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Tool Talk Discussion Board

Re: Water Line Run Question

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Posted by david - OR on September 10, 2012 at 09:04:06 from (

In Reply to: Water Line Run Question posted by Kerwin on September 07, 2012 at 13:13:52:

Don't use big-box-store 3/4 poly line. Learn from my own experience.

I have a second farm 75 miles away. It is served by a community water system with a main shut off out in the field. Last winter, a few weeks after my tenant moved out, I got a call from the water company saying they'd shut off the water to the property because I had a bad leak.

I finally got around to fixing it a couple weeks ago. After making the drive up there I manage to find the leak, but it was too late in the day to repair it.

I shut the water back off, and returned a week later. Dug a deep enough hole around the leak to find it was 1/4 inch hole in a plastic coupling in a 3/4 inch black poly line running off towards a distant (unused) stock tank. It looked like results of a previous repair.

Went to the local hardware store and bought a shutoff valve and some galvanized couplers. When attempting to reconnect the line I found the old plastic had gotten stiff and developed a "set" and it was difficult to get the outbound coupling to not leak. But I was able to get the valve to cut the water off, and I was satisfied with that. I turned the water back on to the house.

Worked on another project for a while, came back to the leak to collect my tools, and found a large puddle in the field, 10 feet away from my repair. It was another leak, not related to my fix.

Too late in the day to deal with it, and too hard to find the exact source with a shovel.
I sent my buddy up there with his mini excavator to scrape the grass away and try to narrow down the source of the leak.

Eventually, he found the leak was in a different 3/4 black poly line running to another stock tank. He plugged the line by folding it over and clamping it (in his experience this works better than anything else for closing off such lines).

After 3 trips and a couple hundred dollars I finally have the leaks fixed and the water back on to the house. I've abandoned the lines to the stock tanks -- when I sell the place a future owner can fix them if he wants to.

Now this is in silty soil without any rocks. The lines were about two feet down in an area where the ground doesn't freeze. I don't know what caused the leaks -- maybe mechanical damage from tractors on waterlogged soil? But I will never use such plastic line in any future project.

I did use 1.5 inch heavy wall poly pipe for the main line from my well to my house, and that's held up fine for 10 years. But I'm not sure I'd do it again.

I've used Wirsbo Pex for hydrants, and that holds up and gives a flexible connection that can move as the hydrant is operated.

One thing I've also learned from all this is to always add shut off valves to branch lines, especially to such non-essential things as hydrants and stock tanks. That way your whole system isn't down because of a leak to something you don't need anyway.


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