Grit Blogs > Of Mice and Mountain Men

Well, Here We Go Again

By Allan Douglas


Tags: Plumbing Issues, Water Line, Plumber, Video, Allan Douglas,

A photo of Allan DouglasA couple of years ago, maybe a little longer, a tree root grew under the water line that runs from our water well to the pressure tank under my workshop: 80-some-odd feet distant. As the root grew, it pushed upward on the water line. This would not have been an issue had it happened most anywhere along that 80-some-odd foot span (in fact it probably has happened several times), but because it happened right next to the well head, which does not flex at all, the PVC water pipe fractured.

We didn't know that at first. The water line (and the well head for that matter) are underground. It had been raining a lot, and the ground gets wet when it rains a lot. But when the rains stopped and the ground refused to dry, I began to suspect something.

I hired a plumber who specialized in well work to come see what was what. The biggest problem was that I wasn't even sure where our well head WAS. The fella who installed it (long ago) cut off the head pipe below ground and buried it. I had a rough idea, but that was all. The plumber watched the way the water moved and found some burbling that indicated pay dirt – or pay mud.

well repair

He cut out a piece of the PVC and installed a flexible metal line between the PVC run and the well head so the line could "give" as tree roots bullied it.

That arrangement has worked well – until about a week ago. Same conditions as before, with lots of rain, hiding the fact that there is too much water standing on the ground. When I made the realization, I leaped into action by digging a pit around the well head and a channel from this pit to a ground drain which eventually gets to a drainage ditch out by the road. That helped with the bog-like condition of all the surrounding ground. More digging showed that the roiling water was not spurting from the well head (thank you, Lord), but from the area of that flex line.

Armed with that info I took decisive action and ... phoned the plumber. He'll be here in a couple of hours.

I have tried patching these underground water lines before. I figured out once that we have about 300 feet of water lines strung about our property, and these do freeze and split occasionally or ... something. I have always succeeded at this patching. However, it has sometimes taken me two days of digging and probing and cobbling to get it patched up. That's two days where our family is without running water while I fumble around, trying to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. And two days where I am not doing what I would normally be doing. Someone who knows what he's doing can come in and in less than an hour have us all fixed up and going again.

And it's fixed properly. With *my* plumbing repairs, one never really knows.