#113 – A Follow Up to Underground: How to Repair a Broken PIV Stem

by Jasen Buddemeier and Tom Doty

In May a Fire Tech Tip was shared on the Fire Tech Productions Website regarding underground piping. In a conversation we had as a follow up to underground pipes with our Instructor, Jasen Buddemeier, his advice was: First, “Never start an underground job on Friday!”

Once the job is underway it is good to know the following… every PIV has a handle, housing, a stem, a flag assembly, and a valve.

In the past, every stem was 1” solid square steel stock. Some manufacturers now make a stem that is hollow square stock. There are several possibilities that can contribute to a premature failure of this type of stem: rain, lawn sprinklers, snow melt, high natural ground water level (depending on your geographical location) etc., which in return causes the water to follow the ditch line (the path of least resistance). Then, the water seeps into the valve housing. With the hollow stem, the water eventually rusts through making it necessary to dig up and fix.

An Alternate Repair Plan:

  1. Fix the problem without digging it up.
  2. Pull the top off the PIV, take a piece of 1” solid square stock approximately 8’ long (equal to the length of your post) this will slide down inside the hollow square. Next, take a 4” piece of the existing hollow stem… then, slide the solid square stock into the existing hollow portion approximately 2” — drill through and pin. After that, on the opposite end, install the indicator drill and pin this end too. Finally, drop the assembly into the PIV casing, measure and cut to fit.

This repair will buy you some time!