Our Own Landfill

As you may recall, yesterday, we found a big pipe in the yard. Our plan was to see if it was connected to anything today, and if not, to remove it. Well, howdy.

I started out digging around one end of the pipe and rapidly discovered the northern (streetward) end of the pipe. Then we dug some more and found a large metal pipe thing right next to the original pipe, and a couple of other clay pipes. (You can see the additional pipes just barely in the top of this photo.)

We stood and stared at each other for a while, and I said, "There's no easement here. These cannot be attached to anything." We decided to dig around them, too.

More than one pipe

We dug for a while, unearthing all sorts of odd plumbing fixtures. And we loosened the original pipe, heaved it out the hole, and knocked the dirt out of it. Noel posed for a triumphant picture. OK, it's a little smaller than 12" diameter. But it's still big. Looks to be an original sewer lateral.

The original pipe

Suddenly, it all became clear: this is where the former owners dumped the construction debris after they did all the bad remodeling work in the late 50's. Some of this is the original plumbing from the house, like the old gas fixtures, the original kitchen taps, and so on. Totally corroded and having been burnt before the burial, of course, so it's all trash.

All the junk in the hole

But what the heck was that big metal pipe thing? It was too small to be the removed bathtub -- which I now fully expect to find lurking under the soil -- and too large to be any reasonable piece of plumbing. We levered at it for a while, digging it free and then loosening it by rocking it back and forth.

Water heater in the hole

It took us a while to haul it out of the hole, with many mishaps and near crushing of participants. And look how large the hole ended up being. It kind of looked like an impromptu grave.

Water heater removed from the hole

When we got it out, the pipe thing (we were calling it "the treasure chest" by this point) turned out to be an ancient, cast iron water heater. Probably from the 30's. It was full of sand and heavy as heck, but unlike the pipes the sand could not just be shaken out, so we spent a good hour rinsing it with a hose, agitating, rinsing some more, and so on. Finally we got it light enough that we could lift it to its final resting place: the dumpster.

Pipes and water heater in the dumpster

And here I thought we were done with the dramatic discoveries in the house.

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posted by ayse on 01/22/06