The Case of the Leaking Pool

(Part 2)

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

“The contradiction is, the leak should be in the pipe, and it should be not in a pipe!” exclaimed the inventor.

“Careful with this logic”, I said. “It’s only the process of elimination. All we know is that the leak is somewhere outside the pool, and it is not in the pipe. There should be something in between.”

“What did you say?” asked the pool guy.

“This outlet, on the bottom of the pool, – where does water go from there?”

“This pipe,” he pointed to one of the pipes running toward the pump.

“But this pipe comes out of the ground here. What is there between the outlet and this pipe?”

“Oh, there is a pipe underground, running from the outlet. The pipe you see is connected to that pipe.”

“Can the leak be there?”

“These underground pipes are well protected from elements and very rarely get damaged.”

“But can they?”

“I saw once or twice growing roots pushed them in a bad way causing a crack. You might be that unlucky… But, not to worry! There is a solution. It is more expensive than a patch I’d put on the pipe above ground, but it is still way cheaper than digging.”

He poured fluid into the pool that made water look milky, and turned the pump on. Then he explained that this is some organic compound “like cholesterol in blood stream”. As it runs along the pipes it accumulates in and around the cracks, hardens there, and seals the leaks. Unlike cholesterol, the unattached part eventually disintegrates and gets filtered out. This sounded to me like a very good, typical TRIZ solution.

“Let it run seventy-two hours. Then turn the pump off and watch", he smiled.

Seventy-two hours passed. The water was clear again. I turned the pump off, marked the water level, and waited twenty-four hours.

The swimming pool level had dropped two centimeters.

“I told you,” the inventor said. “You got a contradiction.”

(To be continued…)