November 3, 2013

Geologic Problems

Of all the issues I try to mitigate as a golf course superintendent, geologic problems are always the hardest to remedy, and usually happen when they are least expected.  The Red River is very young, it formed only 9,500 years ago when Lake Agassiz drained, meaning that coupled with the constant flooding, the river valley is very prone to dramatic changes.

Apparently something shifted pretty dramatically down on the river bank recently.  Just last week we used the large compressor used to blow the water out of the irrigation system to blow the water out of our 6" water transfer line as well.  During the process, it looked like Old Faithful was going off there was so much air and water blowing out of the ground down on the river bank.

It appears that at some point in October, with all of the rain we had, the river bank took a severe slip back behind our maintenance facility.  The river pump transfer line pulled apart in two areas, once in an above ground section, and once again in an area where the pipe was buried about 3' deep.

We took the opportunity to dig up all of the broken pipe with the line out of use for the rest of the season.  We will repair the line as far back as it is broken, and leave the rest of the line disconnected and will just run it all above ground next summer.

We dug up about 120' of the line.

The first break separated the pipe about an inch

The fitting on the right, a gasketed coupler called a "knock on" fitting, used
to overlap the pipe on the left by about 6".  So here, the pipe moved about
10".  Kind of scary how much the ground is moving down by the river....

A scarp face is beginning to form where the bank is literally breaking
off and falling into the river.

Amazingly, this huge cottonwood is still standing, however
it is starting to press against our pipe.

This situation has future disaster written all over it.  Hence the reason the
entire line is coming out and getting moved next spring.  

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