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Livestock Pipeline Maintenance

Livestock Pipeline Maintenance

by Martin W. Gugelman, Civil Engineering Technician
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Scott City, Kansas

Have you recently installed or are you planning to install a livestock pipeline on your land?

A properly installed livestock pipeline can become out of sight and out of mind�the tanks at the end of the pipeline just magically sit full of water ready for your livestock to drink. With some periodic maintenance, this can be the scenario for many years to come.

A good maintenance plan should include inspection of the trench for settlement every spring, fall, and after any significant rainfall event. If settlement occurs and is not backfilled, the pipe could settle and break, or freeze and break in the winter. Either of these things will prove far more costly to repair than backfilling the trench as needed.

Another important item to inspect is any air/vacuum relief valves. These should be inspected to ensure that they are not leaking, and that there are no obstructions that could inhibit air from passing in or out of the valve.

While doing this inspection it would also be a good time to inspect the well and tank sites. The well should be checked for leaks and to see that it is operating at the appropriate pressure. The tank site should be inspected to ensure that the tank has not been damaged and that the float or overflow is operating as planned to prevent mud holes and wasted water.

These few maintenance items should take a small amount of time and could save you a lot of time and money over the life of your pipeline system.

For more information about maintenance of livestock pipelines, please contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office or conservation district office located at your local county USDA Service Center. To learn more about NRCS, visit the Kansas NRCS Web site at

This article is also available in Microsoft Word format.

Livestock Pipeline Maintenance (DOC; 47 KB)