It wouldn't have been fixable from the top anyway. It wasn't bolted to a post and the whole thing wiggled alarmingly. And years of calcium deposits had completely frozen all the screw together bits. It broke off in the ground :(
G and I took turns digging an enormous hole. I went to the local hardware store twice, and we spent over an hour puzzling out how to cut off the water. I even crawled around under the entire house looking for a shutoff valve. Pro tip: flip the circuit breaker labelled "pump", then drain the tank. D'oh!
Actually capping the pipe was ridiculously easy. And the best part of all - the water CAME BACK ON!
Another expensive catastrophe nimbly avoided.
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