Plumbing is always important

Walt Trandum

The only thing wrong with getting old is that about the time you figure it out the game is over. I still think of old friends and relatives and those memories are largely from how they were during my formative years. My old aunts and cousins are forever in my head as they were when I was a kid and adored all of them. Another problem is trying to remember that you might be the only person in the room who was there when the building was bought or built. All this heavy thinking has been brought about by my having a heart procedure tomorrow that may or may not work. I hope I can just add this adventure to all those other events I have stored there.  I have decided it is just another plumbing problem that needs attention!
An old newspaper that I found in my files brought some memories of my early years in our little town. After retiring from the business world my wife and I built a little home in Wheeler where we planned to spend weekends and maybe more during fishing season. I think that catching a 40 lb salmon was the factor that brought about our full time living and participation in civic events and even governing. It has been a wonderful adventure being part of a place that has made it’s own history into a very nice place to live.
There were some problems in areas of just basic needs that had to have some attention. Water and sewer services along with old equipment that needed upgrading. When we got here the water was coming from a couple diversion dams on some creeks that came down the hill. There was an old mechanical chlorinating machine that barely met the health standards. While some of the original pipe in the ground had been replace there were still some wooden pipe that still worked and was probably the easiest to repair with a cedar shingle to plug the holes. Another advantage was the low cost for he users. Seven dollars a month was the fee and you multiply that by about two hundred users and the town didn’t have much money. With a lot of starts and stops a great water system was developed with the water coming from wells next to the Nehalem river from a huge aquifer that will supply the needs for years to come. Wheeler and Manzanita worked together on that project and we have a fine system.
There are lots of stories about the sewer service. In the beginning it was discharged directly into the river and with that not being acceptable there was a project to put in sewage processing facilities. The other two little towns were having the same problems and they set about to form a District and build a plant to take care of the problems. The people in Wheeler made the decision to go it on their own. I don’t know what the problems were but finally it was agreed that the sewage from Wheeler would be pumped into the new facility for the other towns. It was further agreed that Wheeler would continue to own and operate the system that was in the ground in their town. They were not to get any of the revenue from the monthly billing and their only source of revenue would be from new connections. It didn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out that it wouldn’t work. It was soon realized that a certain amount of maintenance was necessary and since there was too much ground water working into the Wheeler system it was a burden on the entire system. Without going into much detail it all worked out when there was a referendum to combine the entire system and it was discovered that “dilution is the solution” and the Wheeler waste was helping the entire process.
So now you all know a lot more than you would ever feel necessary about the plumbing systems that serve our community. A miracle is that much of it was accomplished by volunteers who gave of their time and expertise to make this a wonderful place to live even when you can no longer pursue those giant fish. Often some of those nice people bring us a piece of fish or a couple crabs to grace our table and we can remember when we were sharing it with our neighbors.
What a great place to live and with my newly plumbed heart we’ll be here for a long time.