completely covered the site with geotextile fabric on 01/12/09 and then spread more 3/4 inch crushed rock over the entire foundation area on 01/13/09 and 01/14/09.  This infrastructure is critical in helping move water from around our foundation into the vertical culvert.

Thus, there are two pipes that enter the vertical culvert.  The permanent solution will have two electric sumps pumping water up and into the underground system that fills our 3,677 gallon underground cistern.  When the cistern is full, the water flows through to the storm drain, all underground.

The two permanent sumps that will be located at the bottom of the vertical culvert will be 240 volts, and they will be connected to circuits that are supplied by Pacific Gas & Electric and fully backed up by our natural gas powered auxiliary backup generator.  Two sources of power and two sumps.  We will not be limited to a single point of failure.

At this point in time, we don’t have the 240 volt sumps so Bryan bought a 110 volt 50 gpm sump to use until the permanent solution is in place.  We had some flooding last year and cannot risk any flooding this year. 

In order to get everything set up and working, we need access to the bottom of the vertical culvert.  This requires putting our aluminum extension ladder into the vertical culvert.  We did so and Bryan went down the ladder.

Although it isn’t very deep, it was still kinda spooky. 

It was over the top (so to speak) for the Chilean miners that were trapped for several months.

Commissioning and Current Status

We plan to power wash the entire vertical culvert prior to the commissioning of the permanent water pumping solution and system.  For now, we are confident that the water pumping system will operate without failure and pump water such that flooding will not occur in the lower level (basement) through the window well or stair well.

Our door being laid out at American Ornamental Iron.  Note the four Soss hinges are being positioned on the door.

Our door being laid out at American Ornamental Iron. Note the four Soss hinges are being positioned on the door.

Soss invisible hinges.  These are way cool ...

Soss 'invisible' hinges. These are way cool ...

The screws on the right side show what we want and don't want.  The top screw is stainless steel with Phillips head.  The bottom screw is black steel with an Allen head.  We like the stainless with the Allen head.  Lord & Sons will have these for us in a couple days ...

The screws on the right side show what we want and don't want. Lord & Sons will have these screws for us in a couple days.

Looking down into the 20 ft vertical culvert.  There is more than 5 ft of water at the bottom of this 3 ft in diameter vertical culvert.

Looking down into the 20 ft vertical culvert. There is more than 5 ft of water at the bottom of this 3 ft in diameter vertical culvert.

From the vertical culvert, the sump sends the water into the underground cistern.  This is the inlet into the underground cistern.

From the vertical culvert, the sump sends the water into the underground cistern. This is the inlet into the underground cistern.

When our underground cistern is full, it flows out of the cistern into a pipe that takes the water to the back of the storm sewer drain on Winchester Boulevard.

When our underground cistern is full, it flows out of the cistern into a pipe that takes the water to the back of the storm sewer drain on Winchester Boulevard.

Here you can see the water flowing into the storm sewer, which than goes to into San Francisco Bay.

Here you can see the water flowing into the storm sewer, which than goes to into San Francisco Bay.

Bryan got into the 20 ft deep vertical culvert and descended to the bottom.  Here, he is looking up, way up!

Bryan got into the 20 ft deep vertical culvert and descended to the bottom. Here, he is looking up, way up!

Looking down.  The bottom of the vertical culvert will be cleaned this week.  It will probably be cleaned using a pressure washer at least once per year.

Looking down. The bottom of the vertical culvert will be cleaned this week. It will probably be cleaned using a pressure washer at least once per year.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.