Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Drama in Durango

So... that road trip. Not all fun you know. I am here to train Jill in the fine art of groundwater sampling using the micro-purge method, the only method if your Australian, not so often used in GAI Denver.

Needless to say, (but I will anyway) the job is not going exactly to plan. The plan was to roll into town on Monday and get our gas sampling done, then set up and get our groundwater and leachate samples done in time to head to the microbrewery on Tuesday, and then head to the next county over and do some gas sampling there on our way back to Denver. Plenty of time to be back for the office-wide happy hour that Jill is planning with our social committee for Thursday.
The best laid plans...

We got into town and to the landfill just fine. We got our gas sampling done and everything was going just fine. Until Tuesday.

Our pump didn't work. Our control box froze (literally!). Our tubing had a hole in it. Our water level meter chose a very inconvenient time to be brittle and break off at the end. Literally everything that could go wrong, did. (Except problems with the truck, thank goodness! Jill has been driving, so none of my bad car kharma is in play.)

So after calls to the rental place, the manufacturer, every single person in the groundwater group that was not on spring break (2, it turns out) and another rental place, I figured out how to fix the pump, remembered to test the line for leaks, and got a new control box in for this morning. Oh yeah, and I ordered some bailers, just for back-up.

This morning, we got to site and got our leachate sampling done, so there's something actually accomplished. Then we got back up to the monitor well where we had our pump set up. This is when we figured out about the leak in our air line and that our pump bladder had blown out. That all fixed, we headed into town to pick up our new control box and back-up bailers that had been fed-exed.

Good news- the new control box yielded water! Bad news- the compressed air bottle still froze. We waited to see if it would work after it thawed, but no luck. The whole sampling event is a bust. Tomorrow we will go back to the site and bail the wells by hand (did I mention that they are 100 and 200 feet deep, respectively? good thing I got those back-up bailers just in case!) and then head back to Denver (via the next county over where we still have to test gas!)

It's been a heckuva trip, and I think Jill is getting a bummer of a training event (she's getting really good at bailing though). That being said, it's not such a bad place to be trapped, you know? Durango is really a cool little town with lots to do and beautiful scenery. The weather turned bad today (as did everything else!) but since we were up high at the landfill, we could watch all the snowstorms come and go. It was pretty great, even though we were cold!

Keep your fingers crossed for us as we try and get this dang job finished in time for the weekend!

No comments: