In late May, Pinnacle Landscaping began a project to replace about two thirds of the main water line at the front entrance. This is the line that services the waterfall and approximately 60 sprinklers at the entrance.
The water line replacement was driven by our inability to locate a costly water leak, estimated at about $750 per month if left unattended, in the line. The leak was detected in early 2015 through an unusually high winter water bill. Multiple attempts were made by multiple vendors to locate the leak. We went as far as having several isolation valves installed to try to narrow down the section of the line where the leak was. That work showed that we actually had several leaks throughout and none of them were detectable in the usual manner–wet spots, visible running water, or the sound of water flowing through the sprinkler and waterfall valves. I nursed us along through 2015 by shutting the water off when it wasn’t needed, but that wasn’t sustainable long term.
The work on the new water line project has taken longer than anticipated. The service sleeve that runs under Waterfall Road is eight feet deep. Reaching that was complicated by the fact that there are a number of utilities and our own electrical circuits that run throughout the entrance area.
I spoke with Pinnacle Landscaping yesterday afternoon to get an update on the project. They expect to finish with the first, and hopefully only, phase of the replacement by the weekend. They have to adjust some joints that didn’t seat properly in the line within the island and wire up the two new sprinkler valve manifolds they installed. They will then let the area settle for a few weeks and will come back to apply a finish grade and install sod in the areas impacted by the work.
Once this phase of the water line work is completed, we should be able to restore water service to the entrance. This will allow us to restart the waterfall and turn on the sprinklers. We are also hopeful that we’ll be able to plant the summer flowers.
If this doesn’t completely resolve all the leaks, we will proceed with having the remaining third of the line replaced (perhaps with an alternate route). This is the portion of the line that extends around the waterfall, providing water to it, the two sprinkler manifolds on the hill behind it, and the faucet that sits at the electricity service pole, also behind the waterfall.
When all work is complete, we hope the main line will prove more durable than it has historically been. We’ve had several costly leaks, between $600 and $1000 just in water, over the years due to the thin piping, which appears to be schedule 25 throughout. Schedule 25 is really only appropriate for sprinkler zone lines, not 2 inch constant pressure main lines that can result in a rapid and expensive loss of water when they break. We insisted that the new main line be schedule 40–a thicker pipe. It is schedule 40 in all places, but under Waterfall Road. Under Waterfall Road, Pinnacle used schedule 80 to eliminate the need for joints that could fail. The new, thicker pipe should handle the rocky soil and water pressure much better. Time will tell.