2007-Oct-15 - Wooroloo - Installing the water tank
This was a comedy of errors from beginning to end.

When we confirmed delivery of the tank we emphasized that we needed 2 hours warning before they came out to site

The tank slab was still covered in clay from last weekend's trenching - I needed to clean it down and mark out where the columns would be bolted down - so that I could draw a circle where the tank would safely go.

I am blissfully programming away on a clients job at home when a phone call comes through.

(lot's of ambient truck cab noise) Hello Mr Epton - this is (name) from (company name)

"I'm just leaving a job in Gidgee and I'll be at your block in 20 minutes."

"But you're supposed to give me two hours warning !"

"Oh, yes - I've just noticed that on the delivery form. Sorry about that"

"Well you've completely caught me on the hop - I'm in Mundaring, It will take me 30 minutes to get there and I still need another half hour after that to mark out the tank position on the slab"

I give the driver some rather hurried instructions on how to mark out the slab if he is starting without me.

The driver says :"I'll have some lunch here before I drive over to Wooroloo"

I fly out the door of my office, grab a few tools and motor over.

Once there I frantically sweep the dry, caked on mud off the slab, do a series of measurements, work out the centre point of the tank, and mark out the circle.

The circle I mark out is for the widest diameter of the tank at half its height from the ground, not the diameter of the base - I do this because I need to see if the tank, at its widest point, is going to interfere with the columns

Just as I finish the truck turns up.

My tank is on a trailer hanging off the truck. The truck has a special mounting frame on the back for carrying up to three tanks. Two have already been removed.

The driver looks at the steep driveway and the limited turning circle

"Yes - what we will have to do roll your tank off the trailer on to the last position of the truck, disconnect the trailer and then back the truck in."

This will involve rolling a tank, on its side, twice the height of a person, across two planks, 5 feet off the ground.

I have a bad feeling about all this, but fortunately Ross from next door is present and makes everything go smoothly

Eventually we have the tank off, on its side, ready to flip it on to the slab.

"Hang on", says the driver. "I'll just position some tyres on the ground so that it has something to fall on to"

Four of us give an enthusiastic heave and the tank flips in to position. There is an almighty crash as the tank completely misses the tyre

"That's strange", says the driver."I had the tyre across the circle you had drawn"

Of course, he had been caught out by the fact that this circle did not represent the base of the tank

After a little bit of pushing and shoving we had the tank in position

I phoned Linda and she called the water tanker people - we wanted to put some water in the tank to stop it being stolen - this was going on at the time due to water shortages.

The driver cuts the access holes for overflow and tap and climbs in to the tank to install the fittings

He keeps being overcome by fibreglass resin fumes and cannot make any progress

He and his offsider try all sorts of tricks, such as applying a leaf blower to the tap hole from the outside in a attempt to blow out the fumes.

Meanwhile the water tanker turns up. The owner is looking a bit distracted because he has just realised that his radiator has a leak and that it is going to cost him several thousand to repair it.

Fortunately he is not impatient about having to wait, as he uses this as an opportunity to start phoning radiator repair shops.

Eventually we make the decision to put a few inches of water in to the tank, hoping that this may cover up the source of the resin fumes. I does help, but not because there is a puddle of resin in the base, more likely because we hid 20% of the internal surface area of the tank.

This is enough for the driver to get inside and insert the threaded flange for the tank from the inside

He tells the water tanker operator to go ahead with the pumping

Meanwhile, because he has only fitted the tap flange, but not the tap - water starts pouring out the bottom of the tank

He's sitting on the tank slab, hand over the tap hole, stopping the leak - while his offsider runs off to the truck to fetch all the tap fittings.

I leave them to it for a while - I'm rather concerned that the level of fumes will make the tank unsafe for drinking water.

I ring Linda and ask her to talk to the tank suppliers about this.

She rings me back to tell me they are sure that all the fumes will evaporate in several days and that it will be completely safe

I wander over to see how they are going with fitting the tap. They are struggling to get it on because the stem/handle of the tap is striking the slab as they attempt to screw it on to the flange.

The water is still being pumped in and the tank is about 20% full by now.

"Do you have a piece of pipe so I can lift this edge of the tank up a bit ?" says the driver - not realising that there are now several tonnes of water in the tank.

"Are you sure you wish to keep pumping water in at the moment ?" I ask

The driver looks a bit vague and confused (probably from inhaling fibreglass resin) "I gues not"

I make my way up to the water tanker owner. The pumps are roaring away - he is completely oblivious to any crisis because he is talking on his mobile to a radiator shop.

I make the international sign to kill the process and return to look at the reluctant tap fitting.

"Why not take the handle off - then you'd have enough room to swing the fitting ?"

This works and we finally get the tank installed.