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Thread: Locate buried water pipe plastic

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Locate buried water pipe plastic

    Anyone ever use a tone generator to locate a buried water pipe PVC 1’’ and 20 years old. When I buried it 20 years ago about 12’’ deep with ditchwhich I had the foresight to lay a locator wire down #12 copper

    Now I need to find it, actually a T, in run about 900’ in length, to cut out one area that leaks and not needed anyway.

    Have an old tone generator borrowed but will work with new batteries. Just don’t know if this tool will work very far, or how accurate it will be for less digging.

    Or try the witching method with a coat hanger wire?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    trty it and report back, I have done similar but buried old nails, bolts, hunks of pipe. etc with pipe, just toss one in every 2 or 3 feet.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I just use a couple lengths of heavy wire, bent into an "L" shape. Hold one loosely in each hand, with the wire pointing forward and start walking. When you approach the buried line, the wires will cross. Mark that spot, and then walk further, turn around and approach the marked spot again. You will be close enough. That method has always worked for me, and my wife can do it also.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    if you have a "trace" wire buried with it as you say, the best and most sure fire method is to hire an electrician with a locator because unless you know how to use the pipehorn you could be 10 or 20 feet off very easily. the last time I need it done it cost 50 bucks for him to come in and locate. you could also find somebody marking lines along a roadway and see if they would mark it for 20 bucks cash.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Joe504's Avatar
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    Check Facebook for a local metal detector group. Those guys could probably find it quick, then you let them search your property and split whatever they find.

    Source, I did something similar to an abandoned house we thought the previous owner had buried guns on.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Use the coathangers. It works. Trust me.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    A backhoe will find it in seconds, you just have to be ready to fix the break.

    If you are talking about a phone line tone generator you usually need to be closer than 12 inches. It's for picking out a pair of wires in a bundle.

    I have a Pipe and Cable locator that works the same way but more power. Attach the transmitter to that buried wire and use the receiver to track. The signal Nulls (goes quiet) directly over the wire with a loud signal on either side.

    My buddy who is usually a good dowser went over an area all afternoon and could not find the 1" steel water pipe. Started the backhoe and pulled it up with the first scoop. LOL Figure out where you would install a new pipe, that is where the old one will be.
    Last edited by Mal Paso; 09-07-2020 at 11:01 AM.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    I was the line locator for the gas company for years. If the tone generator you have is what I call a curb box locator it won't find copper wire. The curb box locator is used to find the cast steel lid for the valve we put in your yard. I used two different Fisher locators for finding plastic pipe buried with tracer wire on "conductive". The transmitter is connected to the wire above ground and the receiver is passed in a zig-zag pattern and you get a null in the tone over the wire like Mal said. The Fisher on "inductive" will not find wire. 1 inch pipe is too small to find with dowsing rods IMO. Hire someone with the proper equipment and it will be a 1 minute job.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Digger's Avatar
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    Son of a gun .... thought I was the only one here..
    Been a metal detector fan since teenage years .
    Still have two line detector sets in the shop and a fisher gold bug .
    Wish i could get out more and enjoy the "bug"
    It is much easier to fool people ,
    than to convince them they have been fooled !

    If you can read this , thank a teacher ...
    If you can read this in English , .. thank a Vet !

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy

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    OT a bit. Back in Illinois, when a buried power line would break and leak to ground, they would disconnect all feed to and from it and use a thumper. Basically dumping high current pulses into the line. Worked would walk the line until they felt a thump in the ground and they'd have an approximate idea of were to start digging.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Another vote for the two pieces of coat hanger in an L shape - "witch" it. The first time I saw this done was when I had to drive a shallow well - a friend of my Dad's taught me and it works. I later used it a number of times on the flarm to locate buried waterlines. I used pieces of coat hanger ut to about 12" - bent so they mad an L with each leg being about 6". Make a fist with each hand with the L held loosely in the fist so they will swing - point the leg of each straight forward and you can actually feel the pull on them when you find your target and they will cross over each other.

    I also buried a gas line from my house to the shop - about 120'. When I trenched it in I laid a #10 coper wire in with it to locate it if needed. A few years later, I was going to dose work and needed to know where the gas line was. My wife had given me a "treasure finder" (neat detector)
    that I like to play with - I got that out and had no problems locating the gasoline as I could easily pick up the #10 copper wire. You might put some feelers out to see if someone in your area has a metal detector - lot's of folks have them and most would be willing to help you out.
    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Tried the tone generator this morning and it will sound off anywhere near the exposed wire but 3’ down the run under 12’’ of dirt nothing.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Metal detector will work but line tracer is faster/better. Here, most anybody - cable/gas/water have them required before any digging. Lawn sprinkler guys have them too. You could cheat. If a local AM station nearby, transistor radio and earphones will work.
    Whatever!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If I was closer to you, I would dowse it for you. I have done it many times for neighbors and even couple historical societies. Don't know why but it works. I use bent copper wire from Home Depot.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Froogal View Post
    I just use a couple lengths of heavy wire, bent into an "L" shape. Hold one loosely in each hand, with the wire pointing forward and start walking. When you approach the buried line, the wires will cross. Mark that spot, and then walk further, turn around and approach the marked spot again. You will be close enough. That method has always worked for me, and my wife can do it also.
    +1. Heavy power pole copper grounding wire works. Put the ends your going to hold in
    6-8 in pvc pipe so the wire swings freely. think about the water line and walk slowly holding the wires out front of you level to the ground. When they cross you've found your line.

    Sounds silly and I thought so but I tried it and located not only my water line but sewer line
    "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. ... A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    John Stuart Mill

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Louisiana One Call System is what you need to call. It's free, they will send utility reps out to mark any & all lines buried in your work area. Be onsite, you can slip one of the locator techs a few bucks & he will mark your water line for lunch money. Plus side...if there's a utility line you didn't know was there it will get marked and if it's missed or not marked, you won't be financially liable for the utility damage.
    An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "Inside me two wolves fight," he told the boy.
    "One is evil - he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, false pride, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, generosity, truth and faith. The same fight is inside you - and every other person, too."
    The grandson thought for a minute and asked,"Which wolf will win?"
    The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed."

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyEllis View Post
    Louisiana One Call System is what you need to call. It's free, they will send utility reps out to mark any & all lines buried in your work area. Be onsite, you can slip one of the locator techs a few bucks & he will mark your water line for lunch money. Plus side...if there's a utility line you didn't know was there it will get marked and if it's missed or not marked, you won't be financially liable for the utility damage.
    There you go. Let someone with a $2000 rig find it for you.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy

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    Lawnmower and an am radio. Wrap a piece of insulated copper wire around the spark plug wire 8-10 times and attach the other end to the trace. You can track the signal with the am radio.
    Last edited by WheelgunConvert; 09-07-2020 at 09:24 PM.
    Stronger, Prouder and Greater!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheelgunConvert View Post
    Lawnmower and an am radio. Wrap a piece of copper wire around the spark plug wire 8-10 times and attach the other end to the trace. You can track the signal with the am radio.
    Too Cool! I'm going to remember that one. Do they still have AM Radio?
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheelgunConvert View Post
    Lawnmower and an am radio. Wrap a piece of insulated copper wire around the spark plug wire 8-10 times and attach the other end to the trace. You can track the signal with the am radio.
    Sounds like something I would do.

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