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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I figure between everyone who posts here just about every crappy job in the world has been done.

Well have I got a crappy one.



The big pipe is my well casing and there is a buried water line that runs from it to my house. The hose bib you see T's off the main line. Some time this winter the bib froze and with the latest thaw has started leaking which kills my water pressure and keeps my pump running 24-7. Water pressure is so low I can only get water in the basement or I would just wait until the frost leaves to dig it up.

A backhoe won't touch this ground right now. I'm going to try using a post hole auger then heating with a weed burner.

Any thoughts or ideas - I'll need to get down 4-6 feet.
 

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Auger might work, good lord Matt I feel your pain and only thing comes to mind is auger holes then pick and shovel/carry ice chunks.
Or ditch witch if you can get one there? But if a back hoe won't touch it doubt a ditch witch will.
I feel your pain my friend

Chad
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thought of a jack hammer but it's not like concrete or rock a jack hammer would just poke holes in it. Not break up chunks like with concrete - it would actually be an easier job if it was covered in 12 inches of concrete
 

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Matt, rough row to hoe there man. It will take a good size hole to work down 4-6 feet. You might try a small propane heater under a barrel over where you want to dig. Work your way past the frost line.
 

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When I used to dig graves by hand, we had a steel shell that was about 4ft x 7ft and domed about 18". We placed a propane flame thrower type thing in the end and ran that for awhile to thaw the ground. I had to dig up my septic tube in January here in Michigan. I was able to do it with a hand shovel, was really suprised I was able to do it actually. Good luck!
 

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Matt, if the hose bib itself is leaking please don't kill yourself digging lol

There is a tool you could probably rent rather than buy, that uses CO2 that you can use to temporarily refreeze the pipe above ground before the bib.The ice plug you create will hold the pressure and you can then replace the leaking bib.
 

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Instead of a post hole auger you might try taking several pieces of rebar, sharpen up one end, drive them into the ground with a sledgehammer like big spikes near the pipe. Then heat the top of rebar with your weed burner.

You'll get better heat transfer between iron and frozen ground than you will between air and frozen ground.

How deep is your permafrost?

I froze a lot of pipes in our Maine house, never underground though.
 

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Patterson Enterprises Inc.10537 Rustic Rd, Missoula, Mt 59802
(406) 258-6783

"building the simplest and most economical ground thawing machine on the market"

Their version is a variation of some I've seen - heated hoses laid on the ground and covered with insulation of some kind. Sounds expensive, but who knows, maybe they have a rental or something.
 
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