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 Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: cheese4420 (AZ)

My irrigation supply line is leaking under my driveway or sidewalk someplace. I was wondering what my options were at stopping the leak. Here are the details:

Metal pipe from service into property splits out and goes to my irrigation controler in my back yard. The pipe runs completely under my sidewalk and driveway. The irrigation has a seperate shut off valve so when it's off, I don't have a leak showing up. When I turn it on, the leak is present. The leak shows up about 9-11 hours after I turn the water on. The water appears at the end of my driveway, about 15' away from where the pipe runs. I figure I have a crack or something in the pipe but I don't know exactly where it is. Also, since it's only for my irrigation and not for my house supply, I'm not looking to rip out my driveway to replace the piep so I was wondering if I had any other options. I have heard of some kind of "pipe lining" type of epoxy or something like that but I have no idea how it works or how reliable it is. I can get to the start of the pipe and the end of the pipe but it's the middle that's covered by concrete and is leaking. What recommendations do you have?

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: redwood (CT)

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: Paulypfunk (WA)

Ok, that is very funny. But true.

You can get a professional leak detection company out there who will help you pin point the leak. They cost about $200-300 an hour in my town. Or you can try to reroute the system somehow, around the driveway.

Or you dig.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: cheese4420 (AZ)

Are the leak detection companies any good? I mean, is the equipment reliable? The pipe is only 1" diameter so I don't know if that makes any difference. The problem with digging is that it directly under a 3 car wide driveway which turns the corner continues under the sidewalk on the side of my house. I'm going to have to calculate how much water I'm losing and how much it would cost to fix the leak as opposed to just let it go. I hate to do that but I can't afford to replace the driveway.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: hj (AZ)

It is probably PVC, so the relining process is not an option, even if you could afford it. You have few options, one of them possibly being to pull the line from under the driveway while dragging a new one into place.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: hj (AZ)

It had better be a very sharp shovel to dig through a concrete driveway.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: hj (AZ)

A good leak detector company will pinpoint the leak, but all that would do for you is tell you where you have to break the driveway if you want to fix the leak. If you do not want to break the driveway, then do not spend the couple of hundred dollars to find it, since you already know that you DO have a leak.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: redwood (CT)

If you do not fix it eventually it will wash out the soil under the driveway and you will know exactly where it is and have to fix the driveway anyhow. If you know the location where the pipe goes under the driveway you could dig there on both sides and possibly pull the new pipe through. If that is even where the leak is which it probably is...

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: cheese4420 (AZ)

I can't really remove, or add any pipe without removing concrete someplace. I know about the washout deal which is why I need to take care of it. Might it be possiable to run a section of PEX inside the 1" metal pipe? What is the bend radius on pex that might fit inside the metal pipe? This is for my sprinklers and drip system so I know I'll have less water going to the system but it shouldn't have a major impact on the performance of the system. It's not like I'm downgrading my shower lines.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: hj (AZ)

If it is metal pipe, there is NO PEX that will fit inside it now that it is a many years old. Even a 1" PVC line would only fit a 1/2" PEX tube, and NO pipe will go around a corner inside another pipe.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: sum (FL)

If I were in your situation the two things I might try would be...

(1) Assuming your leak has not caused a lateral shift in the pipe where the leak is, and assuming you can get to both ends of the pipe where it crossed under the driveway, I could cut both ends first, and then push an electric fish tape through, just to see if it will make it across ok. If it doesn't, well then...but if it does, you might be able to pull a pex across...may be...a big may be, but it may be worth a try.

(2) If all else fail, you can still hire a concrete cutting company to come cut a 1-1/2" notch across your driveway, and put a new pipe in, patch with concrete and it would be much less intrusive than digging or breaking. You can even position it so it serves as an additional expansion joint...

Just ideas - I am *NOT* a plumber.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: dlh (TX)

either cut it on both ends and connect a new piece to it and the other end to you vehicle and pull the old out as you pull the new in or hire a directional boring company to bore a hole or you might even try one of those boring kits that use a heavy duty drill or the water hose

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: m & m (MD)

Is your AZ soil mostly sand? Try a Borit, www.borit.com. I shot a wire under my pool using Borit and I've got mostly compacted clay.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: cheese4420 (AZ)

That might do the trick with minimal concrete removal. Anybody in Phoenix have one? They are based out of Phoenix so it might not be a long shot.

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 Re: Leaking pipe under driveway
Author: hj (AZ)

Several companies in Phoenix sell them, and some rental yards might have them also.

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