2002-2003 Water-Sewer Project
October 23, 2002 ~ May 13, 2003

We took possession of our Cape Coral, Florida home in July, 1998, at which time it was attached to a well and a septic tank.  We were told before purchasing the home that someday the city would be installing sewer and water lines to our neighborhood, and at that time we would be required by law to accept these improvements and to pay for them.  We were also told that this work would cost up to $16,000 to perform, but that this amount would be recovered whenever we sold the house.  Additionally, we were told that the changes would occur within two years of when we moved into the home, but although we heard many rumors over time it actually turned out to be 51 months before work began!  Note that the reason for the high price is that the homeowner's pay 100% of the cost ~ none is paid by our taxes!

For each homeowner with a acre lot, the overall project cost $10,800 to install the sewer line, water lines, and to build a new road.  Additionally, it cost $2,786 for all building permits, and an additional $1,120 for a plumbing contractor to attach the sewer line and water lines to the house, adding up to a grand total of $14,706.  At first this seemed like too much money to us, but I've since observed the entire project from start to finish, and I now feel that we definitely got our money's worth!  Additionally, while the project was being completed, our house increased in value quite a bit more than we paid, so we're not complaining!  :)

You may have noticed that I mentioned the plural "water lines" above.  This was not an error ~ each home now has two water lines, one with potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc., and a second line which delivers "reclaimed" water.  This reclaimed water has not received full sanitation from the water treatment facility and is not potable.  But ~ it has been filtered to the point that it is excellent for trees, grass, etc., which is the reason for the second water line to each property.  The reclaimed water line was installed along our side of the street and the potable water line was installed on the other side of the street.  A separate water line was run from the potable line under the road to reach our house.

If two water lines weren't enough for us, we also retained our fully operational water well, and we intend to use it for topping up the pool, cleaning up the dock, and any other effort for which we don't need to use potable water.  The savings in water bills over time should be substantial.  Additionally, we're on a canal and have a pump and a heavy duty 75' hose, so we have a fourth  source of water for those rare times that the other three sources don't give us what we need!  :)

The full project took over six months, but we've been able to illustrate the project as it happened in front of our house with only 68 photographs ~ we hope you enjoy the pictures.

(Click on picture to enlarge)
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October 23, 2002, the project starts on our street.
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They started off by tearing up the road, about 100' at a time, laying sewer pipes, then replacing the dirt.
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No matter how much of a mess they made of the road each day, it was usable again each evening no later than 5 PM!
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These are the sewer pipes that went in the road. Note the old road ~ thin blacktop which is loaded with shells and cracks!

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Connecting the sewer line from the road to our yard.
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Now they are starting on the reclaimed water line.  The machinery you see is a drill they use to tunnel under driveways.

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They put this green pipe under the driveway.
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Then they run the reclaimed water line through this pipe.

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Every job has a sidewalk supervisor!  :)
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Digging the trench for the reclaimed water line.
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The line is in, now to fill in the trench and then level out the soil.

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Laying the new road.  The new blacktop is thick all the way to the edges and has no shells like the old road!

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Smoothing out the line where our driveway meets the new road.
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Packing down the blacktop. Note the steam ~ this new road was HOT!
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The road is done!
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Leveling the dirt again, prior to putting down new grass sod.

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Here comes the grass!
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Drop a piece into place.

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Drop another piece.
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Kick them into position.
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Trim with a machete so that they fit neatly.
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Roll all the new sod to make sure the roots are firmly packed against the earth.

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Removing the old sod prior to connecting the sewer line to the house.

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Digging the trench for the new sewer line.
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PVC sewer pipe being installed.
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The sewer line passed inspection easily ~ it was then buried.
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The old septic tank needs to be broken up.  First it was drained, then mashed with this little machine.

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Our house had a 1,000 gallon septic tank ~ this left a BIG hole!
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The contractor left his tractor over the hole overnight so that no one would fall in!
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The next day, filling the hole.
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Wetting down the soil so that it will compact properly.
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The hole is filled, now to neaten the surface before putting sod back.
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Repairing broken sprinkler lines (it is not possible to do a job this size without breaking things)!

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Digging the trench to connect the two water lines to the house.

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Plumber installing two PVC water lines.
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Ready for inspection.
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The water lines passed inspection ~ now they are covered.
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This line was a long one, it snaked around to the back of the house as the next picture shows.
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May 13, 2003, the job is completely done, a grand total of 202 days from start to finish at our house!
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The old softener system has been removed, leaving only this pressure tank for the well ~ we can still use "free" well water to fill the pool.  :)

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As shown in the previous picture, the leftover pipes were a messy tangle.  Bill reworked the lines, then added a shutoff to the dock hose bib.

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The salt from the water softener had made a mess of our old faucets . . .
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. . . so they were all replaced with faucets like this one, at a cost of $69 each at Home Depot.  Bill did the installation.

You may use any of the above pictures for any purpose and may do so without giving me credit.  Note that these pictures have been downsized for those with slow connection speeds.  If you'd like copies of the original JPG pictures, send me an E-mail telling me which pictures you want and I'll be happy to send the original pictures to you at no charge!

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