Saturday, May 1, 2010

Irrigation Repairs

One of the often overlooked responsibilities of a golf course superintendent is plumbing -- not residential plumbing, but high pressure irrigation plumbing.  Over the last two weeks, we fixed 3 leaks on the golf course and replaced our main 6" suction pipe in the pump house.  Click on the picture on the left to see more pictures from this project.

As you can see from the picture, this cast iron pipe was badly corroded at the waterline.  It had developed a small leak.  Even a small leak in this pipe can cause the pump to lose its prime, or will force the jockey pump - a smaller pump used for pressure maintenance - to run constantly trying to keep the system primed.  We originally pulled the pipe to fix the foot valve - a check valve at the bottom of the pipe also vital to keeping the pump primed - and then we noticed the pin hole leak in the suction pipe. 

Here's the old suction pipe:

Most of the pipe is in decent condition except for the portion near the water line where rusting occurs more rapidly due to the presence of oxygen.  The foot valve (see photo below) was also leaking due to a torn rubber flapper.  The aluminum screen was also falling to pieces.  We have rebuilt this foot valve almost every year, so we decided to replace it with a stainless steel valve with brass internal parts that should be lower maintenance.

Here's the old foot valve:

And here's the new assembly:

We replaced the suction pipe with schedule 80 PVC instead of cast iron to resist corrosion and rust.  The valve above the foot valve is connected to a rod that can be turned by hand above the water line.  It is there to drain the pipe for the winter or to work on the pump and foot valve.

Once we put this pipe in place and connected it to the pump, it primed up and ran like a charm and is holding pressure with no leaks -- a beautiful thing!

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