Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Retention Disorder

Our attack teams continue to do well, cutting down zombies in decent numbers without any major incidents. It's likely, given my personal responsibility for the program, that I'll be mentioning it in most of my posts. Barring disaster of large changes, those updates will be like this one: short and uneventful.

This morning I'm more interested in what our plumbers (I hate calling them that since they're really doing a much larger and more complex job) are up to. One of them came by this morning to look at the pipes under my house, and he had this battery-powered device with him that looked like a metal detector on steroids. He walked around my yard for a little while looking thoughtful and taking notes as he used the thing. Told me he was figuring out where the pipes were.

I did a little asking around. What I was told surprised me.

I've assumed that much of the work these folks were going to be doing within New Haven itself would be helping each of us create new systems to carry water. Modular ones that don't rely on a larger delivery network. Makes sense, right? I mean, if some disaster looms and causes damage to a big system, we're all in trouble. Modular systems mean each of us have to haul or capture our own water, but damage to one part of New Haven--be it zombie attack, natural disaster, or plain old human violence--would drastically lessen the impact on the community as a whole.

The reality is way different and far more awesome. I don't mind feeling like and uneducated rube about this, because these guys and gals know what the hell they're doing.

New Haven itself, which was just the neighborhood I lived in before The Fall by necessity turned it into a fortress, has a relatively close-off water and sewer system. We won't have flush toilets or be able to use the sewers since we won't be able to treat our waste or clean any of that water (though there's discussion about showers whose wastewater goes to irrigate our gardens, but that's just an idea at the moment). But the plan for the core of New Haven, the old neighborhood itself, is brilliant. It's also going to take a lot of work.

With that in mind, another hundred people are on their way. These will be mostly laborers to manage this plan, though thirty of them will be dedicated guards to protect the plumbers and the people working for them when they're outside the walls.

The plan itself is to dig a lot of holes, and using the wide array of spare parts laying the end of the world conveniently left laying around, change the way our plumbing works. New Haven's existing water mains other water lines will be turned into a truly closed system. All sewer lines will be closed off as well, for safety, probably at the houses themselves. Once the system is closed, the real work will start.

A network of above-ground shutoff valves will be installed to protect the water supply in case of a break. Street-by-street, this will happen. Each house will have a modular system (most already do, but the few that don't will be upgraded) whose reserves will be topped off by the larger system. Redundancy. Who'd have thought we'd live long enough to be able to implement redundant systems?

I'm not fussed about the lack of working toilets or sewers. We've become used to using everything, even storing and using our urine to make ammonia (poor quality though it may be) to use against the undead. Maybe I'm a bit nostalgic for showers, but even without them I'd be fine.

Having on-demand water in our pipes would be amazing. Yeah, we have to stop up our drains and reuse whatever comes out of the tap (at my house, it will probably go to water the plants) but that's nothing really new. Certainly not a dealbreaker.

The biggest reason all the new people are coming is that a major piece of infrastructure is needed before the system can be completed. New Haven is on a hill, and at the top a whole new section is going to go up quickly. Not large compared to the last expansion we did, but the idea is to use a dedicated section to capture and retain up to a hundred thousand gallons of water. Bigger if the plumbers can figure a way to store more than that. I'm not even sure how they're going to manage what they're planning now.

God, this wouldn't have seemed like such a big deal a few years ago, but too many days drinking ladles of dodgy-looking water out of buckets in between zombie attacks has a way of making new plumbing seem like magic. I hope this works, because this system is going to be the prototype for the huge expansion we're going to build soon.

Damn. Just realized that with another hundred people coming, we're going to have to find some place to put them. Getting a bit crowded lately. Guess I should see how that's going, then come back here for the first reports of the day from the attack teams.

The future is one hell of a lot of work.

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