Sunday, April 28, 2013

Irrigation Installation: Phase II Main Line

The next step in the installation of your irrigation system is to have the mainline installed.  This is the largest line in your irrigation system and carries water to all of the laterals.  For this installation a pipe puller was called in to do the work.  This is the yellow machine you see below.
Installing the main and laterals in this fashion has many advantages.  The number one being that you do not have to spend hours breaking your back digging trenches.  This machine essentially pulls the pipe through the ground with a combination of force and vibration.  A wire mesh that looks much like one of those Chinese finger traps grabs the end of the line and pulls it trough the earth at precisely the right depth.  The second major advantage is that the surface disturbance is minimal so there is no reseeding of trenches in areas of established vegetation.

While the machine is pulling the pipe  through, someone holds the coil on the other end feeding it as needed.  Its important to note that this machine will pull through just about anything.  Including a shallow electric line.
This is the main electric that feeds my house!  Typically they are much deeper than the depth that the mainline would be pulled in at.  This one was marked and accurate, just not very deep.  My house was built in 1919. While I am sure the electrical has been updated since then, who knows what kind of surface grading has occurred making the line shallower than expected.  You can see below where the electricity arched through this quarter inch steel bar on the pipe puller.  It blew the breaker on the pole in the street and no one got hurt.

So even if you have your lines marked, things can still happen.  The procedure here is to call the electrical company out to do the repair.  While on site doing the repair, they will file a report to decide who is as fault. If the contractor is found to be negligent, they will fine the contractor.  I have no idea if the contractor was fined.  I can definitely confirm he was none to happy about the incident.  I'm sure any fines will cancel the profit he made in my yard.  If you did not get your utilities marked and subsequently caused damage to any of the electrical services you will definitely be fined so remember: Call Before You Dig!

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