You can pay up to twenty-five dollars for one. You can buy them in plastic or in copper. I use a wire coat hanger, but most people prefer a Y-shaped branch. I’m talking about dowsing rods or dowsing rods. These water witch tools help locate groundwater, gemstones and grave sites. . . or so they say.
Dip poles work whether you believe in them or not. I used a wire coat hanger that showed me where my sewer was. I didn’t believe it so I hired someone to dig out my garden to find my pipes. Why did I doubt?
I thought I knew what the problem was. In our garden we have a forest of Japanese knotweed, the invasive plant with an extensive root system. You cannot chop up the roots as this will only grow “artificial” bamboo. You can’t destroy it with a machete. It takes over the banks of the Puyallup River and both sides of the Puyallup-Auburn-Kent Valley. Lakes, ponds, creeks, and creeks are popular targets for this plant, which was brought to the northwest as a ground cover in the late 19th century.
I left a clogged sewer for my wife and flew to Los Angeles to produce a training video for sleeper workers on Amtrak. I recorded the train stations along the Los Angeles River. . . in the middle of summer. We’d turn off the air conditioning in the sleeping car so the microphones would only pick up the sound of our talent. We recorded for a few minutes and then turned the air conditioning back on and wiped off the sweat. I was staying at a nearby hotel, but one evening my daughter-in-law’s mother picked me up at the hotel and took me to the family home in Van Nuys for dinner. Brent and Nancy Kirkpatrick had sent their two daughters north to Pacific Lutheran University. When they got married and stayed north, the Kirkpatricks packed their bags and headed north as well.
When I got home I was greeted by a toilet in my yard and a pile of dirt that was as high as our deck. The sewer pipe was exactly where the divining rod was. In the end, we just wiped out the knotweed invasion, and when it happened the second time, we hired Pielak Plumbing to burst our pipes and lay in a brand new sewer line. Steve Pielak has probably the most experience with burst pipes, pipe lining, and trenchless water and sewerage on the west side of the county. We haven’t had a problem since then. – pielakplumbing.com
On the east side of the county, Dave Sipila with his company Maple Valley Plumbing is the king of drainage fields, septic tanks and sewer repairs. He’s a younger version of Steve Pilak and loves to ride his dirt bike, his family. He is a dedicated Rotarian. – maplevalleyplumbing.com
I haven’t used a dowsing rod lately, but we suggested it to our neighbor to the north. Although I prefer plastic hangers for clothes, I always make sure I have a wire hanger to save the day. I am a traditionalist. Fortune telling is considered a pseudoscience. There’s no scientific evidence that it actually works, but it worked for me. . . and you can never tell when you need groundwater, precious stones. . . or a lost grave.