The Well Driller’s Blues

  |  March 4, 2015

If you want to pick the worst job in 2014/2015, it would have to be a well driller.  First, a several-year subtle drought left wells and underground reservoirs all over the place high and dry last summer, and now, a deep cold frost has penetrated the earth to depths not seen in forty years, freezing well lines coming into homes throughout the Catskills.

If water is life – as the anti-fracking fundraising slogan goes – life is truly upended when water fails to flow.  We just assume water will be there, so when you go to turn that spigot and it doesn’t run, the shock has some punch.  Now, my son enjoyed our three-day waterless existence because it was a viable excuse to both a) not bathe and b) brush his teeth less frequently, but other than that, the situation had few redeeming qualities.

Unlike a leaky drain, or even frozen pipes within a home, remedying a well problem is not straightforward -finding a long-term solution typically involves a lot of inconvenience and a fair amount of expense.  My well driller has been fielding multiple well-related emergency calls on a daily basis since at least June.

Those calls aren’t the calm “Hey, got a problem here, can you give me a call at your convenience?” They are more like “I DON’T HAVE ANY WATER AND WE HAVE A BABY IN THE HOUSE,” or, “WE DON’T HAVE ANY WATER AND WE ARE LIVING IN A HOTEL.” Not the type of calls I enjoy getting.

Thing about it is, these deep freezes and multi-year droughts which impact the water supply are curious, frightening, and intriguing mainly because they expose just how vulnerable, delicate, and fragile our taken-for-granted existence actually is.

Turn on the spigot and nothing comes out.  It’s an immediate day-changing event.


About Catskill Farms

Charles Petersheim founded design/build firm Catskill Farms in 2002 in Sullivan County. Continually inspired wholly by regional architecture, his over 275 new old homes dot the Hudson Valley, including Sullivan, Ulster, and Dutchess counties. His 20 years of Catskills building have given him broad perspective on how to succeed Upstate, be it with farming, building, small business, or just relaxing on the front porch.

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