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Divining Rods

 When I did distribution work, one of my foremen claimed that he could locate buried water lines using divining rods.

This refers to an old tradition of a “gifted” person with the ability to “divine’ where water was underground. It was common in the rural Southern Appalachian Mountains to have someone “divine” where to dig a well. 

So, everyone whom I observed around this gentleman was a little skeptical, including myself. Few, if any, debated the topic with him because he had a very short fuse. And besides, what difference could it make?

One day we were at the dead-end point of a reconductoring job and needed to install a double helix 10" anchor. My foreman had not gotten locates (which was a new concept at the time). He personally held the shaft on the installation tool and put it on the ground. At about 5’ we went through a 16” or 18” water main. 

 It took the water company an hour to turn off the water. We put a crossarm on the side of the road (held in place by the outrigger of the digger truck) to divert the water. 

There was enough pressure to move dirt and gravel to the nearest low spot, an intersection with a traffic light. The shop brought out wheelbarrows which we used to remove all the sediment from the road.

Just one of many adventures with this gifted foreman!

Dick Weaver – Retired Lineman


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