Irrigation/Leaks Update
Posted on May 25, 2022 5:00 PM by Admin
Categories: Landscaping
The main problem we are seeing out there is a build-up of dirt and sediment inside of valve boxes. Below are a few pictures to serve as examples of what we are seeing out there:
When the valve boxes become this way, sediment and small dirt can get into the valve itself and cause the valve to either seep or stay stuck on after the controller turns it off. The sediment that gets in will either build up and block the diaphragm inside from shutting all the way or eat away at the rubber and cause the same issue. Then we usually have to replace the valve or try and clean the diaphragm to get it to open and shut correctly again. 

When the valve stays open on a drip zone it is either stuck all the way open and lets the full amount of water to consistently flow out of the emitters or sprinkler heads. Or the other issue that can happen is the valve doesn’t turn off all the way and lets a small amount of water to consistently flow through the valve. 
There are multiple ways a valve box can get into the state of the ones pictured above. One is from the flooding that happened last year. When there is excess water flowing into the ground, silt and debris can find its way into the box and eventually build up inside. Another way that is very common from what I’ve seen out at Red Rock is burrowing animals like snakes and mice/rats dig into them as there is usually an abundance of food (Insects) in the valve boxes, that the animals like to eat. Just going out to take pictures for this report I found snakes and mice in the boxes. You can see below the back end of a snake in one of the valve boxes I opened up.
I also wanted to include a picture of one of the valves that we have replaced. We do clean these out as we replace valves, but it is time-consuming because you can just get in there with a shovel and remove the dirt. You have to dig up the whole box and dig carefully as with one bad swing of the shovel, you can break a PVC line or cut into one of the direct bury wires and cut the connection off to the controller. Below is the example: 

Now there are other issues we are dealing with as well. Since we took over the property, we have been trying to get through all the irrigation to see what’s going on and the state of everything. We are finding valves that look like the one below. The problem with this is that the red ball valve off to the left is turned off. This is leftover from the last contractor and we are finding these every now and then. When we find this, we have to turn it on and fire on the valve and see what happens. And more often than not when the ball valve is turned off, it's usually because there is an issue somewhere down the line whether it be a stuck valve, broken sprinkler, or punctured polyline. So it takes time to find and diagnose these, then moves on to the actual repair. 
This report is mostly about the common issues we are seeing out at Red Rock. There are plenty more issues that can go wrong with the irrigation systems, but I just wanted to capture the main ones we’ve seen. It always helps to have the community report issues they see, we are out there a lot, but are not everywhere every week. The more feedback we get the better we can do. 
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