Which direction is the water coming from?

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Scott Lange

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I run a wildlife center, and there has been water coming from under our building for two weeks. We have three valves in a hard-but-not-impossible-to-access crawlspace that are accessible via a panel in the floor. We're not exactly sure which of those valves does what, but when we turn them all off, there is no water to the house, so we assume one of them is the main shutoff valve. When we turn them off, the water continues to flow in teh front yard, so the leak is apparently between those valves and the meter at the street.

We rent the property, and our landlord has been digging in the front yard (between the valves and the street if you draw a straight line) to try to find the pipe without success. He's bringing in an excavator today to dig up the entire front yard. However, yesterday afternoon, someone more knowledgeable than me peaked under the floor panel, and suggested that the incoming water from the meter is actually coming to the valves from the back of the house - the direction opposite the straight line to the meter. If that's true, then the water pipe would have to be heading towards us from the street, turning off to one side, circling the house, and coming in from the back.

So my question for you: please look at this video and tell me which direction the water is coming in. You will see a brass colored bell-shaped thing that I think is the pressure regulator valve. You will also see the three valves (two with red handles and one with blue). Is the water coming from the street, to the bell, to the valves, and then to the rest of the house? Or is it coming from the street, through one of the colored valves, then to the bell, then to the rest of the house? Or some other configuration?

Thank you for any help y'all can provide! I can take more/better/different video or pictures if needed. (Sorry this isn't better but it's hard to see what I'm doing when I stick the camera in there.)
 

WorthFlorida

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Look at the pressure reducing valve, that gold color cone shape device. There will be an arrow indicating water flow direction or "in" "out" at each end.

From the video the PRV (below), water is flowing to the back, perhaps feeding outside spigots?

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Scott Lange

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Is this the marking you are talking about? (I don't see an "out" but this appears to be an "in" arrow.) If so, then the water goes from the street, through some combination of those valves and then to the PRV. Does that make sense? I would think the PRV would come before the valves for the house (but I know about 1% of what y'all know, so I certainly am not sure.)
prv.jpg

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hj

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You put the PRV in the line you want to reduce the pressure to, and you put it AFTER the valve so you can turn the water off to work on it. There is almost NO reason someone would pipe from the meter and circle the house to come in from the back side, but follow the pipe going into the PRV back to its source.
 

Scott Lange

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Makes sense. So if that's the case, what do the three valves before the PRV tell us? Is that three different places the water is going (like, "front of house", "back of house", "outdoors" or something), but only one of them is covered by the PRV? So the other two are "unregulated" pressure?
 

Reach4

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One could be for irrigation/outdoors. Is there another building with water?
 

Cacher_Chick

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It would be common to have unregulated pressure going to hose spigots. Normally the municipality would be able to identify where the line comes off the water main, and it would be a reasonably straight line from there to the meter.
 

Scott Lange

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There is no other building, but there are outdoor hose spigots - quite a few actually, as I suspect we may have added some outside over the years to let us clean all the outdoor animal enclosures. So everything y'all are saying makes sense - now it's just a matter of trying to find where along that line the leak is.

Thank you!
 
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