Notes from a Transplant: Rural Life Lessons in Plumbing

  |  February 23, 2012

On Thursdays we bring you Notes from a Transplant, posts from ex-New Yorkers (or ex-anywhere-ers) who have relocated to the Catskills and Hudson Valley and want to share their joys and war stories. Today, ex-Brooklynite Suko, now a Dutchess County gal and farm educator, shares her thoughts on country water supplies, something upstate homeowners have to think about much more than downstaters.

Home-ownership, while appealing in day dreams, terrifies me. I’m totally grateful for a home on the farm where every Friday the lawn is mowed and when it snows the drive is plowed. Still I’ve had many lessons on house living that I never thought of as an apartment renter; mostly related to plumbing.

There was the night I arrived and the water didn’t work. Exhausted, I just crawled into bed and felt violated when I found a broken window and muddy hand and boot prints in the kitchen the next morning. Ignoring my photo equipment in an upstairs closet, the house had been robbed of $300 worth of copper piping- $4/lb at the time.

The first year in my current house, the water pressure slowly reduced to a trickle because I did not know to add salt to the water softener. Every couple months the plumber came to fix another leak until we finally found someone who looked at the whole system, and pointed out the PVC pipes had never been glued properly and were just resting in place.

This past week after 4 years of enjoying the sweet tasting well water, a mouse nest was found in the semi-capped well. So much chlorox has been put through the system, after showering my skin is itchy and I smell like a swimming pool. I learned that the acceptable legal ppm of chlorine in drinking water is higher than the ppm recommended for pools, and a UV filter is being installed so once the chlorox runs through I can drink the water and use my neti pot.


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