I just discovered a leak in my water service lateral between the meter
and the shut-0ff valve where the pipe enters the house. It looks like
the buried pipe makes a straight shot from the meter to the valve, as
the leak is right where you'd expect if so. It'sa fair-sized leak
too, probably 1 or 1.5 gallons per minute.
BUT, the soil around the leak is saturated with water, and the holes
I've dug to expose the pipe are full of muddy water with nowhere to
drain. I can't find the pipe or be exactly sure where the leak is.
I've called some plumbers but none are immediately available. Is
there anyway to find the pipe and leak aside from digging up the whole
Thanks a heap,
A pump is really, really useful. Ideally a "trash pump", but with some
screaning you could fake it with a sump pump. (make sure you have a gfci
somewhere in the circuit).
Rent a pump if you don't have or want to buy one.
Once you find the leak, you most likely will have to shut off the
water to repair it.
A hand bilge pump would work, if the water is shut off. A local
boat/marine store or even a hardware would have one.
They work great in landscape boxes if a break floods them.
You can find (search) - Building Hand Bilge Pumps.
That happened to an old neighbor of mine, but the break was under the
basement slab and it was a finished basement. The cheapest solution
was to install a whole new service drop parallel to the old one and
just leave the old one in the ground unused.
If there is truly that much water flowing the pipe should be easy to
locate. Just take a 2x4
or a rod and poke into the soggiest area. I'd sure turn off the water
at the meter. If nothing
can be used to locate the pipe, having the water shut off would allow
water to drain away and
make digging easier. The amount of water will soon cost more than a
That would take a lot. I had a full break on a 3/4" line from my meter
that dumped 12,000 gallons overnight before I found it, and that only
cost like $60 extra. I doubt you'd get a plumber to show up for $60,
much less do anything.
I've always lived where public water supply was relatively expensive.
Here is one example:
* *TOILET* with chain under flapper
o 1.6 gallons per minute
o 96 gallons per hr (.13 units)
o 2,304 gallons per day (3.08 units)
o *69,120 gallons per month (92.4 units*)*
o *Total cost - $414.12 per month!*
Presently, my city charges roughly $5 per thousand gallons for potable
water. At the rate
the OP thought was leaking, it comes out to $10 per day, $300 per
month. Since that is
money totally wasted, calling a plumber quickly changes from "last
resort" to a good idea.
I don't have money to waste, but locating the problem quickly is
primary, not only for cost
but to prevent damage. Smashing one square of a sidewalk also starts to
sound like a
good idea, based on the fact that OP thinks the leak might be there. If
the soil beneath it
is scoured out, it could cave at some inopportune time. I'm the worrier
in our household,
but I've kept my husband from killing himself at least three times.
"Honey, what's that smell?"
"I don't smell anything." Five minutes later the car stalls -
overheated. "Honey, what's that
noise?" "I don't hear anything." He was cranking the line for main
sail on the sailboat,
strong enough to either break the line or demast the boat. The line had
snagged and he
wasn't pulling the sail up, he was pulling the mast and the sound was
the mast creaking
. "Honey, why does the car make that thumping noise?" "What noise?"
Tire bulging and ready to blow. He still drives like he
has a flashing blue light on top of the car, but hasn't had one for a
long time :o)
I finally got a plumber and the guy from the sity to look at it. The
plumber said "We'll start digging at our full hourly rate, and once we
find the leak we'll give you a repair estimate and roll the cost of
digging into it." Whilke I was out bying repair supplies, the guy
from the city brought out a "hog pump" (hand-operated pump and
dewaterd the hole. And then watched it fill back up. "Yup, you got a
leak in the service lateral".
So I took out a landscaping railroad tie and finally exposed the PVC
pipe at the point adjacent to the leak. No break or obvious leak, it
looks to be in fine shape. But I can still see water roiling up from
the base of the hole. I'm guessing the leak is up towards the
shut-off valve, under the sidewalk.
Could be a crack on the bottom side of the pipe. If the water was shut
off, the hole pumped out,
and then the water turned back on it seems the leak location would be
Hubby and I once spent a full day repairing the broken main supply line
for reclaimed water on our condo
irrigation system. Hubby digging, me running to Home Depot. This was a
good deal deeper than
the lines to the sprinkler heads, and pretty rough work for hubby. At
the end of the day, we laid
our tired heads on our pillows, windows open and a glorious Florida
breeze blowing in. Not two
minutes after getting into bed, the pipe connection let go and was
shooting water through our open window!
Keep yer windows closed :o)
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