I need some advice please...


Old 04-07-13, 08:20 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
I need some advice please...

This is my first time posting here, I really don't know where else to turn too. First off I appreciate any advise you are able to give, here is my situation:

We moved into our house unaware of any plumbing issues, only later we discovered a few plumbing problems (We've found about 3 so far, hooray for us!) we have fixed 2 of them already but one that has been sitting for a while has us stumped.

Please bear with the long description it is necessary and I apologize in advance.

Our front yard contains the problem, we have a half circle concrete driveway with grass on alternate sides of it. The previous "occupant" of our home seems to have installed their own sprinkler system running the white plastic pipe beneath the concrete. This may have been a fantastic idea however he decided to connect the pipe somehow (we're not sure how) to our incoming line from the city main (I hope that makes sense as I am not a plumber). We thought nothing of this as our water has never had any problems nor ever tasted funny. He has also left us a nice rectangle cutout in the concrete (I assume this was for the sprinkler shutoff?) in the driveway which has become overgrown with various vegetation/moss. This rectangle cutout has been our only clue as to what he has done. I have yet to find the courage to explore this hole, however we have filled this hole with sand and covered it with a piece of sheet metal in hopes the vegetation would die from lack of sun exposure and so we can drive over it without taking a pothole to the tire.

Recently there has been a tiny pool of water collecting near this sheet metal covering and I am now worried it has become a bigger problem and there may somehow be a problem with our incoming line. To even begin to investigate, it seems as though I may have to cut a strip of concrete out to get to this pipe. So my questions are, how would I even begin to get this fixed? I would be willing to do the concrete sawing myself but would I need permits to do something like this? Would it be better to have a professional do this and what kind of professional? Plumber? Mason? I'm very young and I've never had any experience with this type of thing, however I am not afraid to do some dirty work if needed (like I said we've already fixed 2 other plumbing problems here, they were not fun and involved crawl space and sewage). What would be the cost of having this professionally taken care of VS. DIY?

Thank you and I hope I've explained this sufficiently...
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Old 04-07-13, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: US
Posts: 29
Pictures would help. What state are you in? Unlikely your water main is at surface level but there could be some issues to consider with the sprinkler system
Old 04-07-13, 09:00 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
I'll try to get some pictures, it will have to wait until Tuesday however. I am in California, not much freezing going on here so most of our lines are not that deep. From talking to my father about all this, I do know there may be some kind of back flow problems to be aware of if the sprinkler system is broken (which its not in use any longer, we can't even find any of the heads), connected and allowing water to seep back into the main line. I honestly hope this isn't the case and its just a matter of filling in the rectangle cutout but as with any home improvement projects I always expect the worse possible outcome.
Old 04-07-13, 10:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

It's not likely that the previous guy connected to the water main in that box. There should be some kind of sprinkler shut-off valve near your water main/meter area.

So when you shoot some pics.....give us one or two of the water main/meter area.
Old 04-14-13, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 2
I agree with PJmax---first order of business in my mind is to find the sprinkler shut off and close it. If water continues to percolate after that,, then you have bigger issues. I'm not in CA but find it hard to beleive you'd need a permit to cut into your own concrete. Anytime I've had underground water issues, the only way I've solved then is to dig. Good luck!
Old 04-14-13, 08:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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If you have one, or can borrow one, a 6-8 year old boy with an old spoon is good for digging out the hole. Tell him there might be buried treasure. Give him a candy bar or something after the digging.

Any legal underground sprinkler system will have some kind of approved backflow prevention device in the supply line. Most common is a vacuum breaker valve which looks something like a mushroom and will be about six inches or more above the ground.


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