Broken pipe, water flooding out, please help

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Armadillolawncare, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    I need some assistance please. I was mowing a yard today when I noticed water streaming out of the ground. At first I thought I must have run over a sprinkler head and chopped it off with the mower but upon closer inspection I saw that the water was coming up and out of a round valve cover box. Keep in mind that outside of replacing a sprinkler head or programming a timer I have never done anything with irrigation systems. I removed the round cover but couldn't see into the valve box because the water filling the box was all muddy and brown. I reached in and could feel what felt like water coming out of a break in the PVC pipe at the bottom of the valve cover box. I called an acquaintance that does irrigation installs to find out how to shut off the water. He told me to go out by the street where the water meter is located and there should be a rectangular box with a handle to turn to shut the water to the system off. If I couldn't find that I should look for a back flow valve with two handles, which would also shut the water off. Near the water meter I found one round valve box with a spigot handle in it which I turned and that shut the water off to the broken pipe. After much searching I could not find any back flow valve either above ground near the house or below ground in a square valve box. I know it is the law to install these backflow valves. Now when the property owner gets home she calls me because she has no water. This leads me to my questions.
    1. The only thing I can figure about the broken pipe is I ran over the valve cover box and it got pushed down into the PVC pipe, which caused it to break, is this possible or likely? Should the valve box be able to get pushed into the pipe and broken?
    2. I am beginning to suspect that the installer did not put in the backflow valve. Is there a way I can find out for sure?
    3. Should the water shut off for the irrigation also shut off the water to the house? Right now the only way the water to the house works is if I turn the irrigation water back on.
    3. This system was installed less then a year ago and is still under warranty. Would you think that this broken pipe would be covered?
    I am meeting with the installer in the morning and I am beginning to think that he may have done a shoddy install job but I just don't know enough about irrigation systems to know for sure. If it is my fault for the water leak I'll get it fixed but if it is due to poor installation I want him to fix it. Any help you guys can give me will be appreciated.
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Quite possible, especially if the box was either not notched out for the piping or inadequately notched. Couple this with the possibility that a leak could have already existed there and the ground softened up and this scenario is very likely. This could be the result of shoddy installation. Too many things can go wrong with a system and it's hard to guess.

    If you're unsure how to track or know the difference between irrigation components then I'd suggest getting someone in the irrigation field to look at the system.

    No. Without seeing exactly what you have it's hard to guess what's going on.

    Depends on how long the original installer warrantied his work for. If you're sure that the warranty is still good it seems to me that it most likely would be covered. I'd make sure that you're there when he digs it up and TAKE PICTURES! That way the extent of what actually occurred can be documented.

    TAKE PICTURES! :laugh:
  3. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    Thank you for your help. I will take pics. If anyone else wants to chime in please feel free.
  4. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,267

    Is your camera like your amex card, never leave home with out it?:laugh:
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Absolutely, positively. :)

    I take all sorts of pictures. The wife has framed a couple of them and will be entering them in a local digital photo contest.
  6. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Fault could go either way. If there is no backflow or seperate shut off, I would blame the installer no matter what. Make him fix it or turn him in for improper installations. Make sure the homeowner understands the missing components are required by law. Texas is one of the few places I have any experience with that has any teeth in their irrigation licensing and backflow. It sounds like boots is in an area that does too. If your in doubt or just want to make sure your customer is taken care of, open the yellow book and find a licensed contrator with a reputation you can confirm. Give them a call. Many Licensed TX Irrigators would make the initial trip out to meet with you just to nail the guy who is not following code.
  7. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    Someone came out this AM and located the backflow device. It was in a box buried under about 2 inches of dirt. I assume it was the installer who uncovered it but he left without repairing anything. I went ahead and dug up the the problem area. I would like to just go ahead and repair it myself. As you can see from the photo the pvc pipe broke right where it enters the valve. Is there a way to get the broken PVC pipe out of the valve so I can replace just the broken PVC pipe or will I have to cut off all pipes leading to the valve and then reconnect a new valve?

    2634 White Wing broken pipe (1).jpg
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,371

    Nope. That's a slip valve. and you just cut a new one into place, with the aid of a Sch 80 union, or a slip-fix fitting on the downstream side.
  9. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    I assume the downstream side is the side the arrow is pointing to?
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,371

    That arrow ain't for pointing to Mecca

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