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Concrete slab under grass


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Hi. We live in an old orange grove. We still have many orange trees (around 20) in our almost one-acre property. Today we were digging up in the back of the yard in the hopes of clearing weeds and planting two new fruit trees. It appears there's a 10-foot by 10-foot concrete slab under the dirt. It's about four inches thick. Near the middle is a round area about the size of a dinner plate, and surrounding this round area are five or six long things sticking out of the concrete, what my husband thinks are threaded screws. (We were digging in the dark after the kids went to bed, hoping there would be a clear marking on the concrete. Nope.) Anyway, my husband thinks this is the foundation of a long-ago-used piece of machinery or something used for irrigation. We currently have flood irrigation but not in this area of the yard. This area is elevated by less than a foot. Below is grass and fruit trees.

1) Can anyone guess what this is?

2) How do we get it out?

Thanks, Bonnie

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Sure, a septic tank has a lid that is normally about 2' square. Once it's removed, smart people get far away while the septic guy crams a hose into the mess and sucks it out.

That doesn't sound like your situation. Your hubby could be right about some machinery being attached to the threaded bolts. Were there any indications along the perimeter that walls might have been in place? Perhaps a small shed? (Got pics?)

Demolition/removal isn't terrible, but it is labor intensive. If the concrete is reinforced, or if it is high-density, then the job is a little tougher. "Normal" concrete is about 150 lbs/cu. ft. and that's probably what you are looking at.

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Hi Bonnie,

Call Chris Prickett or Scott Warga. They are inspectors in your area and they'll most-probably be familiar with what you've found. I don't have their phone numbers available, but you should be able to find them on the inspector search feature at http://www.ashi.org. Just plug in your city and submit the search and it should pull them up.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Jackhammers? Nice idea, but I'd be getting the guy w/the biggest front end loader in the 'hood. That, and a cutting torch.

If it's an equipment mount, which it's gotta be, you probably got multiple layers of reinforcing mesh or rebar, all tied & detailed into the mounting bolts. That complicates things. A lot. Jackhammers aren't going to do much other than make holes.

Especially in a 7" slab.

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Originally posted by Bonnie Trenga

Thanks. It's actually seven inches thick.

Around nearby groves I've seen cylindrical cisterns so that's probably what it was.

How do we get it out?

A seven-inch-thick slab is not fun to break up and remove with a jackhammer. You might consider hiring a small backhoe and truck.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Bonnie Trenga

Hubby just spoke with a neighbor, who thinks it is the remnants of a windmill used to warm up the citrus trees when there was a frost. If it was gas or electric powered, would you think there'd still be a still-active gas or electric line? We don't want to blow up anything.

What a pain!!

You ought to be able to get the local utilities to do a locate for free. Call them in the morning.

Frankly, though, if there were electricity or gas you ought to see an electric box cover or a gas stub near the bolts somewhere.

Another thought: Rent out the slab to a cell-phone company. AT&T might pay you $30k per year to have a cell tower there.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Bonnie,

The concrete may be from an old windmill, however I have never seen a windmill in that area. If I was to guess, I would think it's a mount from an irrigation pump. More than likely there is an old well in the area. Some old pumps are driven by windmill, however it could be electric.

You may want to call Arizona Blue Stake and have them come out and check the area first. http://www.azbluestake.com/main/main/index.html

Jeff Euriech

Peoria Arizona

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