It seems like every year I end up digging up a leak. I keep hoping that we will be able to go one year without an issue, but so far I don’t think that has happened. After the electrician replaced the burned up pump controller the pressure would only go to 58#. It is supposed to go up to 60# and then stop the pump and not restart until the pressure drops to 40#. Well it could not get to the max pressure while the pump was running continuously. Both Annmarie and I suspected the wet/green patch we noticed last year down by the irrigation ditch but it had never surfaced. Well on Thursday my mother-in-law and nephew found water coming out of the bank and ground by the suspicious spot. I tried to take a shower Friday morning and had to give up as the pressure was down to spitting pressure. I went in to town to buy supplies. Since the pipe was above the water level in the ditch we decided that some form of conduit was needed to protect the pipe. We had flooding the previous year and it strained the pipe and caused it to have a slight bow across the water.
I decided that running a larger piece of pipe over the smaller pipe and then anchoring it at both ends with poured concrete blocks would work. I went around town and got all the parts needed to patch the pipe, create a conduit sleeve, create concrete forms and pour concrete. I got home by 1130, put on my chest waders (best thing ever to wear when digging up leaks) and went out to do battle with the leak. I decided to bring the tractor down and see if I could use it to at least dig up the weeds and organic matter. Luckily for me I was able to dig down almost two feet with the tractor because I ended up digging 16 foot trench! I needed to dig all the way to the ditch so I could slide the conduit over the pipe and build the concrete forms. It was still only about two hours of hand digging. I kept the pump on the entire time. This let me wash the loose dirt down into the irrigation ditch. Turns out the pipe just split. It is thin walled pipe and has been plaguing us since they put it in. It should of been thick walled schedule 80 pipe. At this rate we have resigned ourselves to redoing it eventually using rolled thick walled black ABS pipe and having a single continuous piece with no glued joints. It usually breaks at a joint but not this time, it just split. I cut out a 10 foot section and was able to slip a 7 foot piece of 3” black ABS plastic over the water pipe.
I built two concrete forms and then anchored them so they would not spread when I filled them with concrete. I just kept mixing the Sakcrete 60# at a time and put 240# in each form. They are dug into the hillside so only one side will be exposed to the running water. It was supposed to freeze so I covered each form with old rugs to allow them to retain some heat, freezing is bad for the concrete.
I left the hole unfilled as I wanted the dirt to dry out a little bit. I cannot get in close with the tractor as I kept sinking into the ground. It rained today so I am not sure how well my plan is going to work. I did throw a two inch layer of dirt over the entire pipe before leaving. I wanted some weight on the pipe and some freeze protection. I had the box blade on the tractor and could not get back across the ditch. Got stuck twice and eventually had to unhook the box blade, cross the ditch and then reach back over the ditch and yank the box blade across with a chain. I will have to put the dirt back with only the front blade. I did go back and verify that the fix did not leak and the pump does go to 60# now. I took the best shower I have had in 10 months this morning!
It was a beautiful day and my new glasses also noticed the sun was shining. I spent the next 36 hours sick after doing this repair. I caught the plague from the wife, she says I need to do Yoga more! I had night chills both nights so I am going with the plague as the cause of my headache, yuckiness and general miserable feeling, not the physical exertion of digging out a 16 foot ditch.