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Totally OT: What's a fair way to resolve this water leak issue?

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  • #16
    If you use water it will damage the roots and possibly wires and plastic pipe.

    We also used water if the digging was hard but not when we had to worry about damaging something. Also we used venturi type vacuums to suck the dirt and water out of the hole or trench. This was normally used in oilfield work though and not any residential work. We didn't have to worry about anyone's lawn or windows!
    Location: The Black Forest in Germany

    How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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    • #17
      I would pressure test the line between the meter and you house....shut off the main valve at your house, then remove the union on your side of the meter (after shutting the meter valve off). The questionable pipework should now be isolated. cap off the union at the meter, and machine the cap for a shreader valve and a pressure gauge. Pressurize to 100psi and see if it holds. I would do this with the city inspector present so that he can see proof that a leak exists (if you see a pressure drop) under the ground he was driving his heavy equipment over...then hand him a shovel.

      To further isolate the leak, find about the middle of the run, and dig down there...cut the pipe, thread the ends, and test each section separately the same way....then dig one way or the other.

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      • #18
        Talk with the city engineer. My guess is they will just put in another water line across the work area for you and be done with it.

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        • #19
          The air spade itself isn't so expensive, but that [email protected] compressor needed to run it might be. I think I'll stick with a shovel, a water hose, and post hole diggers, IF I end up having to run some new line.

          I'll start well clear of where the utility lines are marked, dig a hole deep enough to be under them, then wash the dirt down into the hole as I advance. I'll stop long enough to let the mud dry to where I can remove it with the post hole diggers, then go some more.

          One complicating factor is that there are several abandoned lines running in the same area, and I won't be able to tell the difference. I'll have to be very careful until I'm well clear of the marks.

          Sometime this weekend, I'll probably dig around the valve box where the line drops into the trench. That's the most likely spot for the leak. They were also running the heavy equipment over the water line on their side of the meter box, which could have disturbed the joints going down on my side. Hopefully, I'll find the leak there, fix it, and that'll be the end of it.
          Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Black Forest
            If you use water it will damage the roots and possibly wires and plastic pipe.

            We also used water if the digging was hard but not when we had to worry about damaging something. Also we used venturi type vacuums to suck the dirt and water out of the hole or trench. This was normally used in oilfield work though and not any residential work. We didn't have to worry about anyone's lawn or windows!

            Around here everything is hard The water is used judicously... and doesn't affect the other utilities; most of the digging is the with the vacuum. It must depend on the area - I've not seem an airspade here, but many large vacuum systems. Mess? - almost nothing.


            Winchman ; why are you putting water in the hole? What ground are you digging in - a sand dune ? A suggestion base on some experience - if you don't find it around the meter box (a very common place as the pipes rise on both sides) get wire or pipe tracer - following a pipe by digging along it is a brutally difficult way to find a leak! Divide and conquor...
            Last edited by lakeside53; 11-19-2011, 02:30 AM.

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            • #21
              I had one of these once. Quite a bugger to locate. What I did was 'pot hole' the line then stuck my head in each hole, found the two noisiest and dug between them. The ground was 100% dry above as it was ran over by a dump truck so the break was on the bottom. It sprayed a hole downward. In fact the dirt was dry above and to the side of the leak. You might need a stethoscope.
              Or just replace the suspect area, it might be far cheaper and way less frustrating.

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              • #22
                I had a similar problem a couple years ago. We don't have water meters here yet.
                It was early spring and a pool of water appeared on my lawn, it melted about 4" of snow and made a
                large green spot that was very saturated.

                I called the city works and they sent a worker to check it out.
                He got me to shut off the main water valve in my house and took an electronic stethoscope
                and listened to the water shut off valve in my lawn. We could both hear the water leaking.
                He then shut off the water at the outside valve and the hissing sound stopped.
                He then informed me that the leak was on my side of the valve and left.
                I hired a guy with a mini excavator and dug up the lawn to find the leak 6" from the outside water valve.
                The water line was 9' down and what a sloppy mess to work in.

                If the problem started after the city drove heavy equipment several times over your property then maybe they will help as
                they should. They likely have people with experience at dealing with under ground leaks.

                You could try shutting off the main water valve in the house and driving a steel rod into the ground at various
                spots along the water line and listen to with a stethoscope and might be able to hear the leak and save a lot of digging.

                Good Luck!
                Terry

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