Current Topic: When an old drain tile line failed we had to dig it up to relieve the flooding that was ruining a large pasture area. Ultimately this failure is caused by downstream effects that are out of our control. In the mean time we are trying to make the best of it until our problem becomes catastrophic.
After Many Failed Repair Attempts We Decommissioned An Old Drain Tile Line...
There are several springs at the back of our property. All at a higher elevation then the front. Before drainage channeling these springs created a swamp on this property. These springs were captured somewhere in the early 1920's and redirected, through thousands of one foot long Roman drain tiles, beneath the property to drains (culverts) under the Highway etc...
Downstream of this particular line is a culvert under the Highway that is failing. It has become filled with debris and is approaching a compromised condition. It is also at the lowest point between the culverts on either side. As a result our normal water table at this point has risen almost three feet. The bottleneck has already ruined an old tile line (over ninety years old) and it is ruining our front pasture areas as well.
We have already made numerous attempts to repair this particular tile line. Each attempt has been successful but has also been short lived. The amount of effort we were putting in had become unreasonable and so we decided to dig a big trench. To relieve the pressure building up at the back of the property.
We also decided to dig down to the original Tile line. Big mistake. All we really needed was a gradual, shallow, ditch for the water to follow. After all. Water is lazy and will gladly follow the path of least resistance. Oh well! The damage is already done and now we have to clean up the mess.
One of the biggest problems we have is that the ditch, almost three feet deep over most of it, disenfranchises about three acres of pasture on the other side. Up to this point we have been using a rickety old wood bridge for tractor access. Not only was it made entirely of old rotting wood scraps but the edges (banks) of the ditch were collapsing compromising the structure itself. Not suitable for horses to cross. Personally, I felt uncomfortable walking over it. Fortunately... And as a testament to its unworthiness there were no fasteners (nails, screws) holding it together so it was easily removed and replaced.
After managing to round up some old beaten-up culvert we replaced the rickety old bridge with a proper dirt road, over the 'a little bit to large' culvert allowing the stream (QED) to flow beneath. Wow!!! On any scale this effort rates a clear '10'. No horse yet has shown any hesitation crossing over the new 'road' (path). Maybe some of that is also because the grass is greener on the other side.
It's now the end of the 'warm' season and we have a desperate need to improve the water supply for the new barn area. Since the barn paddock is adjacent to the 'unsightly ditch'. And the ditch is over five hundred feet long. And the not so great elevation is at least higher then the paddock area. We decided to create (poured some dirt over it) a small Dam at the highest, convenient, point we could along the ditch.
Along with creating the Dam we inserted a pipe, into it, and created an additional filter/silt-basin around the pipe to provide clean (cleaner) water and reduce the munge (plant mater) that can potentially clog the system. We are looking for extreme reliability from this water source.
This is where we realize the true beauty of the simple solution in all its elegance. The water pipe comes in under the Dam and rises to below the surface level through a 90 degree coupling (adapter). Around the pipe (riser) we placed a bucket with a hole for the pipe and several additional holes to draw the water into the bucket and up to our water line intake.
What this does is draw water to the intake from the cleanest, and warmest, part of the reservoir while preventing general plant matter, which continually floats about the surface, from clogging up the system. It also removes a lot of silt in the process.
The filter (bucket) is additionally weighted down with small rocks (filter) will certainly need maintenance. The beauty is that it can be removed, cleaned and replaced with very little effort (minutes) which is very important in Winter.
We ended up running about 250 feet of water pipe from the intake to the culvert we put in earlier in the season. For the road. From there we ran out of resources and had to 'temporarily' (kludge) the remaining 150 feet with garden hoses. Remember... We are at the end of our warm season and this is a desperation act. We fully expect to pick this up (complete) next season. Aside from being unsightly, we need to fill in the ditch. We would much rather have a meandering stream then a hideous, dangerous and otherwise uncrossable barrier 'The Mean Old Ditch'.
The entire purpose for this effort is to provide a perpetual (continuous all year) supply of animal drinking water to the new barn area in the form of a trough. The main principals rely on the simple resources we available to us, a little accounting for the weather and a minimal amount of expected maintenance. No different then any other water trough.
So... We have captured some of the spring water that flows through the ditch (eventually to become a meandering stream) by Damming it up to create a reservoir which we have tapped using a pipe. We have run the pipe maybe 400 feet down the ditch which represents a change in elevation of probably eleven feet. the pipe then rises about six feet, from the bottom of the ditch, to supply water to a trough we have made using an old bath tub. The tub is plumbed so that the overflow returns excess water back to the ditch (stream). Thus water flows continuously through the trough, year round, making sure that it provides water even in severe cold conditions. And. Except for what the horses consume we have not really changed the water-flow through our property which means 'No Downstream Effects'.
How 'Green' is that.
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