Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Locating a well water line ?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    353
    Rep Power
    24

    Default Locating a well water line ?

    I know approximately where my water line is to my well (I dug and laid it..and that comes with a funny story about me in the backhoe trying to pull out this big 'rock' that was actually the outrigger on the hoe..but I digress..).

    I only locate tel, so Im not sure of the tricks for plastic water lines.. or is it possible even ? Ive seen the city S&W guy working with rods, and he told me 'how else do ya locate plastic lines'.

    Since its a conductive water 'tube' (ie, the water itself), cant ya just inductive clamp around the water pipe somewhere (entry point in house) ??

    Ok.. Im ready for the silly comments about putting one line in the toilet and the other to the house ground.. lol
    (May you live in interesting times)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    4,436
    Years of Experience
    20
    Rep Power
    190

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Dave - Look what I found:


    Things I have done:

    Spot the obvious trench line from meter to house.

    Many times the grass is different color and/or type following the trench meter to house.

    Witch it.

    --------------------------------------------------------

  3. #3
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,311
    Years of Experience
    20
    Rep Power
    102

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    The only time I have marked a plastic water service is when a plumber has had one fail and is trying to pull it out and it has a bend and will not pull. Since there is a metal pulling cable inserted in the old plastic pipe I hook up to this and find where the pipe either bends or the depth takes a sudden change. At the bend they just dig it up which clears the dirt from around it and pull it out and the new one in. I have done this as a favor as it allows the plumber to quickly get the job done and save the homeowner at least a thousand dollars in extra digging costs. This is great contractor relations, they remember the big favor you did them.


    So without buying GPR or new locate equipment get an electrician's "tape" which is a long narrow metal tape on a large spool, they come in various lengths. The tape is somewhat flexible and the metal is thick enough that it has the strength to pull electric wire into duct lines or void spaces inside walls.

    Open the water line at your house and snake the tape into the line as far as it will go. Hook up your transmitter to the tape and then follow the line like any TV, phone or electric line.


    If you get a poor signal open the water line at the well and let the tape come outside the pipe. Then ground the tape with a jumper to a driven ground rod. Should work fine. I have used these tapes on empty duct lines, works fine most of the time.

    That other recommendation to follow the trench was also good. Even if you cannot see the trench your feet will feel the slight depression in the ground. Just walk with your feet sliding lightly across the surface and when you hit the trench your feel will feel the slight depression even if your eyes cannot see it. I have done this on countless utility trench lines even ones that were installed 20 years ago.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Doc Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    22
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Hi Dave,

    Before you go opening your water line (which could contaminate the water supply ... ) there are a few other resources.

    When you dug the trench, did you place an electrical line for a pump with the water? If so, you can pretty much just direct connect on to the well head outside and carry that signal to the house. You could also clamp on to the electric line.
    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    328
    Years of Experience
    14
    Rep Power
    22

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave72 View Post
    I know approximately where my water line is to my well (I dug and laid it..and that comes with a funny story about me in the backhoe trying to pull out this big 'rock' that was actually the outrigger on the hoe..but I digress..).

    I only locate tel, so Im not sure of the tricks for plastic water lines.. or is it possible even ? Ive seen the city S&W guy working with rods, and he told me 'how else do ya locate plastic lines'.

    Since its a conductive water 'tube' (ie, the water itself), cant ya just inductive clamp around the water pipe somewhere (entry point in house) ??

    Ok.. Im ready for the silly comments about putting one line in the toilet and the other to the house ground.. lol
    Plain old h2o is a poor conductor. You could potentialy locate the h2o if you added salts or citric acid. You'd also need to have something grounding out the liquid, or the circuit needed would be fully insulated and unable to carry a signal.
    Talked about this with our h2o dept with our AC h2o lines.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Try witching it!

  7. #7
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,311
    Years of Experience
    20
    Rep Power
    102

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Brown View Post
    Hi Dave,

    Before you go opening your water line (which could contaminate the water supply ... ) there are a few other resources.

    When you dug the trench, did you place an electrical line for a pump with the water? If so, you can pretty much just direct connect on to the well head outside and carry that signal to the house. You could also clamp on to the electric line.
    Good luck!
    Dang, I would forget my head it it wasn't attached. Yes, if you put in a new electric to the pump with the plastic water line just trace that.

    As for contamination do what the water companies do when there is a break. After repairs let the water run and flush out the line.

    Oh, the correct name for that electricians tape is 'fish tape' as it is used to 'fish' a new line in.

    Just do not use anything that has previously been pushed down a sewer line, that is real bad contamination.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    over yonder
    Posts
    73
    Rep Power
    11

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Ive found that you can connect to your meter, without unbonding anything, go to your well and walk around it to see if you get signal. Most of the time I have found signal from the electrical lines running with the pipe...I have done this also from a city water meter and I dont think they run electrical wire with that line but I was able to trace out the water line to the house...strange as to how that works but it does at times.

  9. #9
    Mke
    Mke is offline
    Senior Member Mke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Republic of Washington
    Posts
    1,536
    Years of Experience
    16
    Blog Entries
    34
    Rep Power
    77

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    if its just a PVC water line, the chance of locating it is .......0%.

    If there is electrical running the well head you should be able to pick it up, but since you are the one who installed the line, you'll know if there is electrical with it.

    I have seen a piece of equipment that would attatch to the water line inside the house, or the well, and it would "tap" on the pipe, and with an acoustic ear you would follow the sound and roughly mark where the sound was coming from. The draw back is and ambiant noise that you may or may not be able to filter through.

    best bet is a big vat of wolfsbane, pickled newt, scale from the chupracabra. Dip a couple of copper rods in that, and walk accross the trench... it never fails.

    mke

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    353
    Rep Power
    24

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    Thanks guys for all the replies.

    The pump is in the house, so no wire going out there (I shoulda laid a tel wire in with it..). I guess fish tape would be the easy tool to use if/when I do have to locate it.
    A GPR would be nice, it would probably pick out the sand-filled "slot" dug thru the clay really easy.. might even see the water line itself (pretty small plastic though.. 1.75" I think ?) But alas, no GPR in our outfit.
    @headcipher: we do have a reasonable amount of iron in the water.. 3 gpg (or was it ppm.. I forget.. I have to add 15 to the 'hardness' on the softener to allow for it anyhow)..

    Maybe I should try witching.. never did give it a serious go. The original installer of this well landed it right on a spring, and I would imagine it was witched back then (1977)..
    (May you live in interesting times)

  11. #11
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    3,910
    Years of Experience
    15
    Rep Power
    167

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    if the line from the house is at least 50 ft or so it should be easy to witch it.......#1 the water needs to be running or moving so you can witch it effectively if it is still it will not give a signal to you. if there are a bunch of other utilities in that area then i say give up all together......because witching will turn the rod all different ways and you will not understand what you're picking up..... a really short distance does not work so well in witching.....
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  12. #12
    Junior Member locatedude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12
    Rep Power
    9

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    I see you do not have a electrical line running with the PVC waterline. One point I did not see mentioned was, when locating a well head electrical line, make sure the well is active by having someone turn on the water before you try to locate it..just a suggestion.. As far as witching.. it can be done..Another thought is, look for a difference in the ground cover.. different shade of grass.. or sunken ground.. you know how a trench looks after time.. this may give you a indication of location, then witch out the line. Water doesn't have to be in the line.. the witching picks up the electromagnetic disturbance in the ground and will hit on the edges of excavation as well as the PVC waterline. So you should get 3 bumps..center being the waterline. Good luck!

  13. #13
    Senior Member 1idejim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    state of Jefferson
    Posts
    181
    Years of Experience
    lifetime
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Locating a well water line ?

    i know this is over a month old but here's my 2 cents, most domestic wells [regardless of pump type] have a union connection at the pressure tank.

    there should also be a shut off [backflow preventer or pressure installed with unions for repair or replacement] where access can also be gained at the house, with these areas opened you can suck a pull line with a shop vac, attach a wire [i normaly use a plastic coated aircraft cable, 1/8" i think] and locate the pipe that way. pro loc is right about contamination extreme caution has to be used to prevent contamination which could lead to illness or death

    later this week i'm doing a rural water locate for a future project, the line located runs from the well with access through hose bibbs, i will post pics
    You Can't Fix It Till You Find It - Jim 3:23

  14. #14
    Senior Member 1idejim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    state of Jefferson
    Posts
    181
    Years of Experience
    lifetime
    Rep Power
    15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by locatedude View Post
    I see you do not have a electrical line running with the PVC waterline. One point I did not see mentioned was, when locating a well head electrical line, make sure the well is active by having someone turn on the water before you try to locate it..just a suggestion.. As far as witching.. it can be done..Another thought is, look for a difference in the ground cover.. different shade of grass.. or sunken ground.. you know how a trench looks after time.. this may give you a indication of location, then witch out the line. Water doesn't have to be in the line.. the witching picks up the electromagnetic disturbance in the ground and will hit on the edges of excavation as well as the PVC waterline. So you should get 3 bumps..center being the waterline. Good luck!
    i've found this not to be completely true, i witch conduit and leach field lines without water in them on a regular basis. i understand that you're actually picking up a magnetic dissruption in the ground.

    locatedude, i have to apoligize for stepping on your posti had just replied to a similar post in another forumit won't happen again i promise
    Last edited by 1idejim; February 8th, 2010 at 04:13 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •