Friday, June 13, 2008

Counting my blessings - UPDATED

Put down your coffee and steady your seat. I am about to praise a government employee and the power company.

We had another big night of rain at my house, close to 5 inches by one local report. The sound of the rain beating against my house made for a poor night of sleep for me. The thought of more rainwater further overfilling the flooded stream or of my sump pump suddenly deciding to quit had me on edge. I had timed my sump pump last night and estimated that over 13,000 gallons were being pumped in a 24 hour period. I think that would cover my basement with 12 inches of water. The basement remained dry this morning although my yard is a soggy mess and the entire State of Wisconsin seems to be a flooding disaster zone. Here are two reasons why things are dry inside.

When we put in an option to buy this property in the early 1990's, we were warned that Waukesha County approval of a zoning variance was needed because the only building site on the 8 acres was within 75 feet of a flood plain. It took several months and many meetings with county officials before the review board finally voted to approve the variance. During this time, Mr. Jay Potter, a zoning administrator with Waukesha County Parks & Planning, advised us of how best to locate our home and helped us through the process.

Even after the variance was granted, Mr. Potter continued his interest. On the day they excavated our basement, there was Mr. Potter in his tall rubber boots examining the composition of the soil. At one point he stopped the excavation and said that the basement floor could be no lower than that elevation. Based on soil conditions, it was his judgment that the ground water in the area of our basement would not rise over that level. Based on the 100 or 500-year rains we received this week, I believe that Mr. Potter was correct.

I also have to hand it to WE Energies for the reliable power provided to my home. In the period since the early 1990's when WEPCO trimmed the trees around their distribution lines on my road, I have had extremely reliable power. I recall less than a handful of extended power outages at my home. Although I lust after that Honda generator, I cannot justify buying it based on excellent electrical service I receive.

P.S. I am knocking on wood. This post may create some bad mojo with the flooding gods.

If you are in need of a sump pump, the Manitowoc Fleet Farm's selection looked to be untouched this past Tuesday. A heck of a drive from SE Wisconsin, but it beats a wet basement.

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