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First nightmare job of the year

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Keith, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Ironically, it was the first one of last year too. I had a customer call last March with a few problems. A couple cracked lines from tree roots. A few dead rotors, and a dead Lawn Genie indoor controller on the outside of the house. The previous homeowner had done all the work himself :rolleyes: He had wired an outlet and stuffed it in the Lawn Genie controller. I still have it, I'll take a picture of this jewel.

    Right away it was the first time I had ever run across the "community well." The homes all have city water, but the irrigation is served by it's own connection to a centrally located well in the neighborhood. That in itself is a bit unusual around here. When we made these repairs I got my first taste of it. The HOA controls the well. From November or so, until April you can water just one day per week. The system is usable from 12am-10am and again from 4pm-11:59pm...on Saturday! So if someone doing repairs needs the water to be on, you've got about 3 hours in the morning and roughly 2 hours in the evening to do it. Did I mention, it's on only on a Saturday? :dizzy: Luckily it comes back on two days per week, same schedule, in April. So now if you have an opening on Wednesday between 0600-1000 or 1600-1800, you're in luck.

    But here is where this job turns into a nightmare. The homeowner/installer cut corners on head placement. He also found the need to plant a tree right next to the meter. Yes, the community water has it's own meter. This little oak tree is now a behemoth. The meter is literally right at the base of the tree. You wanna take a stab at where the mainline is?

    I have had to make several trips to observe other's systems in the neighborhood to finally come to the conclusion that when the well is working properly, you probably have enough volume to run five rotors, provided none are nozzled for 360 degrees. She has no where near that. And it's worse than last year. As near as I can tell, the giant oak is crushing the mainline.

    The other part of this is she is a single mother in here late-20's that relies on her parents for a lot. But I don't think she begs for money. Her parents are good customers and have thrown business our way. And I am sure her dada would just say "do whatever it takes." She tries to know a little about things, but I can't seem to get it through to her what exactly is happening and what the fix is. Last year she scoffed at the idea of what the problem was. I left her with what she wanted fixed and I guess she called another guy to come take a look. His solution, with the worst zone, was to replace all the spray heads on a narrow strip with Orbit mini-rotors, making it even worse. She got lucky and we got a fair amount of rain for about 8 months.

    She called me back the other day telling me her lawn was cooking with no real rain in well over a month. You try to block out all these bad jobs, but it I remembered it very well after seeing the mini rotors throwing out a 5 foot stream of water. I had to go through the whole thing again. She insisted it worked fine all last summer. No sweetheart, the rain worked fine all last summer :laugh:

    So I'm stuck with this PIA. I really look forward to challenges, but this goes beyond that. I'm going to crack a line at the manifold and see what's there, but I already know the answer. I am going to get to fight this meter and oak tree. Oh yeah. And the cable and telephone wire hub right next to it. The tree claimed the phone line last year :drinkup:

    meter tree.jpg
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    You're really in a jam. Without a proper supply of water for the system it just won't work well. I have systems that were at 65' spacings originally on their own well that worked great 30 years ago but barely reach 50' now. As the well's performance went down so too did the system's performance. And there is no easy fix for this.

    Personally I'd have the oak tree removed since it's already caused damage to the phone line and might eventually take everything else out.
  3. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    BTW... Thanks for sharing the picture. It's always easier to see what someone is talking about when there are pictures. :clapping:

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