I am installing a mainline for a residential lawn irrigation system. I laboriously dug down to the pipe leading to a yard hydrant, three feet deep. I installed a tee, and on the branch from the tee I installed a PVC ball valve and drain.

To winterize the system I will close the ball valve and purge the pipe downstream but I will need a way to access this valve from the ground surface. I propose a three foot length of six inch diameter DWV pipe.

Is this what is commonly done? (My arm is only so long) should I have used an expensive curb key valve?

Should I use ABS or PVC or whatever I can find? How should I cap this off?

  • Welcome to Home Improvement! Nicely done for your first question. I'm not an irrigation specialist, but it seems to me that most of the shut-offs I've seen are A) shallower than 3' down, and B) contained in a box with a lid designed for the purpose. I get that you already dug that deep, but you may want to look for some kind of box with removable lid to contain the shutoff valve to keep the dirt back and give you working room inside. While you're waiting for a more authoritative answer (not comment), take the tour and browse the help center so you know what to expect 'round here.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 13, 2020 at 11:34
  • As an after thought... If you have a curb key, you may want to see if it will operate the valve you purchased - it might just work on it. If so, that will at least fix the "my arm isn't long enough!" problem. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jul 13, 2020 at 11:35
  • @FreeMan he's talking about a yard hydrant, which goes 3 feet into the ground, not a surface level irrigation box
    – DAS
    Jan 19, 2021 at 8:16
  • @Hndygrl my curb key is ~3' long so that I don't have to bend over so much to turn the water off. In the OPs case, he might have been able to use it with the handle on the ground to reach the bottom of his 3' hole.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 19, 2021 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


I decided to install an A.Y. McDonald 6001 series brass stop and waste valve (for example, on Amazon, ASIN B003MXYJOU). Such units are much more expensive than a common valve, and I was hoping to avoid that expense. However situations like mine are just what they're designed for.

Reading other answers on the site, it is best to prioritize quality and reliability when making plumbing repairs in difficult to access locations.

  • Perhaps you could add a link to the valve you used so others who may need such a valve will be informed.
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 18, 2021 at 20:40
  • Thanks for coming back to let us know what you did! Please click the check-mark so others know this is resolved.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 19, 2021 at 11:44

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