Every once in a while somebody has to use a large-diameter siphon to bail water out of a hole, to drain a tank or to empty a boat full of water. In my case I had a 14-ft. deep hole that I needed to drain so that I could install a wooden enclosure around what would eventually be a surface well. The flow into the hole was about 40 gallons a minute — substantially more than a garden hose could handle.
I had on hand a section of 2-in. flexible plastic pipe, about 70 ft. long. I drilled a small hole near one end of the pipe for a piece of wire. Then I tied a chunk of heavy iron to the wire so that one end of the pipe would quickly sink to the bottom of my hole when it came time to start the siphon. I laid out the rest of the pipe down the hill from the hole.
Now the task at hand was to start the water flowing. Anyone who has ever attempted to start a siphon (especially a large-diameter one) knows that it can be an exasperating experience. To get this siphon going, my son and I ran a long wire through the length of the pipe. Then we tied a small-diameter rope to the wire, and pulled it through the pipe. To the rope dangling from the end to be submerged, I knotted a wad of rag from an old shirt. When I pulled on the rope at the opposite end, the rag entered the pipe, making a seal. I then threw the weighted end of the pipe into the water, and I held onto the pipe while my son made a mad dash downhill with the rope, pulling the cloth plug and a column of water behind it through the siphon. The water started flowing immediately, and the hole was drained in about two hours.
Mark White, Kodiak, AK