I need to dig a 75' trench for an electrical conduit. Planning to rent a
ditch witch. What's the secret to locating and avoiding irrigation
pipes? Or do you just plan to chew through a few of them and fix them
Fair warning: I will not dignify suggestions of divination with a reply.
Knowing where the source is, the control valves, the heads,
you can guess where they are likely to be. You could also
take a somewhat longer route that may increase the chances of missing
them. But in the end, you do what you
gotta do and fix the ones that you hit.
That's my thought too.
If the irrigation pipe is metal, a metal detector should work to map
I don't know if he's talking lawn sprinklers or what.
For that I would expect a grid pattern from sprinkler head to
sprinkler head, but I'm just guessing.
75' feet isn't much.
Non metallic stuff like irrigation lines will be quite difficult to
locate. The only way I can think of is to rent a locator transmitter and
receiver set from United Rentals or whoever, and in order to make it
work, get a steel fish tape, disconnect the irrigation lines at the
valve bank and push the fish tape down them with the transmitter clamped
around the fish tape at the valve location. Considering the relative
ease and low cost of repairing a severed irrigation line I'd be inclined
to just chew through them and be done with it.
*If you have not already done so, call 811 and ask for a markdown of the
property. Those guys have fabulous detectors. When they are there ask
them, with some green in your hand, if they wouldn't mind making an attempt
to locate the irrigation pipes in your planned route.
My father would swear that divining rods work.
Fascinating reading. Thanks. From a claim by a Yo-yo dowser:
<the ideo-motor reflex is the same thing that makes dowsers believe that
they are actually divining. Although you BELIEVE that you are not
influencing the movement of the yo-yo, you actually ARE, though you are
entirely unconscious of it. The only way to prove that you are not
physically influencing the yo-yo, would be for you to NOT hold the yo-yo
There are an awful lot of loons out there. I suppose that's what a million
dollar prize does: flush them from cover.
If the irrigation lines are the typical vibratory plow installed poly
pipe, there is no metal for the locators to work on. Those locators use
a clamp on inductive signal transmitter to inject a signal into wires,
metal conduit, etc. for the locator to pickup. See my other post for the
idea of pushing a steel fish tape through the irrigation pipe from the
valve bank end to provide a locatable piece of metal in the tubing.
*I was thinking of something like this:
or this: http://www.pollardwater.com/pages_product/P83320locator.asp
Or he could call a company like this:
This company offers a non-metallic pipe locator:
For those who want bragging rights there is radar:
Irrigation pipes usually don't have electrical conduit elbows that have a
nice sweep for pulling wires and pushing fish tapes. The hard 90's used for
water are almost impossible to get a fish tape through. Maybe the soft
metal spring type of fish tape may pass through, but those types of fish
tapes are difficult to push any distance.
Interesting. The irrigation pipes I see most are continuous flexible
poly pipe installed with a vibratory plow and thus have very few
That's what I ended up doing. It was cheaper to fix the irrigation system
than to delay the propane company. They chewed through two lines (running
together) and hit a head. They offered to have it fixed. It only cost me
something like $20 and an hour to fix the whole thing so I didn't bother
sending them the bill.
Thanks to all for feedback and suggestions. I'll call before I dig, but
other than using some logic about where the sprinkler pipes might be,
I'll just assume that I'll end up breaking a couple of them. Didn't know
that non-metallic pipes could be located, so that's good info for
another project, but probably not worth the trouble for this one.
If you are that worried about damaging them and having
to repair them, you could dig them up by starting near
a sprinkler head close to where you want to trench and
see which direction the irrigation lines are running in...
For 20 dollars you can get a device that adds Plutoinium 238 to your
irrigatiion water. Then mount a geiger counter on the ditch witch and
you're good to go.
Wait, I googled and the Plutonium costs $500. Forget it .
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