So This is What $10,000 Worth of Flood Control Looks Like

Well, not the flood control itself, but the aftermath of thepiles of mud from overhead sewer work installation of our overhead sewer system. Our contract stipulated that the plumbers would not be doing landscaping. We were cool with that. We understood they’d be digging a 10-foot deep trench that crossed our front lawn and that mean losing part of the lawn and some old bushes that we’d yank eventually, anyway. We didn’t expect the plumber to re-sod or plant new evergreens, but we also didn’t expect this mess to be left behind.

“Your landscapers will take care of it,” Plumber A told us.

Dude, we ARE the landscapers!

I am not happy about this. I’m not going to out them on my blog (not yet, anyway), but I wish I had that sign they posted on my front lawn on day one. I’d love to stick that into one of the dirt/clay piles mucking up my front yard. And certainly anyone I know IRL is going to get an earful about this.

Oh well. We’ll soon have an equally messy and un-fun water service upgrade. Instead of having 3/4 inch galvanized we need 1.5 inch something or other bringing water from the city lines into our house. It’s a code thing (and costly!). Upgrading the water service means not only digging up the front lawn again, but also {pause while I take a deep, calming breath} breaking up the street. Yes, the street. To meet the city water lines.

Maybe my neighbor should be the one up in arms. Given our fall construction plans, I can’t imagine our house is going to look very good until next spring.

But enough about my neighbor, what do you think? Am I being insensitive or unrealistic, or am I justified in being upset by this mess (only part of which is pictured here)?

Edited 8/14 to add links to the previous pieces of the flood control project designed to prevent a sewage back up (yeah, you read that right–it’s a Chicago thing).

Day 89 (That’s what it felt like!)

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Edited 10/16/11 to add: Click to see what the pipes look like in our basement and how I mistakenly tried to clean up the mess. We would not recommend the plumber we used, in addition to leaving behind a mess (not just some mess, which is to be expected, but a lot of mess) it took us four phone calls and nearly a month before we received a waiver of lien from them.

Update 1/31/11 Though not happy about the lag in getting the lien and the lingering landscaping issues (the moving van just pulled right up into the front yard today seeing as how we don’t have an actual lawn as a result of this work plus a dumpster covering up the mud and clay until a few weeks ago), the plumber has been good about promptly fixing a couple of tweaks the system needed and they have not charged us for the return visits.

17 Responses to So This is What $10,000 Worth of Flood Control Looks Like
  1. Kristi
    August 12, 2011 | 11:13 am

    Even though he told you they are not a gardener, your expectations were not met. Your perception is your reality, so they should have explained more.

    Sucks though. 🙁

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:43 pm

      Right. I made an assumption and you know what happens with that. Really, replacing bushes = landscaping, but this? What worries me most is that it feels like cutting a corner and if your workers cut a corner in a visible place, where else might they have cut corners? That said, their work was permitted by the village and inspected upon completion, so at least there’s that.

  2. megryansmom
    August 12, 2011 | 1:33 pm

    Can you hide in the SMORE room until it’s done?

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:44 pm

      If only that room were real. I make up for it by simply eating a lot of Hershey bars. 🙂

      Bonus points for referencing a previous post in the comments! I have a special treat for you.

  3. ChaosRu
    August 12, 2011 | 1:49 pm

    That does seem like taking “no landscaping” to a whole new level. They should clearly state, “make a complete mess of your yard, which may require some extensive landscaping repair involving equipment.”

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:45 pm

      Yes. It hardly seems worth it to clean up too much until all the construction is over, by which time the ground will be frozen. Oh, we will have out work cut out for us come the spring thaw.

  4. Nancy
    August 12, 2011 | 5:31 pm

    I have no idea if you are justified or not…but I do know that I am SO happy to live in an apartment with a superintendent! I am SO not cut out for that sort of thing!
    Good luck!

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:45 pm

      Yes, our friend Rebecca has made it clear that city living has its advantages.

  5. emily @ the happy home
    August 12, 2011 | 5:57 pm

    i suppose there’s nothing you can really do about having to meet code… that pile looks so daunting. i’m sorry! is there any sort of landscaping company to call who might need dirt?

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:47 pm

      It dawned on my that we might list it on Craiglist as a freebie. I’ve been told that with rain and time, it will dissipate a bit and it’s been raining on and off for a few hours, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

  6. Sarah @ Freestyle Home and Life
    August 12, 2011 | 11:27 pm

    Yeah, this seems pretty iffy. Leaving it as bare dirt with no grass, fair enough, they said no landscaping… But leaving it completely torn apart with chunky piles like that is a bit much.

    I’m not sure how other plumbing companies compare, but it’d be a shame if they’re all this lazy about cleaning up after themselves.

    • admin
      August 13, 2011 | 10:48 pm

      I’ve asked around. One of the pricey plumbers around told me that they’d clean up the piles. I’ve heard from others that this kind of mess is common.

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