Passing Water

By Darrell Bushnell

The adventure continued this past week. As most of you know, the grey water (water from showers, sinks or gutters) exits from our Granada homes separately from the black water (sewage) which goes to the septic system or sewer pipes. Most homes channel the grey water to the streets or to the arroyos (street canals) which eventually enters Lake Nicaragua which is another issue.

In our case, this grey water enters a large pipe that goes under our back bedroom where the sink and shower water joins it then goes under our neighbor’s property where it turns into a 12 inch pipe to eventually go to the arroyo. Well, with the onset of the rainy season the pipe decided to become clogged and began to back up. This has happened before so we tackled the problem immediately. Hired a friend that opened the pipe in our neighbor’s yard and began to snake it. This went on for hours but it never got better, So I went to Casa Granada Property Rentals and Property Managements and asked for their assistance hoping they had a pump or a real roto-rooter.

At first I was unimpressed since they showed up a day late which is quite normal for Nicaragua but made me nervous since it looked like rain almost everyday. Having a bedroom under a few inches of water is not fun but being all tile, does not damage anything. First they used my snake from both directions to no avail. Then they suggested what every worker has suggested “We will need to dig up the floors to see what is the problem.”  I informed them emphatically that that will never happen. I think the workers just like digging up floors.

Then the workers came back with long iron rods to push through the drain. These are good if you have long, straight pipes which few people have and long straight pipes tend not to clog. But with every group of workers you just have to let them go through with these usual procedures since they won’t listen to any advice from an old gringo. Eventually they agreed that we need to put some pressurized water into the pipes and I was hoping they knew someone with a good pump but they suggested using the bomberos (firemen).

A few years ago we had a very bad experience with the Granada bomberos. They arrived in an old fire truck, snaked their leaking hoses through our home, put the hose in our drain, turned on the pump and promptly ran out of water. They told me they had to return after they filled their tanks. Of course, they never returned so I went to the fire house and they informed me that we would have to pay again for the second trip. This led to words about the stupidity of showing up with an empty tank but to no avail, so I paid again. They showed up again at our home but as soon as they turned on the pump the water began gushing out of our shower drain. Guess they did not understand the water hydraulic theory where the pressure will be released where there is the least resistance.  By this time the house was so dirty that I thanked them and sent them on their way.

So, no, I was not thrilled with the idea of the bomberos coming again but they assued me that this time they would use the La Villa bomberos who were much more competent. Well, they showed up with a nice new fire truck from Russia. Well, what could go wrong with a Russian fire truck used by Nica bomberos? Again, the hoses were snaked through our home, the hose put down our drain and they were about to turn on the pressure. No, no, no, the water will come out in my shower! They agreed and we put a wet towel in the drain and had one of the boys stand on it. I had visions of the boy being smashed against the ceiling on a spout of water. The pump was turned on and the patio quickly filled with water and began to run into the bedroom. Ah, déjà vu all over again.

No, these firemen were much better than the Granada bomberos. They moved the truck and tried flushing it from the other direction in my neighbor’s yard but that didn’t work either. Not giving up, they moved the truck again and this time applied a lot more pressure and voila, the drain was cleared. It only took a few hours to clean the floors, walls and shower.

My thanks to Casa Granada Property Management and the La Villa Bomberos. I had my doubts for a while but you persevered and got the job done. See, good things happen to people with patience.