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Author Topic: Good Underground Utility Detector?  (Read 1962 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Good Underground Utility Detector?
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2023, 08:41:52 AM »
I'm seeing some refurbished Dynatel's for a pretty decent price.  Or, I may just continue to use my excavator bucket to find them, look for spoil in the trench, and dig slowly.  

Here's a funny story about the water witching.  The first well I paid to drill, at $20 per foot, was put in by the guy who was on the cover of Alabama Cooperator magazine, declared as the "Best Water Witcher" in the state.  That's one reason I picked him, I figured I needed an expert on my side.

So I called him up, he dowsed me a hole, in the middle of my field, exactly where I didn't want it, and 200 feet later, he drilled me nothing but powder.  $4,000 of my bucks gone for nothing.  So I made him a deal.  Double or nothing.  I challenged him to drill me another hole, anywhere on the property he wanted, go to 200 ft (all the local wells are at 70 to 90) and if he hit water, I'd pay him for both holes, but if he drilled another dry hole, he got nothing.  So he witches and witches, even cuts a limb off a local tree and dowses some more and says "Here's the spot" and commences to drilling.  200 feet later, nothing but limestone powder.  He loses $8,000 and I lose two basketballs that I shoved in the holes to plug them.

Fast forward to my next farm, a decade later, the one I'm currently on, and I need a well.  However, this time, I call up the state geologist, they have analysis of all the shale types under my farm, records of all the other wells (depth and flow rate), water table levels, and I get them to look at satellite photos and the geologist points out all the places I will hit the water gravel bearing layer and how deep.  So with all that info, I call up a different driller, tell him nothing about the research I'd already done, and he witches and witches and picks a spot in the middle of my field, again.  I just say "No, I want the well right here, right next to my barn, next to my power outlet" and then proceed to tell him that he will hit water at 95 feet and it will be 7 gallons per minute."  He tells me "That's not how it works, you drill where the water is, not where you want the hole."  I tell him, nope, I want it right here.  He looks at me like I'm insane, but he sets the drill truck up, (it's my money) and at 97 feet, he hits 7 gallons per minute. He tells me he would offer me a job if I wanted it and how did I dowse the hole?  

I said, I used a telephone and a geologist. :D :D :D    





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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Good Underground Utility Detector?
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2023, 08:54:25 AM »
I still think drilling wells is a crapshoot with the best of gear.
 Our section has terrible water, lots of iron and some sulfur. More or less depending on the well. Where my house is built they did a bunch at once and the builder cut corners and the wells have proven to be 'marginal' over the last 40 years. The house up the hill and to my south had a poor one and finally during a dry summer, it went dry. SO the owner hired out for a new well to be drilled and what doo you know, they hit and artesian well at around 120'. He took out all his filtration equipment, and just added a storage tank and a pressure pump to get his system up to 60psi. The well itself would fill the tank at about 5gpm just with it's own pressure. It's the only one I know of around here within 25 miles. Crystal clear water too.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Good Underground Utility Detector?
« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2023, 10:44:21 AM »
I have very good water. Wife use to cook here to sell food. Have to have the water tested above what a homeowner would have to do. It passes every time. I think it has to be tested every year. We did it for 3 years.
I did not see the well truck. It set up, drilled down 40 feet with casing and then hit ledge. Went down another 100 feet and hit water, 40 gallons a minute. They thought it was going to flow over, never has.
The contractor that was building the house, told me as soon as the driver saw all the rocks, he knew he was going to hit water, lots of it.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Good Underground Utility Detector?
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2023, 11:35:58 AM »
 After seeing the abuse Dynatels get on the job and with the age of components I would be hesitant about buying a refurbished one. During my working life I did send a few in to get refurbished when they quit working. Sometimes they came back perfect but other times..

The reason the Dynatel is a professional machine is because of its advanced capability's, It can locate sheath faults, conductor to conductor faults, conductor to sheath faults along with a few other things. I dont think you need those features. The machine mentioned in my first post would probably be a better choice.

After that training and experience comes into play. Say two lines running parallel to each other 10 apart. Sometimes a machine will show a false line between those two..which results in cut cable. A single cable out in the middle of a field is a easy locate.

Dowsing for a water well is quite different from witching a buried utility and should not be talked about together. I can easily witch a line but finding water is not in my skill box.


Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.


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