Toro Super 600 questions

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by BRL, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    I'm not an irrigation contractor so forgive my ignorance here. If an irrigation system is properly winterized, there shouldn't be water in the pipes correct? I have a plow customer that I don't maintain the lawns\landscaping. We are having some major water issues at the site that are creating lots of ice in the parking lot. I assumed it was due to the heavy snow pack, then heavy rains after our recent 20" storm. However, the problems are persisting in areas where the snow pack has completely melted away. So on a whim I unscrewed a couple of the sprinkler heads to see what was doing. There was water in the pipes. The pipes are only buried about 4"-6" down & run along the curb lines, so they definitely felt the affects of freeze\thaw issues from the rough, cold winter we are having. I suspect that there are breaks in this pipe, since I found standing water in the pipes. But I didn't think there should be water in those pipes. My thoughts were, that if there was water in those pipes, shouldn't it be under some pressure? Or, if there are breaks in the pipe closer to the water source, maybe there wouldn't be pressure still at the sprinkler heads I checked? All of the soils in our area are fully saturated at this point, but this site has almost running water in these trouble spots, so I suspect there is something more going on. And the problems seem to run along the curb lines on 2 sides of one of the parking lots. Any chance that it could be the sprinkler system leaking? This system hasn't been used for the past few years, low maintenance lawn commercial site.
  2. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Water in the pipes you are looking at will not be under pressure unless the controller tells the valves to turn on, which activates the sprinkler head.
    Most Irrigation systems run in the early morning, 3 or 4 :00..
    Could it be that the system is running in the early AM, no one sees it and it's freezing on the parking lot?

    I would locate the controller and see if it's turned on.
    Next, I would locate the backflow preventer, In an apartment it's usually housed in a large steel box, somewhat close to the street... The box is most likley locked though.

    Yes, a majority if not all of the water should be out of the pipes if the system is properly winterized.

    If the above does not work, grab a sleeping bag and a few cases of your favorite beverage and hang out for a week or so and see of water starts to spray out of the heads.

    Good luck, let us know how it all turns out!
  3. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    In the winter of '93-'94 we had lots of frozen pipe on properly winterized systems that year. When I say lots I'm meaning 3ft here 5 ft there, 15-20ft on occasion, not all jobs. We also had the first elbow under the head on swing joints break or heads literally ripped off the threads of the elbow. It was a cold winter like this, ground froze deep with no snow cover, followed by snow, rain and freezing rain. Snow dams along drives, walks and curbs held water back. Frozen soil didn't allow penetration. Water leaked into heads and pipes from the top exposure and down into the pipes. Since the ground was frozen the water froze too and broke the pipe.

    If this system was still on, a major leak leak from a pressurized main would have manifested itself a while ago.

    Your water is most likely surface drainage because of an ever so slight slope or depression, saturated soil and potentially still frozen sub surface soil. Although creating liability issues, most likely the only solution is regular use of de-icer.
  4. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Thanks guys. I dug up a little of the pipe to see if there was any obvious damage. Didn't see any, but like Harold mentions, there surely will be after this winter. There was plenty of sharp rocks, pieces of wood, etc. to poke the pipes during the hard freezes we've been having, just in the 4 or 5 feet I exposed, especially since it was only 3-6" deep. This irrigation system has not been used for at least the past 5 or 6 years since I've been taking care of near by properties lawns & landscapes. Another contractor takes care of the lawns & landscaping. So now I'm thinking maybe the water I saw when taking the head off was leaking INTO the pipes as Harold mentioned is possible. This is a multi tenant warehouse\office type facility & the lawns are low maintenance. The water that is getting onto & into (it's bubbling up through cracks in places) the parking lot is creating sections with 2-3 inches of ice at times. Frankly I've got to get my green biz started up & can't take going to that site to salt & plow those sections every morning it drops below 32, at 3:30 AM for a shift that starts then, & then return around 6-7AM for the people starting at other sections. I'm tired of this even though it's been a nice steady stream of money between all of the other saltings & plowings this season. Some of the areas it's happening do not have any more snow pack thawing & creating excess water, so that's why I thought maybe there was water coming from the irrigation system possibly, since those pipes run along these curbs, which is where this water is bubbling up. Oh well, a mystery for another day maybe. Doesn't seem like the soil will unsaturate as we are in a pattern of rain\snow system after system rolling into here. Thanks for helping me understand the irrigation questions.
  5. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Harold is right on. Certain winters, we have seen the same thing happen where water runs into the heads from above. The newer rotors don't seem to take on water as readily as the old impact heads did, but it happens. Up here we use mostly poly pipe, so it isn't always a big problem if a little water gets into the pipes.

    The other things we see is that a lot of plumbers like to use gate valves rather than ball valves for the main shut off to save a little money. Gate valves often fail in such a way that they allow seepage. Valve is shut off, but over the course of weeks, enough water seeps through to fill the outside piping and eventually damage.

    Austreim Landscaping

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