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Mar. 26th, 2008 @ 09:04 pm I Had the House to Myself for Three Hours!
The wife had a Doctor appointment today which provided the perfect opportunity to test the remodeled sand extraction device without her asking me what all the noise is coming from the dungeon...

If it works I'll install it permanently when I add an Arch to the doorway but I won't reach that point until I study how high the water rises up the monitoring pipes. So far they seem to have stopped about 20 inches above the original floor level and the 8 inches of sand and cement mix I poured on top has had a couple weeks to cure. I had shoveled a foot of sand over it because I wanted to have positive pressure above the rim of the main ten inch pipe leading to a gravel pit just at the bottom of the seam of clay and even though I had grouted that all the way down with about half a yard of concrete, foolish me got a small amount of concrete at the top of the ten inch pipe I noticed as I checked to see if it was time to add more gravel. The more fine stuff I pump out from the gravel the more it settles down the pipe which is about 15 feet deep on end and so I add a few buckets full every time the level drops a foot so I don't end up a hole to drop something in and lose things.

I have a drain line running into it about 3 feet down but was too cheap to spend 30 dollars on a fitting so I used my sawzall to make a snug hole in the ten inch pipe and inserted a 4 inch pipe perpendicular into it, sealed it temporary with duct tape and then poured the final 2 feet of grouting / concrete mix around it and since we were in a drought , and the water table was 5 feet below the original floor, this was to be the perfect drain and let me have a two story bunker. I had all the pipes run several feet above the floor level mostly so I wouldn't get anything into them and I noticed the water level rising, stuck my hand in to check how far down the gravel had dropped and felt a small bit of fine cement on top.

I first thought this was water that had dripped into the pipe and was sealed by the concrete and not draining and decided I should clean it out with acid just because. but looking back, I should have just run a hose into the 4 inch drain to see if it took the water or spilled out onto the floor...

Dissolving concrete with acid is more fun than actually thinking it through I lost that fight LOL and since a little is good a lot must be better long story short I dissolved the seal around the 4 inch pipe into the ten inch pipe then the pressure of the water inside the pipe forced it up around the seal of the floor and suddenly I have a hole that fills up over night with a foot of water LOL.

This is why I started with a test shaft...

I redid all my plumbing so I have the lines raised much higher than I would hope the levels would ever rise and the test shaft will now become a pit to make transporting sand from under the house 150 feet to the backyard, and then in the long term be a collection basin for any accidental floods. I can have a sump pump there to pump up four feet then it would drain naturally into the ground, a quick attachment to add a 3 inch pump if it literally ever fills with ten feet of water like an underground swimming pool, and a 3 inch dry well for emergencies and also if I actually pull off this Discovery Show Idea I would like a spot with a really deep shaft with a stainless staircase and I should be able to drop the water level right below the house temporarily so I could start with a bit deeper than normal hole before I hit ground water.

I'm going to lose three feet of depth for the main bunker in the crawlspace because I want all the floors to have a gentle slope towards the basin but that just mean it will be a single story with 12 foot ceilings instead of two levels and will cut down the size to about 800 square feet but done properly this could appear very spacious to ward off that closed in feeling.

If worse comes to worse I am going to try and find a salvaged water proof door from a ship about 5 foot tall, install it at the opening to the tunnel to the safe room under the bottom garage floor and then have a ramp down so I could get ten foot ceilings in a ten by 15 foot room. The layer of clay is so thick and water impermeable that this could not fill with water unless the basin flooded hence the need for a ships waterproof door, and that's small enough I might actually be allowed to build it with the counties OK.

I read the PDF and you have to actually mail off for "construction" plans that I expect to be very general but hopefully provide me with basic data on what is a minimum safety factor for walls and ceilings made from concrete and I'll increase that by a 50% fudge factor just because.

I need to find some heavy grating but with fine holes to I can make this ADA accessible although technically a five foot tall door won't fly but I actually got my wife to sit in her power chair and took measurements of width height length turn radius and made casual notice of what kind of a grade she can go up or down without getting nervous. The chair stops as soon as you let go of the joy stick and the wheels actually lock so you can't accidentally roll down a hill dodging cars like Mr. Magoo...

15 degrees is very doable and I'd say 30 degrees is the max she could do without stressing out so I'll keep these things in mind as I ponder all of this.

Today's task was simply to see if the check valve is too heavy to lift up from the vacuum created by the big pump and to see if it stops the flow down the pump long enough to let the pipe prime all the way to the pump and it seemed to pass with flying colors so I made a few videos that's I'll edit in later...

It will actually pull a prime and start pumping with only a few feet of water in the hole and I'm going to slip a sleeve inside the weight to make the drain hole smaller so it primes quicker but this is just about ready to be installed permanently after only one test run and was able to pull about 8 inches of sand out of the bottom of the shaft with little physical effort on my part and should work well after I get a good smooth floor sloping to the intake and get a second pump to pump lake water into the hole as fast as I can pump it out.

Primering Pump

Rube Goldberg?

King Sized Check Valve

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