Monday, March 15, 2010

dude, where's my culvert?

I think I can say unequivocally that ice skating season is over. Actually this year we did not get out skating once. The ice formed, then enough snow fell before the ice was thick enough to support its weight so there was slush. Then slush froze into hard bumps that even the best Zamboni would not be able to resurface.

The ice has been retreating at a pace unusual for March. The weather lately has been a blessing for a winter weary soul (and a blessing for our heating bill, which could use a break). Yesterday and today above 60 degrees = unbelievable (but very likable). I think after the last few years we deserve a March like this.

This fast meltdown and runoff has posed a bit of a problem though, and it's not just the mud in the driveway, which may go away sooner than normal if this continues. The problem is, the pond is at record high water levels. That means that at some point, water is not flowing out of the pond.

This is a view directly below the pond outflow culvert. So water is flowing through that one fine. But there is another culvert, underneath our driveway. There is lots of water above the driveway, but little below. A-ha.

I decided to investigate this matter today instead of going for a run. The pond outflow runs north through the outflow culvert and the driveway culvert. This is an important fact: The driveway shades the outflow below it so that thawing happens more slowly. I entered the ditch north of the driveway, and at first could not even see any sign of a culvert. Then, as I examined more closely, I saw, just above the surface of an ice pack, a curved form that looked like the top of a culvert. I chipped out some ice with a heavy spud bar (ice chisel) and it did indeed appear to be the culvert I was looking for.

I continued to chip away at the ice, thinking perhaps I could break through. I could have broken through, with unlimited strength. The ice was still sturdy and unrelenting, and finally I gave up with the idea that I had speeded the process. Just a little.

I am not too concerned at this point. Most of the snow has melted, and the pond is as high as it is going to get. Unless, of course, we get a couple inches of rain in one night. Then maybe we would be faced with a driveway washed away, unable to drive anywhere, huge excavating bill to get things back to normal. Nope. Don't even want to go there.

Hopefully another day or two of this wonderful weather will resolve the problem.


greg said...

Good luck!

webb said...

Sounds like you're gonna have a nice little downhill sluice under your driveway in a few days. That should be fun, too! Good luck.

RuthieJ said...

I hope you didn't get as much rain as we did today Deb! and that everything melts and runs off soon.

Floridacracker said...

We are soaking wet here too. Every ditch and creek is up to the bank tops.