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#481433 - 10/21/17 09:17 PM Cracked Valve Housing
bob_cville Offline


Registered: 10/21/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Central Virginia
Greetings. We bought a property earlier this year with a small but deep pond. (maybe 1/2 acre by 30 feet deep) The pond level has been steadily going down all summer. I assumed it was because we haven't had much rain in months, but the previous owner said it has never been this low in the 20 years she lived there because it is spring fed.

Just yesterday I may have figured out the cause. The pond drain line is a 3" PVC line that emerges in a small stream bed at the base of the dam. At the end of the line there is a 3" brass gate valve. The housing of the valve is cracked, probably from freezing, and water is steadily pouring out, I'd estimate around a gallon a minute.

As far as I am aware there is no valve at the top end of this line so there is no way to block this line to stop the water flow to remove and replace the valve.

Is there any way to plug and/or wrap this leak with any hope of success?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

-Bob


Edited by bob_cville (10/21/17 09:18 PM)

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#481435 - 10/21/17 09:24 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3749
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
It may not be cheap, but maybe a diver could block the top end of the pipe so the valve can be replaced. The valve should be located in a pit below the frost line.

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#481441 - 10/21/17 10:28 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: RAH]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
I agree with RAH. The only way to fix permanently is to stop the water from going into the pipe, replace the valve and remove the stoppage.
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#481448 - 10/22/17 12:41 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4221
Loc: SE Kansas
3" PVC cap on the pond side in the water.

Leave it that way.

If you ever need to drain the pond install a new valve on the outside and with the valve open run a piece of rebar through the open valve up the pipe and knock the cap off.

If you replace the valve now and let water against it, it likely will just freeze and bust some time again. By leaving the cap on the inside the pond the pipe can remain dry so will not freeze.

Like has been said, if the valve is replaced it should really either below the frost line or some other method to protect from freezing.

Ok, here is another possible way that everyone on the forum is going to scoff at me and I will probably loose all credibility from anyone who has ever turned a wrench. But it has worked for me in a pinch more than once.

I have seen my dad stop water leaks on pipes with 30psi before with this method. Get an old inner tube from a tire shop. Take scissors and cut it in one continuous strip about a half inch wide. Start wrapping the inner tube rubber strip tightly around the cracked area, stretching it as you go. Wrap several layers tightly. In the case of my dad, he used baling wire around the finished product to keep it in place. I go fancy and use a hose clamp. They actually make stretchy rubber tape to do this kind of repair in plumbing supply stores or probably big box hardware stores. The trick is the repair area has to be such that you can effectively stretch the rubber around tightly so one wrap seals the previous wrap.

I have seen these repairs on water lines last 5 years before being repaired permanently. I have temporarily repaired Diesel supply lines on engines and hydraulic return lines with this method. Not pretty, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get it done.
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#481449 - 10/22/17 01:40 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
gully washer Offline


Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 308
Loc: Texas
Iím assuming the valve connection is either threaded or a bolted flange. If you donít mind getting soaked with some really stank water, simply remove the valve and quickly replace it with another valve. Leaving the replacement valve open and letting the water run thru it while installing it will mitigate the water pressure against the valve. In this scenario, a flanged valve will be much easier to install than will a threaded valve, but both are doable. At full pool, the water pressure is probably no more than 10psi............. That's probably what I'd do, but then again, I'm about half crazy.

If it is a threaded valve, there is a possibility that removing the valve may reveal damaged threads on the PVC pipe, (this often happens when someone uses too much Teflon tape on PVC pipe threads) therefore it would be wise to have a saw, pvc glue, a coupling, and a replacement threaded nipple at the ready.

They make freeze packs which utilize CO2. A freeze pack could be used to freeze the water in the pipe next to the valve, creating an ice dam, which would allow replacement of the valve without having to deal with running water. A plumber could provide this service, but that would probably cost more than hiring a US Navy dive team to place a cap on the inlet........... Just a thought, but I wonder if wrapping some small blocks of dry ice around the pipe would work........ I'd be willing to try it, that'd be cool!


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#481450 - 10/22/17 01:43 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: snrub]
gully washer Offline


Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 308
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: snrub
3" PVC cap on the pond side in the water.

Leave it that way.

If you ever need to drain the pond install a new valve on the outside and with the valve open run a piece of rebar through the open valve up the pipe and knock the cap off.

If you replace the valve now and let water against it, it likely will just freeze and bust some time again. By leaving the cap on the inside the pond the pipe can remain dry so will not freeze.

Like has been said, if the valve is replaced it should really either below the frost line or some other method to protect from freezing.

Ok, here is another possible way that everyone on the forum is going to scoff at me and I will probably loose all credibility from anyone who has ever turned a wrench. But it has worked for me in a pinch more than once.

I have seen my dad stop water leaks on pipes with 30psi before with this method. Get an old inner tube from a tire shop. Take scissors and cut it in one continuous strip about a half inch wide. Start wrapping the inner tube rubber strip tightly around the cracked area, stretching it as you go. Wrap several layers tightly. In the case of my dad, he used baling wire around the finished product to keep it in place. I go fancy and use a hose clamp. They actually make stretchy rubber tape to do this kind of repair in plumbing supply stores or probably big box hardware stores. The trick is the repair area has to be such that you can effectively stretch the rubber around tightly so one wrap seals the previous wrap.

I have seen these repairs on water lines last 5 years before being repaired permanently. I have temporarily repaired Diesel supply lines on engines and hydraulic return lines with this method. Not pretty, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get it done.
Them are some good ideas.

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#481487 - 10/22/17 10:22 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
scott69 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 934
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
if you open the valve and let water run thru it, does the housing still leak? if not, you could probably put some type of glue on it. jb weld might be an option. a 3 inch pipe will carry a lot of water, but i bet there is some type of quick setting glue that would cure enough in an hour and you not lose too much water.
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#481493 - 10/23/17 06:26 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3749
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
If you could get this inserted with the valve slightly cracked open, maybe this would work?

https://www.petersenproducts.com/category-s/1957.htm

and a cheaper version:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/CHERNE-3-in-Single-Size-Test-Ball-Plug-270032/100160348



Edited by RAH (10/23/17 08:02 AM)

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#481498 - 10/23/17 09:17 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 91
Loc: Missouri
30 foot of water is "only" 13 psi. I'd do what gully washer said and just get wet unscrewing the old valve and putting on a new one. With the new valve open it won't be hard to hold onto while screwing it on. You won't melt.

I would have a standby option ready to go if the threads get messed up. Perhaps a fernco sleeve coupling and plug the open end.

As noted the bad part is this discharge end full of water will be always be susceptible to freeze cracking again. You will need to insulate it- perhaps by burying it.


Edited by Redonthehead (10/23/17 09:18 AM)

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#481511 - 10/23/17 12:08 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: Redonthehead]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
snrub, I like the innertube idea!!
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#481517 - 10/23/17 04:10 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: Redonthehead]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3749
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
3" pipe has 7 square inches of surface area multiplied by 13 PSI = 91 lbs. Been there, done that. I'd invest $25 in the Home-Depot version and have a charged air tank hard plumbed to the inflatable plug and stop the flow through the valve after opening it.


Edited by RAH (10/23/17 04:23 PM)

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#481540 - 10/23/17 10:07 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: RAH]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4221
Loc: SE Kansas
I did not even think about an inflatable plug. That is a great idea.

I would not try the wrap on an open end 3" pipe. Only on a small seeping crack. Not ideal but I've done it in a pinch several times. Where I was not sure it would work for him is where the crack is located. Wrapping a small linear split over a round pipe is one thing. If the split is on a recessed surface in a bad place on the valve, success would be more difficult.
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#481544 - 10/23/17 11:43 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
bob_cville Offline


Registered: 10/21/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Central Virginia
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I was going to try include some pictures to show the problem in case that would be helpful, but so far no luck.

I used some epoxy putty and some FiberFix Tape to hold it in place. The leak isn't stopped, but it now is about 8 fl oz per minute instead of a gallon or two per minute.

If the pond is 30 feet deep, the drain pipe may be another 5 to 10 feet lower than that, and it is not a straight shot, since the drain line with the valve points in a direction that doesn't intersect the lake.

Unscrewing the valve from the pipe end may be difficult since it is close enough to the stream bed that the valve handle would hit the mud. Also in looking at the valve I have doubt whether the handle would turn to open the valve.

If I can get the pictures to post they might help.

Thanks again.

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#481546 - 10/24/17 12:25 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
To upload pictures here they have to be hosted somewhere on the internet that allows for 3rd party hosting. We all used photobucket previously, but now they don't allow 3rd party hosting without paying them almost $400/year.
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#481549 - 10/24/17 07:06 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3749
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Suggest IMGUR for pictures but Chrome has a work-around for PhotoBucket viewing. Can you not dig out under the valve so it can be unscrewed? Maybe a plumber could help you, but its bound to cost $$$? How about encasing the whole valve in quick-set concrete if you do not plan to use it anymore. You would probably need to temporarily stop the leak though, maybe with the inner-tube idea?


Edited by RAH (10/24/17 07:08 AM)

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#481550 - 10/24/17 07:32 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
fish n chips Offline


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
Has anyone tried this flex tape. I have seen it at places, but often wondered if it really does what it claims. It's a similar idea to snrub's. I would try his first since its free.

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#481552 - 10/24/17 07:51 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: fish n chips]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4221
Loc: SE Kansas
I think that is the stuff that you can get at the big box stores like Home Depot or maybe Lowes. I used some of it once to jury rig a 90 degree 8" pvc pipe elbow that did not fit properly. Not really to seal it other than mostly to keep it in place and cover a gap while I poured concrete around the whole joint in a non-pressure drain application.

The stuff I had was thin and really flexible. I think it was available in a couple different widths.

This was the project I used it on but I did not get a picture of the tape in use so probably not useful. But here it is anyway.


Edited by snrub (10/24/17 09:09 AM)
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#481561 - 10/24/17 10:09 AM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3749
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...

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#481575 - 10/24/17 07:55 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
bob_cville Offline


Registered: 10/21/17
Posts: 4
Loc: Central Virginia
Attempting to add pictures

View of pond looking toward dam


View of driveway along top of dam


Looking up from base of dam


Stream bed at base of dam with overflow pipe and drain pipe


Close-up of drain valve after temporary fix


Edited by bob_cville (10/24/17 07:56 PM)

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#481582 - 10/24/17 11:19 PM Re: Cracked Valve Housing [Re: bob_cville]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4221
Loc: SE Kansas
Someone above suggested using quick setting concrete. After seeing your temporary fix, if you have the flow stopped that might be the best "easy" fix.

The argument against doing that would be that you could not open the valve and drain the pond if you wanted to. But all you would have to do is dig the pipe back into the dam past the concrete and cut it. Then put a new valve on after the pond drained.

I would think you would need the flow completely stopped or a small trickle could force a water channel through the concrete while it was setting up.

If you do concrete it up, cover the whole thing up with dirt deep enough so the pipe does not freeze and break behind the concrete.

This is the problem I see with through dam drains. At some point ten or twenty years down the road, they seem to be problematic for one reason or another.


Edited by snrub (10/24/17 11:20 PM)
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