Vintage Pipe Repair

There is a water pipe, or two of them maybe, that run(s) from two water collection points in Little Cottonwood Canyon and down into the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area, where the water that it transports is treated and then used in the municipal water supply.  Sometimes the pipe is underground, sometimes running directly next to the stream on the bank, crossing the stream suspended by steel cables, on pylons from one creek bank to a nearby hillside where it disappears again, or somewhere else between stream and trail, tucked away among the various trees and brush that populate the wooded area on the mountain-side.  I’m not sure when the water collection points were built, but it appears to have been several decades ago.

On one of my hikes this past winter, I found a sheet of muddy ice that extended down the trail for 30 or 40 yards, until it veered off into the brush.  Continuing up the trail, I discovered that the pipe had burst and the water ran unchecked for some time.  I don’t know if the controllers at the main water collection point downstream noticed a decrease in pressure, or if a hiker notified the authorities that they had sprung a serious leak, or what, but I saw that the pipe had been repaired, and after examining it, didn’t think much more about it.  The technicians used a novel method that did not involve removing the split pipe and replacing it with another section.  It was composed of a metal band that appeared to press a rubberized material against the gash, all bolted down secure and working as designed.

So…where am I going with all of this?  A couple of weekends ago, one of my older sons and I were returning from a hike up into the canyon  and my son happened to see a large section of pipe that had been removed from the main pipeline.  It had been tossed into the brush and allowed to remain there…for what appears to have been many, many years.  The section of pipe was likely removed because of a leak that refused to remain repaired….  The failed old-school repair has provided a beautiful nursery for life….

And lastly, this is the repair from winter of 2011…quite an advance in pipe-repair technology….

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32 responses

  1. Cool photos!!

    May 8, 2012 at 7:12 am

    • Thank you, Mary Lou. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

  2. Gorgeous. I wonder how the new one will age…

    May 8, 2012 at 7:15 am

    • Thank you, Helen…I’m not too hopeful for the new one…I don’t think it has the characteristics that would lend itself to aging beautifully. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

  3. “a beautiful nursery for life”. –what a beautiful essay you have here.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

    • Thank you, dear CJ. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

  4. Nice details, textures, and composition. I like the old stuff . . . probably identify with it as well.

    Probably the basis for the following observation . . . the new repair may be high-tech, innovative, and advanced, but it lacks character.

    May 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

    • Thank you for the nice words, Emilio…and I agree with you about the new repair…I don’t think it has the ability to age with character as the old one did. It’s amazing, sometimes, what we leave behind as we move forward…. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:13 am

  5. Thank you for another stunning series of images!

    May 8, 2012 at 8:05 am

    • You are welcome, Madhu…and thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 8:14 am

  6. An interesting post Scott and some smashing pictures. When they started putting wind turbines out to sea here, the eco brigade were up in arms, prophesising the end of marine life as we know it. However, the turbines have provided, as you so eloquently put it, a nursery for life. Nature is opportunistic as you have illustrated so nicely. 🙂

    May 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

    • Thank you, Chillbrook…I’m sure the marine life loved their new homes among the turbine pylons…and opportunistic, indeed…and beautifully, too. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  7. Love images like these!!! Great series!

    May 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

    • Thank you, Lazaro. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  8. This is interesting. Excellent Pictures. I’ve seen old water pipes that were made of wood staves and steel bands that looked much like a barrel. What I can’t believe is that they leave the pipes above ground in winter! No wonder they split open! Here we have to bury them below the frost line, which means at least 4 feet deep. Stiil, every now and then one will burst in the winter. Great story.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

    • Thank you, Allen. I found it incredible that they would still collect the water in the winter, but they appear to do so…maybe they think the water is flowing too quickly to freeze…I have no idea. I’ve never seen the old pipes that you speak of, but have read about them…or they’ve been in things I’ve read, rather. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

  9. I do love these photos!

    May 8, 2012 at 11:42 am

    • I’m so glad you do, Bonnie…thank you. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  10. Great set of shots Scott.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

  11. That’s a really fine collection of mosses and lichens. It goes to show that nature will eventually colonise everywhere, even somewhere as ostensibly inhospitable as a cast iron pipe. I wonder how long it will take for the repair to become colonised too.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    • Thank you, Finn…and it appears that the mosses and lichens have mostly colonized on the wooden slats that were used to block the leak in the pipe. Yes, there are lichen on the iron, as well, but the moss appears to be on the wood. I’m not sure that the newer repair technology will support the mosses…but maybe the lichen…it seems that the new panel is made of aluminum and likely won’t rust and become porous as it ages. But I’ll make sure I get back out there often to give updates…and hopefully for several more years. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm

  12. I really like the images of the new life growing in the old pipe. It is really amazing how something will always grow.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    • It is quite amazing, Leanne…thank you. 🙂

      May 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm

  13. victoriaaphotography

    Great photos, Scott.
    One of the photo subjects I particular enjoy viewing is close-ups of textures and/or plant life.
    The smaller details around us look so interesting when viewed through the camera lens.

    I certainly don’t remember doing so, but I wonder if I was the sort of child who went around looking at everything in my backyard with a magnifying glass.

    May 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    • Thank you, Victoria…and those smaller details certainly are interesting, aren’t they…quite compelling.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  14. This is really cool. That looks like a very good repair as long as the rest of the remaining old pipe is not too fragile yet. I loved your photos of nature reclaiming the old section of pipe.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    • Thank you, Montucky…and yes, I would imagine that a pipe can only handle so many repairs until it’s time to completely replace it. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of nature reclaiming it’s place. 🙂

      May 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

  15. This is so cute!. life can appear anywhere and grow!. The close ups are so pretty.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:53 am

    • I thought it was pretty remarkable, Pattu…and yes, it can appear anywhere and grow…amazing. Thank you 🙂

      May 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

  16. George Weaver

    Scott, I can’t load pages because of my ISP’s inept repairs at my house, but I got this one. Lord, Man, what photography! I haven’t been here in a long time for some Mad Cow reason. This is some of the very best photography I’ve ever seen, and I look at a lot of it. Besides being extraordinary photography, the subject matter is pure social commentary. Mat and frame these shots in archival materials for your grandchildren. Promise me you will do that! I will be spending some real time here when my box is fixed.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

    • Well, thank you so much, George…how very nice of you. I thought you might have been gone for a bit…hope you get your ISP-repairs really repaired soon…I always look forward to your visits. 🙂 And yes, I will tuck these away for the grandkids. Thank you 🙂

      May 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

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