I hope many of you have noticed the recent activity around the waterfall. While it is not moving quite as quickly as we had hoped, work has begun.
On Friday, July 22, Brookegreen was out to drain the basin and perform a detailed inspection of the plumbing, electrical, basins, screens, and the stream bed.
Brookegreen reported that the plumbing was in good shape and the size of the pipe is more than adequate to support the flow necessary to achieve a good visual appearance without putting too much strain on the pump.
They tested the circuits that support the pumps and found them to be good. Setting aside the fact that the circuits were not originally placed in conduit—which leaves them vulnerable to damage by rocks that settle on them—they generally feel the circuits are adequate to support the pumps. They’re recommending we not have a new circuit installed at this time. This is something we’ll have to consider. We’ve already had the lighting circuits damaged by rocks that settled on them and eventually caused a short. That’s okay for $20 light, but not something you want with a pump that runs in the thousands of dollars.
The basins and screens are in good shape. There are no major cracks in either the upper or lower basin and they appear to be holding water very well. The lower screen, which helps to keep large debris from getting into the lower basin and pumps, is structurally in good shape. It does need some additional screen attached along the bottom as settling within the stream bed has caused a gap to develop below it. The upper screen, which is mainly designed to keep someone from falling into the upper basin and drowning, is still in good shape.
The stream bed is also in good condition. There were no visible signs of large cuts or punctures in the lining. Likewise, there were no trees or other large brushy weeds—whose root system might cause damage—growing in it.
To eliminate $850 from the cost of the repair, Maureen and I went out this morning to clean up. We removed weeds, limbs, and leaves; sprayed the vines and a few stubborn weeds with a brush killer; and shoveled out the rotted debris from the lower basin.
Brookegreen has indicated that the pump they were originally planning to use has been discontinued. They’re now recommending a Grindex Minette at a price of $4526 installed—$3000 more than the originally quoted pump. Unlike the pumps that have been used in the past, the Grindex is made from stainless steel and aluminum—both low corrosion material. It is designed to handle dirty drainage water contaminated with particles up to about 3/8” in diameter and has features that keep it safe when it runs dry. Both problems have undermined the reliability of past pumps. Brookegreen indicates there are two Grindex Minette pumps in operation within a waterfall on the SC coast. The pumps have been working reliably now for three years.
While the Grindex pump seems to be a high quality pump whose reliability has been proven for this application, the significant price difference has caused some board members to be uneasy with Brookegreen. We are pausing briefly to seek an additional quote from another vender—WP Law in Lexington. We expect the quote within the next week or so. Once we have this, we will make a decision on the pump and vender. Our goal is to have the remaining repair work resume within the next two weeks.
Your patience is appreciated while we work to ensure we’re getting a quality product from a quality vender.