Mud hole in lawn

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Uranus, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Hey guys I need a little help. I used to mow this house for another mowing company and it seemed there was one spot that seemed to get a little softer each week until there was a 15x15 foot area that you couldn't drive a mower over. So we would just weedwacked it. Well now I'm on my own and got this same house as a weekly mowing account. Different owner. 2 weeks after new owner moves in the area seemed to be getting bigger. It went from say 15'x15' to 25'x40'. After 2 weeks of this I knock on the door and tell the wife. Knowing the history of the spot I'm thinking a leak in the irrigation line. They shut the system off and within 2 more weeks I'm able to mow the whole area again. Today I talked to the husband and he told me that he had his irrigation company come out and do a peruse test and they found no leak. That leaves it to me thinking its a small spring that formed in his front yard. It just doesn't make sense to me. He shuts the water off and now there is no soft spot at all. I'm thinking it has to be a leaky line. Anyone seen something like this before?
     
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Many, many times. First thing we do is turn the irrigation backflow off to see if it's ours or the domestic line. If it dries up then the main line or lateral line has a leak.

    I've never seen a spring dry up when the irrigation is shut down. And if they DO have a spring then why do they need irrigation??? :laugh:
     
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    When you say domestic line do you mean the main line for the house drinking water? How do you find a hole in a lateral or main irrigation line. If its that big of a spot it must get hard to find. Do you just abandon it and run a new line?
     
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Sorry... should of explained a little more. I work for a school district and am responsible for the irrigation systems. By domestic I mean anything that is potable; drinking, bathroom, food preparation, fire hydrant etc. District plumbers are responsible for those repairs. However, what I've described will also work for a residence since the domestic and irrigation water are supposed to be separate after a certain point.

    By turning off the irrigation supply only then you will determine which supply the leak is on. Next you turn the irrigation main line on but leave the stations off. If the leak appears then you have an irrigation main line leak and not a lateral line leak. If the wet spot doesn't appear after turning the main line back on then you don't have a main line leak and can suspect a lateral line leak that only feeds the wet spot when the station activates.

    If your wet area is large then you will have to possibly let it dry up a little before starting repair work. Turn the water back on and then start potholing, probing, using locator (controller wiring usually runs with the main line), etc. to see where it's coming from. Just remember that water travels and always seeks it's easiest relief point. Then, depending on what you actually find is causing the leak, you can make a plan of action as to repair method. Main lines should only be abandoned and rerouted in extreme cases, like rerouting around a tree that has grown large and you need to get around the root ball.
     
  5. Without A Drought

    Without A Drought LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,038

    we get alot of these. i have two suggestions. first, if you have a water meter, turn off the house water and check the meter. with the timer off, (and Master valve, if applicable, open). if it moves (the smaller needle), you have a leak somewhere in front of the zone valves. or you have a valve "weeping". check the zones relative to the area, if there's heads in the middle of the wet spot, or uphill of the wet spot, chances are that zone valve is failing to close completely. change the guts on valve, or if your not busy, the whole valve.

    Second, if there's no visible movement on the meter, or you don't have one, turn the water off and run compressed air through the system. a lot of times, the tiny leaks you have trouble seeing with water are easier to see with air. and the weeping valves sometimes will come on halfway, when you're running a different valve.


    On a side note, anyone ever realize how much of a pain it is to write out troubleshooting tips? Thank god i don't write manuals for a living.


    pg
     
  6. WetWell

    WetWell LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    You did the right thing in telling them about it, apparently they weren't concerned enough to find out if they really had a leak or not. When they have a lake in the backyard maybe they will put two and two together someday :laugh:
     
  7. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Yep... Hard to take years of experience and knowledge that we use when we're on a problem and translate it into words. We just show up and checklists start running through our heads based upon what we're presented with. :)

    Got so tired of seeing the same "How do I get started in irrigation" questions popping up (sometimes by three different questioners at the same time) that the "sticky" thread went up at the top of this forum so hopefully they'd look there first. :dizzy:
     
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,000

    I'm thinking that too many non-instructional posts in the sticky will destroy its usefulness.
     
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Prolly right. Too bad there wasn't a way for us to edit out the non-instructional posts and put them in their own thread. I know the mods can do it but it's not worth the effort to ask them.
     
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,000

    I know at some point, a good sticky can become a 'read only' thread, but it's probably too early to consider that. I'd want to edit my flowmeter post to include an explanation of the calibrating process.
     

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