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Will a vertical PVC pipe in a pond be damaged by ice?

Home Forums Infrastructure and Equipment Will a vertical PVC pipe in a pond be damaged by ice?

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      Jeff Campbell

        I have been using a game camera to photograph a stage gauge around midday to collect water depth data. A secondary us is potential plant phenology analysis. Historically, water depth has ranged from zero to 70 cm or so and the pool has been dry until January or later.

        This worked well until the tree to which the camera was attached died. To keep the camera angle the same, I used a 2″ PVC pipe with 4 1 inch pipe legs at about a 45 degree angle. I used tent stakes to attach the end of the legs to the ground.

        To my surprise, the water is currently over 80 cm (record breaking rainfall in calendar year 2018). I am concerned about freezing with most of the legs underwater. 1) I know that water freezing in PVC pipe can cause the pipe to burst. 2) Do I need to be concerned about ice forces that might shift or topple the vertical camera pole?

        Freezing in pipe:

        I assume the ice will not be too thick. I think one bad winter the ice as at most 6″ thick. This will leave plenty of liquid in the pipe. Since the water level in the pool and pipe should be about the same, I am hoping that the forces inside and outside of the pipe will offset each other. Is that reasonable? Do crest stage gauges survive the winter if surrounded by ice?

        Ice movement
        I doubt there will be much ice movement since it is in a forested area. Next year, I would put something heavy at the base of the pole and perhaps on the legs to inhibit movement. With 80 cm of water I can’t think of any good way to carefully position additional weights. Any thought or ideas?

        Thanks, Jeff

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