They asked. We said no. They did it anyway, accompanied by giggly snide remarks in Spanish.
Rudeness transcends the language barrier, did you know that? I'm sure kindness does too, but unfortunately, that's not in this story. But not by my choice.
We weren't surprised they did it anyway. That's been their method all along, to just do what they wanted to do, damn the permits, damn the inspectors, damn the effect on anyone else. And would you believe they blame us for the money in fines they've had to pay, because we reported them? Uh, how about doing your homework and making the right phone calls yourself... get the right permits to begin with... then whaddaya know? No fines!
It wasn't enough that we had to put up with the road near our house being piled with dirt and rocks (even if unintentional, it was still thoughtless!) and to watch this wall of dirt climb higher and higher - they even drove cedar posts in the ground and ran an erosion control fence between them at one time to try to hold more dirt. (The day after a confrontation with us, the posts and fencing suddenly vanished and permits were posted in the proper method. I'm sure they thought we were calling inspectors again. I'm guessing the posts and fencing weren't condoned by an inspector or engineer after all, as they told us.)
What's that saying about character? Oh, yeah. "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching." Ahem.
Anyway, one day last week, one of the workers, in the sticky-sweetest not-even-remotely-snide voice you can imagine, asked me if they could pump water from their pond into ours (Ours was still on the dry side, but theirs had a lot of water for some reason, perhaps filled up from sprinklers they used to water the grass seeds.)
I said, "I'll ask my husband, but probably not because I think he has some projects planned for our pond while it's low like this".
The worker went on to explain that an inspector had told them they had to slope the inside pond wall more, but they couldn't with the water in it. (Another instance where a little homework and the proper planning and pre-inspections would have helped... although, actually, you'd think they could have figured it out themselves that a vertical wall wouldn't be as strong as a sloping wall when the force of all that water pressed upon it.)
Anyway, two days ago they asked Tom himself about pumping the water and he said, "No, that water is dirty and I don't want it in my pond." As he walked away, they smarted off to him in Spanish, laughing. I guess they knew they were going to ignore his wishes and do it anyway. Yes, rude is rude in any language. It needs no translator.
Tom's point is that the dirty water gets filtered by the caliche ground and earthen dam before it reaches our pond. We didn't want water that had bypassed that natural purifier.
But then they got the bulldozer stuck in the water and tried to get it out with a couple of Bobcats. We have a backhoe, and we know how heavy machinery leaks oil and diesel. Yuck! Talk about dirty water. We for sure didn't want that water in our pond after that! (Taken with a zoom lens - boy, it comes in handy!)
Despite telling them no, Tom wasn't surprised when he heard the pump running this afternoon. By the time he got down there, they realized he was home and had shut it off, but the water was still running through the culvert down into our pond where a green glob was forming. Did they think we wouldn't notice?
It looks a lot like a big loogie, doesn't it?
They have a hose from the pump going into a culvert on their side (thank goodness again for that zoom lens!) The water comes out of the culvert on our side, flows along the erosion control fence (I wondered why they had straightened it up again) and then out into our pond.
So now I've had to spend my evening making phone calls, sending emails and photos to different agencies, filing environmental violation reports, hoping someone in Texas cares about these little pockets of nature that spill into Lake Travis (our drinking water!) before it's too late and they have to spend fortunes trying to clean up what they could have prevented in the first place with a little more diligence. Don't they realize it's these little spots that are the heart of the environmental issue? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
I guess it would be easy to assume that someone who bought acreage out in the country like this cared about natural resources, about the waterways and the animals (including my dogs) who drink from them, as well as the frogs, the birds, the fish, the lake. Obviously not. Perhaps they just don't see the connection. When they toss a stone into the water, they don't see the ripples rolling away from it, on and on and on.
I'd feel sorry for them, except it's already late and now I need to start on what I needed to do tonight in the first place. And my pond is filled with a big green loogie of diesel and oil. My pond is probably dying.
But before I got to work, I needed to get this out with another request - if you have any information or know of any resources please let me know. If you have any connections, please forward this. I do know the agencies overseeing these things in Travis County, and perhaps all over Texas, are all understaffed and underpaid - please speak up to our representatives to get this changed.
And please say a prayer for our pond.