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Hard Heavy Rains Have Damaged a Levee & I Hope to Use the Valve to Remove Some Water.

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by HK_User, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    The Gate valve has not been used in 20 years but I got it open today. Slowly it is flowing and I hope to see a Gusher tomorrow. For now I'm getting silt that is dark green so bottom gunk.
    More rains coming tonight and I hope the levee bank holds till some water drains out.

    Lake Drain Valve 8.JPG

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    Lake Drain Valve 7.JPG
  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    If you have managed to get the gate valve open....would putting an electric eel through the pipe, help remove the sludge and obstructions? I appreciate that there may not be mains electricity at the dam site, but a portable genny might provide the necessary power.


  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Is the gate actually fully open?

    Yup, might take a bit for the sludge to clear out enough for good flow, but as long as it keeps moving it ought to flush the nasties out...

    That earthworks looks like a flood waiting to happen :(
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    The "system" is from a WPA project.
    The valve must be of some high Nichol content iron. As you can see it is only slightly pitted and the gate shuts tight and does not leak.
    Yes the County was informed some 3 years ago but they said it was my problem. That was the "County Engineer" who was too busy to come look and didn't have a map more than 40 years old and said it must be some Old Ranchers build.
    Fact is it has the 4 most common engineering components for good earthen dam. That being 1, well made levee with a center of clay, 2. a way to drain it with the valve, 3. an earthen spill way made of clay and a solid end cape.
    I did inform my down hill neighbor and he checked his place but this empties into a ravine and no homes below.
    My other concern is the piping, good engineering would have it encased in concrete,maybe it is and maybe not?
    I figure I have about 2 feet of sediment to flush through the pipe first before it flows properly and will only know when it drains.
    The gate is fully open and since it does not have the exposed screw of a cheap valve you have to reach in to know the position, no pointers to indicate position.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
    Sapper John, Ura-Ki, techsar and 2 others like this.
  5. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Try a trash pump sucking water from the pond and a sealed connection to the outlet end of the pipe. I have had good luck with that method in blowing the sediment and debris away from old WPA ponds intakes. Almost all WPA ponds have a block or stone housing built around the intake end and at this point in history they tend to be covered in sediment and often take a act of God to get flowing. You know you blew it open when a big plume of sediment and debris swirls to the surface :) Very often the pressure release when it blows will push the top cover stone off the block housing (If it does you will need to wade into the much and put it back on ;) ) That wash out on the damn really needs repaired and generous layer of rip rap or other rock on either side to shore the repair up :) One of the services my old landscape company did was repairing pond damns and most of the ponds we repaired were Government builds back in the 50s through 70s. Very good builds with only two flaws the pond side intakes were too low for a long life pond and did not take into account 50-70 years of sediment settling and they loved to use 2" to 3" diameter pipe when 6" diameter would have been much better. Always amazed me that the vast majority of those old valves still worked, might take bit of muscle to get them broke loose since most have not been turned since they were installed but they were all still pretty much tight and leak free. A very few of the ponds we worked on the water would start flowing on its own after 2-7 days. That is my nickels worth :)
  6. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Maybe 10 years ago our church partially drained their pond to do some work and to install a stand pipe for fire protection water. We drained it down with a syphon made from 4” PVC pipe.

    Put 20’ or so down damn into the pond. A 30 or 45 degree coupler to make corner for 15-20’ or so feet across damn, then another angle coupler and probably 30’ down backside of damn. To start the syphon there was a T coupler in the horizontal section that provided a 2” tap. They plugged the exit side, filled the pipe with pond water bucketed thru the tap, capped the fill tap over then removed the plug.

    I don’t recall but not sure we even glued the pipe. I vaguely recall we just jammed it together with the aid of a hammer and then shot a self drilling/tapping screw thru coupler into pipe to hold things together but preserving ability to easily take it apart for reuse.

    Worked well. They let it run something like 5-6 days to drop level 6-8 feet.

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  7. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    When it stops raining I have a few of your ideas to try, for now I'll stand back and hope the water did not top the dam and break it apart. Not much hope that it didn't because it has rained and the weather has trained over us all night.

    If it's gone then repairs are beyond me.
    There was a good reason it was built and maybe this rain event will prove the WPA's install was a good deal in the New Deal era.

    At least I have a trash pump. I will have to remove the electric motor and install a gas engine because I special built the pump for a contracted project where gas exhaust was not allowed.

    Day light comes and the water is below the breach point.
    Either the expanding surface of the increased volume and the tapered banks or the drain line opened up and saved the day, so far.
    Just 2 feet below the crest and I can watch from here, for sure I am not interested in going 1/2 mile on foot to check the drain line for no purpose.

    Well sure I'm curious, maybe later!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2018
  8. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    LOL keep in mind the trash pump may or may not work, if the sediment is really deep on it there may just not be enough pressure to pop it. Yours given it has some flow is a good sign and why I suggested the pump if does not start free flowing on its own. Those old dams and levees are tougher than most folks think. Even if it over flows there is a very good chance it won't erode it all out. Even if it does you will most likely only have a 10-20 foot gap washed out. Nothing a couple of tandems of good clay can't fix :) Time consuming packing the clay in but worth it if the pond is important to you. Might even consider leaving it a little lower and pouring a concrete floor and block or rock sides a couple feet high and putting a spillway there. OK easy to look at a problem and spend other folks time and money ;)
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    About on target "10-20 foot gap washed out" now to put a flame to the feet of the folks that refused any help even a look see was just too much for that Enganer.
    Ura-Ki, SB21, sec_monkey and 2 others like this.
  10. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Well on the bright side the water level went down.....................
    Ura-Ki, Gator 45/70, HK_User and 2 others like this.
  11. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    @HK_User they should have sent a drone out or a human drone
    Ura-Ki, Gator 45/70 and HK_User like this.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Folks that want a job and then fail to do that job are the bane of our country.
    Sapper John, Ura-Ki, 3cyl and 4 others like this.
  13. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I will correct that just a bit......... People that want a pay check and place to sit on their ass 9-5 with full benefits and a grand pension.
    Ura-Ki, 3cyl, Gator 45/70 and 2 others like this.
  14. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    I'll add,walk around and carry a coffee cup and deny honest request.
    Ura-Ki, 3cyl, Gator 45/70 and 3 others like this.
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    I will say that I know off a VSO that has made the statement that "Only MPs can claim Agent Orange Comp for service connected problems in Nam".

    SO, I have a special Hat I give to certain Vets from his area.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  16. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Navy Navy don't be blue our recruiter screwed us to :)
    Ura-Ki, Gator 45/70 and sec_monkey like this.
  17. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    I called an engineer company a few months ago to look at some house footings I knew wouldn't pass inspection. I had already probed the footing and knew they were still soft at least 4 ft deep , while already 2 ft deep. I called them looking for different options than digging at least 4 more feet , and pouring 6 ft deep in concrete. Which was not going to be supporting a house , just a deck that would be carrying a little heavier load than a floor live load. Long story short , they sent out a guy to probe the footing. Had no engineer background. He was just a body to show a face , and do just what the engineer in the office said to do. Basically just his eyes in the field. After the engineer sent his guy out 2 times , I was finally able to talk to the engineer and tell him what I wanted to do , and just needed him to put that in a letter for the county inspector. Good luck finding competent workers these days.
    sec_monkey, Ura-Ki, 3cyl and 3 others like this.
  18. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Still raining and tomorrow I deliver a statement of concern for public safety about the Dam in question.
  19. Grandpa Patch

    Grandpa Patch Monkey+

    Good luck with your statement. I hope with the county officials.
    sec_monkey and Gator 45/70 like this.
  20. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Correct and Thanks.
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