Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Working Together with Pastor Carlos
The only kind of construction I had done prior to this year, was a cement path I made in my grandmother’s backyard some years ago. The past two weeks I have been working in the basement along with volunteers digging holes and trenches in order to drain the water that has been flooding our basement during the Winter and Spring months.
The seasonal floods had created smell problems, which made it sometimes all the way into the sacristy area. Since this situation was a potential health hazard, the finance council advised me that this project was a priority. The first step was to bleach the whole basement with the donations of bleach we received. Next, a general contractor donated his time and guided me about what needed to be done: having a leak detection company inspect all incoming water lines for leaks, and looking at old floor plans to see where a water barrier could be made. In looking at the old plans of the church we discovered old bathrooms located under the sacristy. After inspecting, we discovered one of them had a location where the water table rises. I also explored the crawlspace and found a leaking pipe that the detection professional could not find with his detection machine. A licensed plumber fixed that problem. The next part was determining where to place the drainage system, and a plumber helped us to know the work that needed to be done.
The next part was the most difficult: Breaking through the layers of concrete, rocks, and dirt floor in the basement in order to deepen the existing sump pump, installing two others in new locations, and creating trenches that drain into the pumps.
Two different contractors estimated the work to install a drainage system to be $10,000, but since volunteers and I are donating the labor (even Fr. Max came to break concrete one afternoon), we will spend probably less than $1,000 in parts. At this point, we just need to install the pipes and pumps after we get an electrician to install an outlet.
Due to the location of the furnaces, in order to trench all the way around the basement, the furnaces and ducts would have had to be temporarily removed and then reconstructed. That may need to be done. However, we’ll wait for Winter and Spring rains, and see if the work done is sufficient to drain the water. If the basement still floods from the areas where we could not trench, we will complete the project in Summer of 2020. For now, half of the basement will have a drainage system, and time will tell if that is sufficient.
My favorite part of this project has been working side by side with some of the men of the parish and getting to know them and hearing about their lives.
God bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA