Water main leak

#1
I am currently going through the trauma of a)finding and b) repairing a leak in the water main. The Water Board very kindly have sent an old twat with a hearing trumpet round to listen for the leak. He pointed to an area - under my very expensive patio natch - and said that there was probably a leak there. Oh and I had five days to get it sorted...

Well two days of digging and searching in the general area and we still haven't found the ******* leak. Surely there must be technology more accurate than a grumpy old bloke in a yellow hi-vis coat, wielding a length of dowelling on a thread bobbin and claiming there may be a leak in the generic area known as "under there"?
 
#3
Well presumably it's best to look somewhere near where the water is visible to the eye. There isn't really anything that will help you other than that. Just dig down until you find the main and then dig along it until you find where the problem is. I hope you have a mini digger otherwise you are in for some hard work. Good luck.
 
#4
My, admittedly limited, experience of this sort of thing is that electronic detection equipment is not much more accurate. (Think sound ranging). A geriatric geezer with a stick is still much to the fore in these matters.

Now that you have exposed a bit of pipe perhaps said geezer might be persauded to return and least tell you in which direction to sink your next exploratory excavation. By a process known as 'bracketing' (I'm sure you know what I mean) you might find your slurry filled swamp. I trust you do. These sort of things, if left untended, can do a bit of damage. Awra best.
 
#5
A mate who used to work for a civ engineering contractor fixing water mains tells me that the "stethoscope" technique is usually the most reliable. Amazing in this day and age.
 
#6
If the other end of the pipe is exposed as well, then you can confirm the position of the leak with a correlator which relies upon the noise generated by a leak on a buried pipeline.Sensors are deployed at two locations, e.g. two valves on the pipeline either side of a suspected leak position. The difference in the arrival time of the leak noise at each sensor, coupled with the knowledge of the pipe material, diameter and length, enables the leak to be pinpointed precisely. Although if the distance between the two sensors is too short the results are not that reliable. You would have to get a company in to do this as the equipment is very expensive or go back to your water board and ask for more help.


If the pipe is either black poly or blue MDPE then you could try clamping the pipe shut and if the leak stops then you have confirmed the the leak is further on possibly under your patio. We used to fix these types of leak by using HEP2O pipe inserted inside the original pipe but I believe this is not allowed any more.

Generally the listening stick is the most effective especially if the user is experienced. After a time you tend to be able to focus on the frequencies the the leak generates.

Failing all that have a word with Mucus2 as he is still in the leak detection business.
 
#7
Well the leak is not where it was pinpointed -ha! - by the inspector and his ear trumpet. Who could probably have told himself that had he checked the map...The pipe is shown as entering the front of the property... I am now negotiating with the Water board the use of their high-tech kit, rather than dropping twenty or thirty holes in my drive, office, kitchen etc. to try and locate the fecking thing!

Meanwhile i have a 6' x 4' by 2' hole in the patio, tons of spoil etc and the mother in law isn't even here...
 
#8
Begs the question as to what the old twat was hearing then.

Does methane exuding from a buried torso sound much like a leaky pipe?

Hang on, that's your answer - phone Plod and anonymously report seeing someone burying a odd, lumpy roll of carpet under your drive years ago.

(Copywrite Fletcher@Porridge.com)
 
#9
I come across these all the time because I do the groundwork for extensions and driveways etc. It's not an exact science and there are rarely any maps showing you where any of the services for your house are but, you normally should find a stopcock outside your property on the road just off your boundry and your stopcock on your property is probably in your kitchen. If you live in a detached or semi detached house, normally the pipe will run between those two points alone the side of the house. If you have a terraced property, it may well run buried under your front garden path and through your front door. Might be worth you getting the chap back with the ear trumpet again for a second opinion. Good luck.
 
#10
He didn't have a beard too and go by the name of Richard by any chance? The listening stick is very quaint but it's the best way to find a leak. Usually the company will offer you a slightly inflated quote but you can usually knock the price down or find a decent plumber. If the leak is on the pavement outside your property then the Water Board are obliged to fix it. It may be worth turning off the stop cock off under the kitchen sink and seeing if your water metre is still spinning round, if it isn't it would indicate the leak is outside your property and not your problem.
 
A

Aleegee1698

Guest
#11
It would be wise to get the professionals in asp, dont speculate. My brother-in-law sold his house. After working out the final usage and bill, he was charged an extra 800 notes, the main had been leaking through an almost pin-prick size hole for XXX amount of time, in the waterboards pipe, but on his land, so he had to pay the excess. Dependant on where you live in the country, it is difficult to even notice the water surfacing, or the ground getting boggy, i.e if you are on a clay or chalk area, it will never surface. It is very rare that these mains-pipes go IF they have been properly installed, you will find that it is always a bad joint, or if not buried at least 80cms in these recent prolonging temperatures of -20 C that they will possibly freeze and split.
 
#12
What's the pipe made of? Is it worth repairing?

If it's steel or lead it's probably more sensible to dig up, or abandon the entire pipe and replace with MDPE. You can repair it, but then you've got two buried joints (which are the most likely bit to start leaking) and if it's steel, it's probably corroded elsewhere and not worth the effort.

You'll get more flow from a new plastic pipe, which is useful if you ever go down the unvented water heater (no tank) route. The details of getting it into the building are a PITA, the water supplier probably has a detail drawing with tracer wires, depths (750mm? min) and whatnot.
 
#14
He didn't have a beard too and go by the name of Richard by any chance?


It may be worth turning off the stop cock off under the kitchen sink and seeing if your water metre is still spinning round, if it isn't it would indicate the leak is outside your property and not your problem.
No, no, no. The bloke called Dick with the beard is the dowser.

You're still liable if the leak is anywhere on your property. The meter still spinning after shutting off the inlet stopcock would indicate a leak in your service pipe; still your problem, though, it's on your property.
 
#15
I am currently going through the trauma of a)finding and b) repairing a leak in the water main. The Water Board very kindly have sent an old twat with a hearing trumpet round to listen for the leak. He pointed to an area - under my very expensive patio natch - and said that there was probably a leak there. Oh and I had five days to get it sorted...

Well two days of digging and searching in the general area and we still haven't found the ******* leak. Surely there must be technology more accurate than a grumpy old bloke in a yellow hi-vis coat, wielding a length of dowelling on a thread bobbin and claiming there may be a leak in the generic area known as "under there"?
What area of the country are you in?

I'm working for Wessex and they will fix the leak even if its on your property. Most water companies will give you up to an hours leak detection time FOC.

As Spacehopper said, best bet if they don't or you fancy going down the DIY route is to expose it, clamp it to work out if its further on.
Correlator is pants on polly or mdpe, so either the listening stick or a ground mic is the best way forward.

If all that isn't possible, consider relaying the service yourself from internal stoptap out to the boundary box in the footpath. I would also check to see if icosts could be covered by your household insurance.
 
#16
He didn't have a beard too and go by the name of Richard by any chance? The listening stick is very quaint but it's the best way to find a leak. Usually the company will offer you a slightly inflated quote but you can usually knock the price down or find a decent plumber. If the leak is on the pavement outside your property then the Water Board are obliged to fix it. It may be worth turning off the stop cock off under the kitchen sink and seeing if your water metre is still spinning round, if it isn't it would indicate the leak is outside your property and not your problem.
I agree with the above until "not your problem". True, to an extent. I said I had limited experience in this matter. It was to do with a water company (no names, no pack drill) that was notified of a leak, made a cursory inspection and then decided there was no problem. A few months later the householder had the front of his garden fall in to a cavern generated by the leak from a 4" main. Also disappearing down the hole went the pavement and a bit of road. Amazing what the jet action of a water leak can do over time. Keep on the case of the water company.

If it all goes pear shaped then give me a call. Expert Witness rates will keep the wolf from the door for a month or two.
 
#17
It will be better to use some modern techniques to detect the water leakage. You can try to search online for these techniques and companies around you providing these services. Its not working with old and obsolete techniques for you.
 
#18
I am sure that the deeds of your property show the drainage and power config, the question is how the leak has been identified and where it is draining too - It is annoying that the council can't be a 'bit' more helpful - hope you get it sorted!
 
#19
I come across these all the time because I do the groundwork for extensions and driveways etc. It's not an exact science and there are rarely any maps showing you where any of the services for your house are but, you normally should find a stopcock outside your property on the road just off your boundry and your stopcock on your property is probably in your kitchen. If you live in a detached or semi detached house, normally the pipe will run between those two points alone the side of the house. If you have a terraced property, it may well run buried under your front garden path and through your front door. Might be worth you getting the chap back with the ear trumpet again for a second opinion. Good luck.
Thank you so much for this...however in terms of moving us further along it makes me wonder if you are not in fact really a management consultant!
 
#20
SITREP
Firstly thank you to all of you for the many suggestions. Apart from the one about calling in suspected murder victims. I might as well give the police my ******* scrapbooks and video records you idiot!

My groundwork boys finished digging around 1500 hrs - which is when the lads from the Water board turned up. They did nothing other than agree that the sticky listeny device was not really the answer. Given that the 100 yard drive runs parallel to a main road. Moreover the expressed some disquiet that the sticky listeny man had identified the possible leak site as being to the rear of the property under my Lakeland Stone patio, when their map clearly showed the pipe entering my house through the front aspect!

They suggested, having come from a house with a 20 m drive and similar problems, that the high tech investigative leakfinder was required and called their inspector. He turned up as the evening Chippenham to Bath rush hour started to hot up - insisting on having a good listen. he managed to identify the sewage pump very accurately in terms of location though...He then joined the converted to high-tech crowd and told me he had "spoken to his manager" who would call me first thing this morning.

Having called his manager first thing this morning, I now realise that this translates as "I left a voice mail on his mobile. He is actually out of the office tomorrow which I did not realise but hey I can now book an hour's overtime. So whoopy de doo and bollocks to you Mr Householder. Thanks for the tea."

So we rest, so to speak, on shovels reversed. However I think the Water Board will see the wisdom of not repeating the digging through tarmac drive, patio and potentially into ducted poly pipes, when they could use the fecking mouse and leakfinder technology...

Finally:
Dashing Chap - bless you, you really are not a property owner are you? Or at least one whose utilities lie in the public domain rather than on their land. Did you hear someone say that in a pub and store it up for just such an occasion? Or get it verbatim from a water board leaflet? Sorry by the way but Dubarry boots would not be a good idea in these circs...ordinary board issue wellies seem de rigueur.

Woods - yes, let's hope they see the wisdom otherwise my drive and patio will end up looking like a patchwork quilt.

Mucus2 - we did the clampy stuff ages ago and the turn off at the road side cock etc. However Wessex/Bristol have the Leak Stop programme which we have accessed. So the ball is firmly in their court. I await their next move. My next move is to fill in the huge hole which the original inspector directed me to dig and then grumpily consider how much or little my multi-thousand pound feature patio has been improved or damaged by the experience! Still they did say sorry! Which plus a quid will get me a cup of coffee.

Stores 4 Storing - thanks for that comment about the map. It made me laugh. Particularly as the original inspector obviously couldn't be arrsed to look at one either!
 

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