Old 05-30-2018, 07:36   #1
Golf1echo
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Spring Fed Water System

Currently working on revamping a spring fed water system and wanted to seek any advice.

The system has two spring boxes, one of which is dry...they are connected. They then run into two aprox. 300 gal tanks connected in a series. and then into the distribution pipes.

Phase 1: is to replace the primary water tank, rebuild the working spring box with a collar that extends the box above the surface and build serviceable non treated wood cover ( the idea is to keep the underground water source underground so it has less chance of being contaminated by surface run off/ fecal matter from the animals, and eliminate the possibility of small creatures crawling inside ). Treat the spring, water system, and distribution system with bleach, flush and test.

Phase 2: Replace the secondary water/ settling tank and connect to the other tank.

Seems like a testing schedule should be made to understand what levels of contamination might be at issue?

Note the system will hopefully be potable but if that is not the case water will furnish toilets and or provide water that can be boiled...

There is also a hand dug well and that will also be tested to see what water quality is. The tricky part there is I guess I will need a pump to get that water circulating, treat it and monitor. The rise from the bottom of the well to the fixtures is aprox. 30'...not sure what that pump will need to be? I do know with the well it will need to be insulated and pipes run under the frost line ( aprox. 3') for a year round water source.

Fixing the seasonal spring system is primarily to grandfather it and as a seasonal supply.

Any insights will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:21   #2
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Golf,
Only second hand information about the spring. The boxes get contaminated, I haven't seen that system improved more than enclosing. Here springs are touchy sometimes when worked around they stop running. As far as the well we have a 1/2 horse stainless pump 100' down that brings water up the well bore and all the way uphill to our tank about 500 yards no problem. A solar pump system would likely work. We only get to the teens for low temps some folks use heat tape and pump houses to keep from freezing.
For drinking and cooking we use a water distiller, takes 5 to 6 hours to make 1 gallon of clean water. We run 2 and stay ahead of our water use. Back to my lane.

V/R

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Old 05-30-2018, 08:23   #3
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Sounds like a plan..

Suggestion(s)

If it was my system,, I would pipe the two 300G tanks in parallel rather than series. My thinking is that would allow maintenance on one while the other maintains flow,, and during low water seasons, there would be less "bottom of the tank spoilage"

Additionally,, What is your flow rate? 600G is a big reserve. Given a family of four,, maybe almost a weeks worth? Might want to keep one inline and the other offline?

And use excess flow to run a gen-set??

My $00.0000002
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Old 05-30-2018, 13:29   #4
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JJ great eye for detail! Once I took out the one tank I noticed a bunch of pipe and valves...it seemed my Grandfather did just that, there is a pipe and valve going to the second tank and there is also a pipe which bypasses the second tank. I kept wondering why two pipes are potentially feeding one supply line, pressure, supply however the thought of two tanks working independently didn't occur to me.

It is one of the few canyons with water both as a creek flowing part way before it goes beneath the gravel from a flood in 1930's and with springs in the ravines. I suspect the Water Works were built in the later part of the 30's. So as to usage, between 6 or so cabins use would be considered low, occasional sink use, toilets, etc... as to flow from the spring I'm sure it is different depending on rains.

I would love to develop some hydro but probably from the creek.

RC in WNC there are many spring systems and I know they are variable with season and water tables changing. There seems to be an eco system that exists around healthy springs like crickets and craw daddies, while it is not an accurate indicator I was pleased to see the crickets.

So with the spring box it looks like there was a ditch on the uphill side to drain away surface water, it is about 6' behind and needs cleaning out, this should channel much of the surface contamination away from the spring box as well as building a lip around it. The existing tanks are aprox. 270 gal and the new tanks are 300 gal. The system is low profile so it is working on a relatively small elevation change at the Water Works then it drops down a good bit. I am removing years of dead brush and fallen trees above the water tanks to eliminate habitat for animals and will work the drainage so that hard rains will not flow over the tanks into the storage.

One question I may play with is to create a bio filter of sorts around the spring boxes with sand, perhaps that would further treat contaminates?

My house in WNC has a well and uses a 220 pump at the bottom then a pressure tank under the house. I do not have 220 electric just yet...it is a simple 110 probably less than 60 amps. It would be nice if I could use a solar powered pump for the well, I know there are limitations just don't remember the lift capacities.
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Old 05-30-2018, 13:33   #5
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What kind of critters living under that spruce?
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Old 05-30-2018, 13:50   #6
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Exactly...that drainage can't enter the water tanks. only tea and coffee should be that color
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Old 05-30-2018, 14:26   #7
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I'd be planning a move for those tanks
OR
Get someone in to chop that sucker down..


A good gust of wind will push it over with a little more undercut.
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Old 05-30-2018, 21:14   #8
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As others have said I would move the tanks down hill if that is where the water needs to be used. Preferably on a raised platform so you have gravity pressure does not need to be a lot if just used for toilets and washing dishes.

First thing I would do before I did anything would be hook a 12v surface water pump ran off a car battery and see what refill rates I have in the spring vs GPM pumping and filling of my tanks. if you just goto a farm store and get a cattle water pump or RV pump of around 1-5 GPM flow rate bout $50-70 bucks this will give you a idea if the spring can keep up with demand. No use going out and buying a system if your pump ends up on the bottom of a empty spring sucking in mud. 3GPM flow would be 180 Gallons per hour so would fill your water containers in less than 4 hours on solar if the spring could keep up.

If the well or spring is good and serviceable I would divert the run off with gutter pipes above the spring no need to get crazy just dig a 1-2 foot trench excess dirt to the down hill side throw in the pipe and cover with pea gravel this should keep most of the run off from the hill from sending stuff into the spring box. (unless you have a flash flood coming down the hill this wont work)
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:20   #9
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7624U Good ideas, the 12v pump would be a great addition...maybe even work for a solar application at the well and also for pumping water out from the creek. It would be good to know the flow rates and variations throughout the season.

The tank location will have to stay for now, the Water Works are located on a shelf of ground that was not taken away with the flood in the 30's it is elevated from the creek and the cabins below...the first one being aprox. 200yds down the canyon. The bank drops off on the right down to the creek ( image looking up canyon towards spring boxes.) ... there also seems to be a secondary system for filling tanks with creek water in drought conditions, maybe get that up and running again and it would be nice if it had it's own line...that would be good for hydro as well.

Have saws and will cut what is necessary. Hope to finish up with phase 1 replacing tank 1.

Of course fire mitigation and prevention is always on our minds. My long term goal is to do what I can regarding this...
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:03   #10
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You might consider totes over the stock tanks for a more sealed and sanitary system.

Two men can move one empty.

Shouldn't run more than $100 each, used. Just make sure they are food grade and did not contain anything you wouldn't want to drink.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:33   #11
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Are you wanting to keep the historic water system for a fully-working everyday water source, or is it more for nostalgia value? The reason I ask is that, as you have several springs in the area, the water table is going to be pretty close to the surface. I recently drilled a well for a new home build, and I think I paid about $6500 for a fully encased 220-foot well. The water quality and output is well beyond what I require for both human and livestock use.

My question is whether you are going to run an AC or DC system. If you are running AC, then you can drill a well and drop an electric pump therein, buy a $300 reverse osmosis system if you have well contamination issues, and purchase a hand pump to mount on top of the well for extended periods of power outage. If you're running DC, the new solar-powered well pumps are just pretty impressive.

A problem with trying to use surface water is that you need to own the entire hillside, and even then just one hiccup can wholly compromise your water supply. That's beside the fact that dry weather can really diminish your supply.

I love to tinker with this type of stuff, especially if it was built long ago, and this sounds like a fun project.
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:30   #12
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Some very good inputs here! Made me step back and consider the different ideas. In the end I'll probably incorporate most of them.

Craig that helps put a lot of things into perspective. The system originated sometime in the 30's-40's...a time when springs were more prevalent. Indeed it is plumbed as JJ said where each tank operates individually and are tied together for aprox 540 gal ( new system with 2 tanks will be closer to 600 gal, after phase 2 is complete). We are currently in drought conditions spring output was aprox. 1 gal per 40 seconds with an interesting surge every 16 seconds hence the reservoir volume. It will be interesting to check that after a rain. It appears the low profile troughs were used to accommodate the gradual fall from the spring boxes before the shelf of land ran out. The new tank on the bottom end is now full of crystal clear water and holds just at the rim of the tank. Water level at spring box is 14" below ground level.

It appears the springs may be moving around I will probably build a clandestine system above the original and use totes there instead. Longer story as to why...

Today springs are not allowed in the area but since this one is grandfathered I am rebuilding the parts, which I have to admit has been a humbling experience which has included shopping at 4 different businesses in two different locals. Lots of fitting old plumbing to whats available today, cleaning old rusted threads, and a mix of nylon, rubber, galvanized, and poly piping and trying not to reduce any of the system beyond the capacity.

I will post a few images when able.
Thank you all for the feedback!
New Tank filling, One of the helpers...not the bear, water at the tap!
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:18   #13
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Hand dug well aprox. 18' deep tiles were lowered with pulley system and tripod made of pipe, Rock pit in moist shaded area had water plumbed to it to act as a cooler in the early days a more recent version for milk.

You can see part of the hand pump but will run water line under frost level insulate well, probably a small building to encapsulate it.
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