How to find the source of a spring?
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    Oscar Leroy's Avatar
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    How to find the source of a spring?

    The family we bought our land from told us that there was a spring located in a general area that they used to water livestock. We are interested in developing it as a usable backup water source. This past weekend we walked up the valley looking for the source without much luck.

    At the bottom of the valley we found pipe that they used, still in the ground. We walked uphill and there were plenty of holes in the ground where we could see and hear running water, an underground stream. But it's apparent that a lot of silt and dirt have settled over everything, and grass and moss is covering everything (along with downed trees, multiflora rose bushes, blackberry thickets, etc). It makes it difficult to figure out where it starts.

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    Anyone have any tips for tracing the flow of the water farther up to the source?
    Last edited by Oscar Leroy; 04-01-2019 at 09:55 PM.

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    Any chance of hooking up an airline and blasting it back with air? Or even a garden hose might help? Also, perhaps putting some dye in the line first so you would know for sure???? Just thinking outside the box.
    Last edited by Toughsox; 04-01-2019 at 10:03 PM.
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    underground water is following the path of least resistance ......since many things can affect a spring its extremely difficult to "find" a spring.......its common to try to open up a existing spring and sometimes that digging or blasting activity can disturb the ground enough to block the spring......

    my suggestion would be in the height of your wet season mark wet suspect areas with flagging .....then as things dry up focus in on the main wet area.......always best to search during highest flow wet season

    if you have a old metal pipe system...use a metal detector to follow it to source....many times old timers woud stick pipe in a spring crevice and seal around it and then flow it to a trough or basin that was more in a more convenient location (could stick metal like a plumbers snake or wire up your plastic piece then follow it with detector or hand dig it)

    LOVE THAT MULTIFLORA ROSE ....ugggggg
    Last edited by ttazzman; 04-02-2019 at 12:45 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toughsox View Post
    Any chance of hooking up an airline and blasting it back with air? Or even a garden hose might help? Also, perhaps putting some dye in the line first so you would know for sure???? Just thinking outside the box.
    I might have a chance with air, interesting thought. The garden hose is out, as I don't have a water source within .1 miles (with the exception of the spring ). The thought of some sort of dye to insert upstream did occur to me but I'm not sure how to go about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ttazzman View Post
    underground water is following the path of least resistance ......since many things can affect a spring its extremely difficult to "find" a spring.......its common to try to open up a existing spring and sometimes that digging or blasting activity can disturb the ground enough to block the spring......

    my suggestion would be in the height of your wet season mark wet suspect areas with flagging .....then as things dry up focus in on the main wet area.......always best to search during highest flow wet season

    if you have a old metal pipe system...use a metal detector to follow it to source....many times old timers woud stick pipe in a spring crevice and seal around it and then flow it to a trough or basin that was more in a more convenient location (could stick metal like a plumbers snake or wire up your plastic piece then follow it with detector or hand dig it)

    LOVE THAT MULTIFLORA ROSE ....ugggggg
    The pipe all seems to be PVC, but the idea of sending wire up and looking for it with a metal detector is intriguing. That could also give me an idea of how far from the end of the pipe the source is too (assuming I have a long enough wire).

    Thanks for the feedback, it's very much appreciated.
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    Witch It

    I've successfully used witching to map an underground stream on my property. I've also used it to find buried power lines, gas lines, sewer and drain lines, water mains, etc. There are lots of "how-to" videos on YouTube. If you'd like some personal instruction, please PM me.
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    If you have limestone underground, like our area has,,,
    water can come up, and disappear at a whim,,

    Mess with it too much, it can easily go away, to only flow underground.

    The property next to me has seven springs,, all act differently,,

    Only one flows ALL the time,, it is coming out of a hillside, so it is deep, as springs go.
    the other six can dry up, or move,,,

    Be careful,,,,
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    Another thought that we've used to find flowing water underground (locating a leak in an underground PVC pipe):
    Use a stethescope. A good stethescope will let you hear the water flowing and you can move up/down the
    path of the flow until the sound changes.... (my wife the RN figured this out when all the plumbers wanted thousands to
    find the leak in the underground water line from the meter to the house - most only wanted to replace it without finding the leak,
    she found it with her stethescope, I dug it up and $10 worth of pvc fittings fixed it right up)
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    One more potential idea:

    There are cameras that take thermal pictures. I would guess that the ground would be cooler where the water was flowing, either at the surface or below it. I don't know if you can rent these. It might be expensive to buy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by keane View Post
    I've successfully used witching to map an underground stream on my property. I've also used it to find buried power lines, gas lines, sewer and drain lines, water mains, etc. There are lots of "how-to" videos on YouTube. If you'd like some personal instruction, please PM me.
    i'm here to say water witching works. at our old house where i grew up at. the well their sucked big time, as a kid growing up, we had little water.

    so when we bought my home place from my dad, i got one of the local neighbors to come out and witch it for me. 14 ft from old well, he hit what he called a double stream, at 59 ft deep we hit a gusher, over 25 gpm-drill guy couldn't blow it dry that day. and we was in a drought at the time too. our old well was only 55 ft deep, right at the layer of the rock, all them yrs we could of had more water maybe if the old fella who pounded the well for my dad, had had a newer drill rig back then, we might not of suffered so bad. but hey we survived-right.

    so yelp water witching does work. i paid the fella with several quarts of the wife's canned food. he was really tickled with that.
    a book i had read back then about witching, claimed if u paid in cash, well would go dry, probably a old wives tale
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJim55 View Post
    i'm here to say water witching works. at our old house where i grew up at. the well their sucked big time, as a kid growing up, we had little water.

    so when we bought my home place from my dad, i got one of the local neighbors to come out and witch it for me. 14 ft from old well, he hit what he called a double stream, at 59 ft deep we hit a gusher, over 25 gpm-drill guy couldn't blow it dry that day. and we was in a drought at the time too. our old well was only 55 ft deep, right at the layer of the rock, all them yrs we could of had more water maybe if the old fella who pounded the well for my dad, had had a newer drill rig back then, we might not of suffered so bad. but hey we survived-right.

    so yelp water witching does work. i paid the fella with several quarts of the wife's canned food. he was really tickled with that.
    a book i had read back then about witching, claimed if u paid in cash, well would go dry, probably a old wives tale
    I also know that works Jim, I never believed it until I tried a water departments set. The old timer had a set of two steel rods that went thru two pieces of brass tubes that were bent to a 90.. You hold them out straight by the brass tubes and low and behold they move together when they sense water, iron etc. It was hard to decipher what you were really detecting.. Lots of iron around here which is like a magnet to the steel rods.. But we did find lots of water on the property I was literally blown away that I could make the things work and I'm not a dowser. ( I believe anyone can use them) I've seen the apple stick thing where you split the twig and pull the two halves apart and never believed that either and I have never tired that one but the old dudes say it works and after using the metal version I have to say I believe them now. ( If the Waltons could do it, it has to be true) The water department uses them to find water shut offs instead of a metal detector??? Why? Old fashioned guy I would have to say. and frugal with department money and also to make people say,, hey that really works!. Never distrust an old tool that farmers came up with out of necessity. and JIm, never doubt an old wives tale!
    It may be hard to find the origin of this spring though.. As a past contractor and heavy equipment operator we have found springs just by moving a boulder with a dozer.. My pond was filled with a spring after moving a boulder the size of a cadillac and it runs constantly, in fact the pond over one of the springs never freezes in the winter.
    I wish good luck to Oscar. But be careful as one poster stated, you could lose the spring if it is disturbed.
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