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  #1  
Old 07/30/07, 08:59 AM
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Location: SW Oregon
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Holding tank / pressure tank questions

Hi all. Well, we thought our water problems were solved when the owners had a 2500 gallon holding tank installed. That, combined with the small pressure tank, should keep us in water even if the well is between 1/2-1 gallon per minute. They even put in 1800 gallons of water from a truck to get us started.

That was Wednesday, and things have seemed fine, until this morning. We went camping over the weekend, and came home last night, and there was water, and pressure, but I did notice that it seemed like the 2nd load of laundry took a LONG time to finish.

This morning, I went to do a load of laundry, and very little water coming out. Checked the sink, and low, to no pressure, and little water.

Out to the pumphouse, and pressure tank is reading 20psi, instead of 45 psi.

I went and checked all the hoses and automatic waterers, nothing appeared to be leaking, but I turned them all off just to be safe. The raised beds in the garden do appear to have been very well watered, but I'm pretty sure I had that timer set to go on at 6am for 15 minutes.

Anyway, spent about 20 minutes walking around, messing with hoses and stuff, and when I was done, pressure still at only 20psi. I'm giving it a while, then will check again, but here's my questions:

1. As long as there's water in the holding tank, would I be losing pressure at all? (I know that a pressure tank will go down to a preset level before cranking up again, but I think ours is 30/50.)

2. How do you tell how much water is in your holding tank? I felt the sides, but I can't tell any difference (ours is sitting above ground). (I would think, being gone 2 days, that without a major leak somewhere, it should be between half-full and full)

I'm feeling panicky, and thinking about calling out the water truck guys again. I just do not have time to be out of water (or pressure) any MORE! I lost so much time these last 4 weeks dealing with this thing, I HAVE to get my watering, planting, and canning done!!

Thanks for any input!!

Tracey Mouse

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  #2  
Old 07/30/07, 09:29 AM
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Did you check the breakers to see if the pump has power?

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  #3  
Old 07/30/07, 09:57 AM
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Yes, pump has power, because you can hear it (or something mechanical in there!) running. I got smart, and thumped on the tank, top to bottom, and it is as hollow and empty as can be. Called the water truck - they're bringing 2000 gallons out sometime today.

I am going to have to try and track all the water we use. I couldn't find any leaks anywhere, but from here on out, outside faucet will be closed and automatic waterers turned off. I will manually water everyone, and write down when, how much, how long, etc. It will be a pain, but I just can't figure out any other way.

Will also keep working on the blankety-blank-blank spring. Two miles of old, leaky hose, and a nightmare - but lots of water at the end of the ordeal, if I can make it that far!

Off to try and get some seedlings in before it gets hot.

Tracey Mouse

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  #4  
Old 07/30/07, 11:14 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Your frustration is understandable.

You now have 2 seperate water systems, and you will need to identify which one is causing problems.

Your well pump will slowly fill the big holding tank. How does it operate? Was it ever turned on???? Does it run on a float? It might be off, or it might have run out of water, or burned up the pump, or.....

Your pressure pump takes water from the holding tank & pressurizes your water system. If it has been running, trying to make pressure with an empty holding tank, I think that is bad news for the pump.... Oh boy.


On a new setup like this, someone needs to see that all parts of it are working as designed. Looks like no one was paying any attention, and now someone will have to pay.....

Please keep us informed on what you find out. Your story has been interesting to follow here. Working with less than a gallon output well is a real challenge. Takes some effort & attention for sure.

It sounds like you used up the hauled in water, & no one checked to see that the well was delivering any water to the holding tank to replentish it.

If you just have another tankload of water delivered, that won't solve the problem.

Need to find out why the tank went empty - is the well pump not working properly, or are you still using more water in a day than the well can deliver?

--->Paul

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  #5  
Old 07/30/07, 12:03 PM
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The well guys said they will come by some time in the next few days, just to give things the once-over. The well drilling company is local, has been in their family since I was a little girl, they are top notch at what they do, and honest as the day is long. I have no doubt that they checked, and double-checked everything last wednesday when they finished installing the tank.

I have to assume that it's me or a leak that's STILL using more water than the well can deliver. Last wednesday, I had about 1800 gallons of water in the holding tank. We did the usual minimum household things Wednesday - Saturday - 3 showers per day, dishes by hand, a few gallons from the sink to water the seedlings on the porch, a gallon per day for the rabbits, and the automatic waterers for the chickens (abt. 30 chickens - from chicks to fatties) and the goats (10 goats, from kids to adults). I didn't do any laundry, just because I was lazy, LOL! I would estimate that the chickens waterer delivers less than 2 gallons per day, and the goats between 5 and 10 gallons per day. I also did open up one of the garden hoses on thursday for about an hour maybe 90 min. to one of the fruit trees.

Saturday we took off camping, so no water usage other than automatic waterers for that whole day and night and all day sunday. Came home sunday night, did one load of laundry, and then the 2nd load took an awfully long time to run. I didn't look, but now that I think back on it, I know that the water tank had to have been empty at that point. This morning, first thing, lots of air mixed in with water in the lines and no pressure.

SO- even if I had emptied the tank dry by saturday morning, my logic (or lack thereof, LOL!) tells me that the well didn't pump up enough into the tank by sunday night (30-36 hours) to do more than one load of laundry. THAT'S not even 1/2 gallon per minute. THEN, we let 'er sit all night again, another 8-10 hours, and we still don't have any water to speak of, nor pressure.

But, here's what gets me - I turn off the outside faucet this morning, from whence all hoses and auto waterers run, and within 2 hours I have pressure again, and enough water to do a good job on the garden for about 10 minutes (little tiny sprinkler). SO, even though I can't see any leaks in my hoses, I'm guessing that's where my water loss is coming from, right? Or does shutting that valve just somehow enable the pressure tank to actually build up the pressure again, but not have any bearing on my water loss / missing water?

But, if after, say, 30 hours, of no activity whatsoever except for the hoses (turned off at the far ends) and the automatic waterers, with no water to speak of built up in the tank, wouldn't I have to have a MASSIVE amount of water loss somewhere - something REALLY noticeable?

My math says 30 hours at 1/2 gallon per minute is 900 gallons pumped up into the tank while we were gone camping. That's a lot of water to go missing when I can't find any leaks in the hoses.

ARGH, the more I try to reason my way through this, the more confused I make myself!! I know good and well there's no 900 gallons of water leaked out somewhere between the well and the barn!!! There's NO WAY 900 gallons of water came up into that tank while we were gone, is there? So, that must point to the pump. Dang, I hope the pump isn't shot. My poor landlords are having to make payments on this tank as it is. A new pump might send them over the edge.

But here's another thought - could I really have run through 1800 gallons from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning, especially with no laundry being done???? Where's all the water that they initially put into that tank???

Thanks for any help you guys can give me thinking this through. I'm just mostly confusing myself at this point!

Tracey Mouse

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  #6  
Old 07/30/07, 01:10 PM
 
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"I also did open up one of the garden hoses on thursday for about an hour maybe 90 min. to one of the fruit trees. "

This is your loss of water. At 50 Psi you can pump lots of water out of a hose in 90 minutes.

I have 28,000 gallons of rain water stored. 10 tanks are in use. I never have more than one tank on line at a time to guard against someone leaving a faucet open.

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  #7  
Old 07/30/07, 02:04 PM
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Well, I could see that using a lot of water, but it was only on for like I said, an hour to 90 minutes, one time, and there was still 2/3 of the tank full when I finished. That also wouldn't explain why there's no water in the tank after us being away from home for 30-36 hours, nor after all night. I don't know what to think ,except that maybe there's multiple problems going on here.

Just tried to walk up to the freaking spring, and wherever it was that my husband saw water, is NOT where we left the hose apart. There's no water anywhere near the road, and I have no idea where my husband was at when they found it.

To be honest, I am 100% frustrated and p.o.'d. I am just sick and flippin' tired of dealing with water issues. I have too many things going on to troubleshoot and diagnose this crap all by myself, and still manage the ranch while it's screwed up.

Going to gather up the laundry to take to town again, and hope that the water people get here before I have to go to the city for my son's homeschooling testing.

ARGH!!!!

TraceyMouse

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  #8  
Old 07/30/07, 02:13 PM
 
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Do you have a submersible or jet pump on the low yielding well?
Elaborate on the setup with the well pump.
How do you control the output from the well to prevent over pumping?
Is there any safety devices to shut down the well pump?
Is there a check valve between the well pump and the storage tank?
Does the inlet pipe from the well dump into the top or bottom of the storage tank?

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Last edited by agmantoo; 07/30/07 at 02:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07/30/07, 03:33 PM
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I don't know everything but here's what I do know:

there is a submersible pump in the well that shuts off automatically when there is no water

there is a pipe going from the well to the holding tank, pipe goes in at the top

there is a pipe going from the bottom of the holding tank to another pump that goes into the pressure tank. it goes on whenever the pressure tank drops down below 20 or 30 psi

there is a controller on the well pump that turns it on every so-many minutes, and it runs for a set period of time, unless the well runs out of water before that

they were just out there messing with the settings on the controller, and when set to come on every 6 minutes, it has enough water in there to pump for about 10 seconds. the pump is capable of pumping 15gpm if the water is available. when they had it set to come on every 3 minutes, the well only had enough water to run the pump for about 5 seconds

they were going to re-calibrate the controller, but I'm not sure what that means. They did it and left while I was on the phone talking to my husband.

I don't know what a check valve is, but there are a couple of shut-off valves - one is outside, between the holding tank and the pressure tank, and there is one inside the pumphouse, but I didn't look closely enough to see which line it's on.

Tracey Mouse

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  #10  
Old 07/30/07, 04:01 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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You have done an excellent job at describing the setup. I have no idea as to why anyone would install such a high output pump on such a low yielding well. Actually I do have an opinion that it could be associated with the price of the high output pump. The manufacturer of the motor on the pump would want you to limit the output of the pump to better match the well to prolong the life of motor. The motor will not be efficient as to power consumption and the motor will be abused with frequent start/stopping. Otherwise your setup should work once the well people get it calibrated. What is the depth of the well, what depth is the pump and at what level is the water table? Have the most technical person around you to read about low yielding wells here and compare to what you have. Maybe ask the well man to read it and comment.
http://www.pumpsonline.com/FAQ.htm#L...ump%20settings

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Last edited by agmantoo; 07/30/07 at 04:17 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07/30/07, 04:17 PM
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Apparently when drilled 10 or 15 years ago, this well put out more than it is now - probably 3-5 gpm, maybe 8 at the most. I know that this is the original pump, because the property owners were adament about leaving in there, even though the well guys said it was likely to die soon anyways, and they could swap it out while they were doing all this.

This well is about 150 ft. deep, and the pump is set pretty far into the water table (don't remember where the static water level was when the well was drilled- I looked up the well log at one point though). Now, just literally a minute or two (or less) of pump action drops the water down below the pump.

The rest of the wells around us (very close around us!) are having to go 280-340 ft. deep to get 3-4 gpm. We are just in a bad water area here, and this summer seems to be taking a toll on even wells that have always been good.

I'll go read that link you gave me! Thanks for trying to help me with this! I am feeling like I have massive ADD these days.

Tracey Mouse

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  #12  
Old 07/30/07, 06:23 PM
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We had a one inch by 1/16th inch cut in the liner of our swimming pool. The pool would lose about 1500 gallons in 24 hours. 3000 gallons in two days. Evaporation would account for about 200 to 300 gallons or more per day, so 1200 gallons went through that little gap in the liner.

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  #13  
Old 07/30/07, 06:32 PM
 
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Unless the price jumps dramatically in the next short while here is IMO a good pump for your application
http://cgi.ebay.com/NIB-Goulds-1-2-H...QQcmdZViewItem

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  #14  
Old 07/30/07, 06:43 PM
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Okay, the water truck just came, and gave me about 1800 gallons of water. I've got the outside faucet turned off at the bib, and I will hand water everything except the garden for the next 3 days. The garden, I will turn on by hand, and write down exactly how long I left it on.

We were hoping to borrow one of those flow meter things from the well guys, but they left while I was on the phone with my hubby (cordless died, of course, so I was sitting in my bedroom on the corded phone and didn't hear them!). Couldn't get through to the plumbing store in the city, and what I saw online was over $100, which is way too much for a troubleshooting mission. Oh well.

Any way to estimate how many gallons go through a simple sprinkler? If I wanted to get really technical, I guess I could put it in a kiddie pool and cover it with a tarp and pour the resulting water into a 5 gallon bucket, but that sounds like a lot of work, LOL!!

I'm going to take some notes right now on the time, and how much water's there, etc.

Tracey Mouse

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Old 07/30/07, 06:48 PM
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agmantoo - I would be totally up for having a new pump put in, and obviously checking the water levels while they have things opened up - maybe even drilling further down to where everyone else is at with their wells, but this isn't our place, we're just renting. The owners are totally broke (had to borrow the money to put in the holding tank) and they just can't afford to do anything more than what's absolutely required to get by right now. They have the place up for sale, and they're trying to float their boat in their new town until this sells. They're really in a tough place, so I don't fault them for holding back until there's no other option. They simply don't have the cash.

From what the well guys said, the pump that's in there (the original pump to this well, about 10 yrs old) is still functioning okay. At this age, it could go anytime, but for now it's okay.

It took about 15 minutes for the water truck to put in the 1800 gallons, but even during that time, that pressure hadn't come all the way back up in the pressure tank. Does that sound normal?

Off to take notes, read that page, and get ready for hubby to come home after a greuling 12 hr day in the heat.

Thanks for all the thoughts and help, keep it coming!!

Tracey Mouse

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Old 07/30/07, 08:31 PM
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Update - pressure tank came back up to 55psi after about 45-60min. I sat out there and waited to see how often they had the well pump coming on. It wasn't on when I first got out there, and I waited 17 minutes - so the interval is something longer than that. It only came on for about 5-10 seconds though, so even after letting the well refill that long, there wasn't much water in it.

So, theoretically, if the well is capable of putting out 1/2 gpm, it *could* pump 360 gallons into that holding tank between 6pm tonight and 6am tomorrow.

But, if that controller is having the pump come on somewhere between 17-30 min intervals (or maybe longer?), and it only comes on for 5-10 seconds each time, that's quite a bit less water pumped out over a 12 hr. period. I guess the pump puts out 15gpm until the water supply is gone, then shuts off. So, the output under that scenario is more like 15 gallons per hour, and then that would be 180 gallons over a 12hr period.

But, if after 17 minutes, the pump only pumps for 10 seconds before there's no more water to take up, and that particular pump is capable of 15gpm, then I'm not even getting 1/2 gpm from the well, right?? (I think I'm close to understanding things, but I"m also on edge of confusing myself permanently and running off screaming into the woods!) I'm thinking our well output is more like 1/5 gallon per minute?!!

I will definately be checking the water tank in the morning to get a rough idea of how full it is, and how many gallons got pumped into it overnight.

If someone understands the calibration process on that controller, and could explain it to me, that would be awesome! I'm having trouble understanding the difference between what a well *can* put out (1/2 gpm or 1gpm) vs. what the pump can pump, and how that translates into how many gallons get pumped into that holding tank in a certain period of time.

THANK YOU!!!

Tracey Mouse


How does the calibration process work? I guess I should go sit out there and time the interval exactly, and exactly how long it stays going.

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  #17  
Old 07/31/07, 12:25 AM
 
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Thank you for the updates & hanging in with all of us on this.

It sounds like you have things pretty well figured out.

Seems your well is possibly 1/2 gal a minute on a good day, but you are in dry times now, not a good day, so it is very low output.

A garden hose running for 90 minutes - there went your water. You took out more water with that hose than what you/we think your well can put back in in 24 hours.... A 3-4 gallon per minute pump will about keep up with a regular garden hose at what we consider 'normal' flow.

I'd also guess your goats drink a bit more than you think they do.

Tiny leaks on the garden hoses are added together. Any little damp spot - several gallons a day per damp spot. When you are maybe getting 250 - 300 gallons per day from your well....... That is a big chunk.

Three showers & 2 loads of laundry - that plus what the critters drink & spill is probably close to the 250 gallons right there......

That pump with that well output is not a good combination, as Agman says. We understand the situation, so no fix for it, but you are paying more electric, and such short bursts of pump activity with a big pump just aren't the best deal.

It sounds like they are about on a dry well there, and lucky if they get the place sold before you suck it totally dry. Not your fault, but that well barely handles a house any more, and you are trying to do a ranch...... Input & output don't match.

You really explained what you have very well. Nice. I wish there were better answers, but - dry well & a lot of needs for water.

--->Paul

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  #18  
Old 07/31/07, 04:54 AM
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If I were in your shoes, I'd be giving some serious thought to alternate water sources (short- and long-term) in case that pump burns up, or the well runs dry. That spring you mentioned is a possibility, as is a rainwater catchment system (can be as simple as a barrel under a downspout if the house has eave troughs!).

At the very least, you need to amass some large water storage containers, and find a place (neighbor's, etc.) where you can fill them in the event of an emergency. Also a way to haul them ... do you have a truck?

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Old 07/31/07, 10:03 AM
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Just a thought..
I had a slow return well and about the same situation. I allowed the caseing fill up to the highest level it could before cycling the pump. This saved the pump from constant on/off cycles..

Also, I brought the well back somewhat by pulling the pump, poured 10 gal. of muratic acid down there and let it set over nite, reinstalled the pump the following morning and pumped it dry untill it cleaned itself out. (bypassing the storage tank system. of course)

This increased the output of the well almost 3 times of what it was prior to the treatment. Didn't hurt the neighbors wells any at all and they were kinda close togather..
~Don

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  #20  
Old 07/31/07, 11:23 AM
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I have given thought to various althernative water supplies, and I agree that this property needs them. There's advantages and disadvantages to each, but the bottom line is that my husband doesn't think we should (or even can) devote the time necessary to set things up and utilize them (if it comes to that) when this isn't our place.

We've offered to buy a smaller section of the ranch, and they're willing to subdivide, but they still want WAAAY too much for it. (That's why none of the property has sold so far, their asking prices are just tremendously high for the declining values around here.) SO, as much as we like them, and feel empathy for their situation, this is ultimately their problem, not ours.

The spring was represented to us as the irrigation source for the north pasture - about 20 acres that would be a great hayfield - and since we're not *irrigating*, and not doing anything with the north pasture - we don't feel obligated to use or maintain the spring. They bred and raised horses here (they had over 20 when they left) plus goats, chickens, dogs, etc. They had extensive garden areas and all the fruit trees. We were told, repeatedly, that everything got watered off of "hoses". I repeatedly clarified that all those hoses were hooked up to the one (and only!!) outside faucet by the house, and was told over and over again - yes. Now, we're being told that pretty much ALL outside watering was done via the spring - which obviously doesn't come out that single outside faucet.

There's just been a lot of miscommunication here I think, not out and out misleading, but I think they're just REALLY distracted trying to make things fly in their new town with no cash. I think they expected this place to sell really fast, went ahead and moved into a rental down there, and then their savings ran out and they thought to rent this place out for some cash flow. Prior to all this they were full time breeders and farmers, now they've both had to take low-paying jobs just to make the bills.

There are other faucets on this property (at the barn and greenhouse for example) but I was told that they were intending *one of these days* to hook those in, and never got around to it, so they don't work. Seemed really odd to me to install and set into place faucets with no pipes leading to them, but that's what they said, and I just don't have time or really the ability to dig up all the land looking for pipes they say don't exist. It's stuff like this that we've been dealing with all these months. Really nice people, just never been landlords before, and they're too busy with their new situation to deal with things out here.

Had we been informed that the well woudn't support the house and garden and a few animals, we either wouldn't have taken this place on, or we would have sunk money into alternative water sources months ago. On the contrary, we asked and were told that it was a great well - even when we started having troubles and worries back in May, they told us that it was a 12gpm well.

At this point, if the well goes completely dry, or if we keep having to add water to it from the water truck, maybe we will have to start taking it off the rent. It looks like my husband is going to end up getting transferred to another jobsite within the next 3-6 months or so (we were supposed to be here for 3 years), so it's probably not worth moving again (we've moved like 6 or 8 times in the last 2 years) until we go up north. We've got probably 8 more weeks of hot weather, so we'll just get by until then.

My main focus now (I think!) is trying to document the water usage and what's coming in from that well, so we don't end up with trouble between us and the property owners. They're really nice, but they just don't seem to really accept the fact that they NEVER had a 12gpm well, that somebody lied to them or really misled them, and that in fact, this well is the problem, not our usage. I don't want it implied at some point that we "ran the well dry" or something like that.

In light of everything that happened, and with the upcoming transfer, it's probably a good thing we didn't buy this place, and can just walk away from it when the time comes. I have learned a very valuable lesson about land and water, and how important the latter is to the value of the former!!!

Tracey Mouse

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Old 07/31/07, 11:43 AM
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I would believe the owners legally have to supply renters with a viable source of water. You need to check into this. This is their problem, although I truly understand your concern especially with the animals.

If I were in your situation, I'd start looking for another place to live. If the property sells, you'll have to move anyway, so why not do it now & save on the worry, the cost of water, etc, etc.

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Old 07/31/07, 12:52 PM
 
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From what you're saying that when the outside well runs every so often it only runs for a few seconds, this indicates that you have a very low recovery well. Sounds like far under 1/2gpm. Around here 1gpm or maybe 1/2gpm is considered the bare minimum for domestic use only. That doesn't include watering a bunch of gardens and animals. 2000 gals of water might look like a big tank but it's not a lot, particularly when you're used to having a good well supply or city water and not worrying about usage. Unless there is something else wrong in the pump system, I don't think you're going to have much luck getting that well to provide your high water needs.

Did the well guys do a recovery rate test? They should have before they calibrated the pump control box. What did they find?

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Old 07/31/07, 04:00 PM
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I agree that it's not even putting out 1/2 gpm - from what I calculated for yesterday's usage, I think 1/4gpm is generous.

The bottom line is very few, if any, of the fruit trees are going to get (or have gotten thus far this year) any water. I may try to save the cherry trees, and/or the apple trees, depending on what I find with my monitoring the next few days. The pear trees have already dropped all their fruit - guess it's chicken food now.

If we can catch a break on our time requirements (between stupid crisis days here like wake up to no water, and my hubby's job), we will be butchering all but 3 of the goats. Ditto on the chickens, although I could possibly make that one happen by myself. Laundry can be done at my mom's if need be. Oldest son is working out of town most of each week, for at least 3 more weeks, and younger son is going to camp for 2 weeks. That will cut water consumption.

The garden isn't really huge, and I just flat-out don't know how much water a garden needs or takes or how my garden compares to "average" gardens. This is my first year doing all this, and I'm just winging it as I go! It's 6 raised beds, 12x4 each, although I just now put my seedlings in yesterday, and 2 beds are empty, and the others only partially planted (although I guess I'm watering them all the same, LOL!). If I had more time (ha ha!!) I could and would invest in a drip system, so that we're using as little water as possible. I did get 2 bales of straw this morning, and will put that around as mulch to help conserve water.

If we're talking an extra 1000 gallons per week to float this garden and the critters, we can probably just pay for that water off the water truck. But, if the well isn't even going to cover the household use (well guys told me that average usage is 100 gallons per day, per family member - so we'd need 400 gallons per day), then that is another matter. At 14 gallons per hour, that's only 336 gallons per day - cutting it very tight, and I think these figures are overly generous to what the well's actually putting out. I WISH I could get my hands on a couple of flowmeters - I'd slap one on the input pipe into the tank and one on the out pipe of the pressure tank, and get some exact numbers. (Can you tell I was a CFO in a previous life, LOL! Estimating makes me NUTS!!)

The well guys didn't do a recovery test yesterday (that I know of), but recovery sucks. It's just a low producing area, a shallow well, a dry summer, and broke property owners, who have the place up for sale, and just don't want to (and can't really) sink any money into upgrading the well / pump system any more than the absolute minimum to get us by until the rains come. Tough, sucky situation for us all.

I guess I'm hoping that by quantifying everything, I can find ways to creatively work around this problem for the rest of summer. If this were my house, I'd be under it in a flash (okay, I'd make the boys crawl under there, LOL) and cut and splice the sink and shower drains into a graywater system for the landscaping around the house. There's huge, beautiful rosebushes everywhere (probably 20 or more) and it will be a crying shame if they die because of this. There's some kind of rare bamboo that is very sentimental to the owners, and I know she's worried about it, and it is dying. But, I'd probably first pipe it to the fruit trees, and try to save what's left because that's food and we can eat food.

We would ABSOLUTELY have a cachement system off the barn and another one off the house, and have a water tank on wheels (when we moved here, we had a 500 gallon tank, and could have easily welded on axle mounts and made it portable. Town has a metered water hose for a penny a gallon!!! We just gave that tank away to reduce clutter, since we'd never needed it.) We would do a lot of things. But, with just renting, and the likelihood of moving up to Washington in the next few months, it seems pointless to start sinking time and money into that stuff now. If we'd known all this was going to happen when we moved in, we probably would have done at least some of those things!

It is worth it to us to sink some money into water off the water truck (for the garden and animals - not the house!), because one of our big goals for living here was for me to learn as much as possible about gardening, livestock, preserving food, etc. If the food I can raise, butcher, harvest, and preserve costs more than what I'd pay in the store, that's okay, because I've learned the skills to do it again in addition to having the food. So, if we have to pay a few extra hundred dollars to supply water for my education, that's okay. But, we want to know if we're paying to supply water to the house, because that's not okay. In that case, we would have to work something else out with the owners. My guess, giving their financial situation, is that they would rather pay the water truck a little here and a little there, instead of trying to come up with thousands for the well guys, and then just sell the place anyways.

Tracey Mouse

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  #24  
Old 07/31/07, 07:27 PM
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Location: Carthage, Texas
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Is gardening really feasible if you have to haul water in? I could sorta see it, if you had a grey water system set up. Sounds like you're well isn't really productive... or your pump is oversized for the amount of water it'll produce. You're location is in sw Oregon... that's the desert'y part, right?

I'd seriously look into alternatives to the water truck... that source would dry up overnight in any kind of emergency.

I've travelled through sw Oregon and really liked it, but the lack of water would've limited a lot of things I'd've liked to have done.
Good luck and keep us updated.

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  #25  
Old 07/31/07, 08:09 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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It takes me 45 minutes to fill a 500 gallon tank with a garden hose with low pressure.

If you time how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket with your hose you can calculate how much water your hose will use over an hour. If it takes one minute then 5 gallons x 60 minutes = 300 gallons per hour.

A modern, domestic, rotor type sprinkler is probably using around 1 gallon a minute.

A sprinkler on the end of a hose that goes chacker chacker chacker pshhhhhhh could be using up to 3 gallons per minute.

I'm not sure how many gallons per minute a goat does.

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  #26  
Old 07/31/07, 11:24 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
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This is drifting off topic of helping you, but guess we don't really have much more help, & every time I read this thread I think of it....

My farm house has a deep well for toilets, watering critters & plants, drinking, and outdoor hydrant stuff. _Very_ hard iron & mangnesium water tho, stains & hard.

It also has a cistern in the basement, catches water off the roof. That cistern never went dry, house was built in '26. Couple generations raised a family of 4, laundry with a wringer washer, and so on. Dry years, whatever, didn't run the cistern dry.

In Feb my brother in law needed a place to stay & set up in the farmhouse. I happened to have the cistern nearly full - a real feat for Feb in Minnesota! BiL is basically the only one that was there. He wasn't into wringer washers, so _no_ laundry done at all. He works long ways away, long days, so basically he was around 8-10 hours, only dishes & baths...... The farm & house was not child-proof, so he couldn't have his kids over either on weekends - mostly he was gone every other weekend.

I happened to look in the cistern 4 months later, and he, all by himself, had about drained it dry!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. One person, no laundry, somehow he sucked up all the water available on just baths & dishwashing! (Remember, deep well for cold water use, so my critters, outdoor washing, crop spraying has no effect on the soft water in the house.)

I'm still amazed. I just don't know how one person could use up that water that fast. I had been catching spring rains as I normally do.

So, we are in the 2nd worst drought of my lifetime, got less than a half inch of rain the past 5 weeks. Can't refill the cistern on that..... BiL found a place & is gone, but I'm left with the barely more than damp cistern.

Now that he is gone, my sister comes down for visits & stays at the farmhouse - I used to think she used a lot of water. Sure hope it rains soon. (The cistern issue ios small - I'm losing about $20,000 in corn & beans as it dries....)

Wow. Can't see how one person with no laundry guzzles up more than families of 4 or 5 that house has raised. Even had boarders over some winters, probably 8 people living in it in the 'old' days.

--->Paul

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  #27  
Old 08/01/07, 01:16 PM
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Location: SW Oregon
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Updating this morning - it ain't good.

Yesterday afternoon, after chores we had about 1950 gallons in there (and this is based on me feeling the outside of the holding tank and rapping on it, listening for a hollow thud - not exactly rocket science!).

Since then, there were 3 showers taken, another sinkful of dishes done, and regular toilet flushing.

This morning, 21-1/2 hours later, there is about 2100 gallons.

That's a net water gain of 150 gallons over nearly 24 hours, with almost no usage - very, very not good.

My sprinkler is a little wal-mart type, round - about 3" in diameter, that just sits there, and the water comes up through and falls down in a basically circular pattern. I have one placed halfway down my raised beds, and between two of them, and it covers about a 12' x 10' area with the spray. I have two of these set up so I can water a total of 4 raised beds right now. Funny though, I have to run them separately - even with the water tank so full, and the pressure tank reading 50psi, there's not enough ooomph to have them both running together - they both just barely get the water dribbled out, and each only would cover about a dinner plate sized area! So, I run one for 15 minutes, then shut it down and run the other for 15 minutes. I just may try to figure out a drip system for the rest of the summer though - I'll look into it and see how much water it saves and how much initial set up is. If I'm paying the water truck, it might be cheaper to invest in that (and then take it with me when we move!). Other option, is to hunt up my buddy from high school who has (or did have) a big ol' hoopty water truck and see if it's for potable water, and pay him to get town water and dump in our holding tank for less than the truck from the bit city costs.

Water in town is a penny a gallon, so 2000 gallons would run $20. Plus whatever my buddy would charge to get it and bring it here and put it in the tank. Truck from the city costs $80 for 2000 gallons, so it might not be worth it for my friend. We'll see.

The flow meter came today - I don't know what it will take to get it installed - I know they'll have to cut pipes and stuff. That is definately a hubby job. I initially thought it was something we could use on the well line one day and then switch to the outgoing line the next, but that will be way too much work I think. Better to just put it on the well line, to see exactly what the well is putting out, I think.

It's depressing!

And, BTW, South West Oregon is the beautiful green side. We're only about 30 minutes from the coast, and our county is lush and green and gorgeous all year round. Our road just happens to be notorious for low producing wells, and this year it sounds like a lot of folks are having their wells go way down in output. It is what it is, I guess, and we'll just have to figure out some low-hassle, short-term ways to get through it until it's time to move. I just can't see giving up on that garden now that I've FINALLY gotten it going, LOL!!

Short of a massive civil emergency, I am not worried about the water truck supplying us water - I have NEVER seen a situation around here where there was simply no water available - this county is literally crawling with rivers, creeks, springs, etc. - they're all over the place. (In fact, there's a spring on the BLM right over our property line that is about 1/4 or less the distance to the spring that's deeded to this place...maybe I'll go hijack that sucker, LOL!!) As far as water in an emergency situation, we would be dealing with an entirely different perspective then. Hubby wouldn't likely be going to work and would no doubt have that spring up and running and filling up that holding tank with it in very short order. And, long term emergency, we'd be bugged out into the mountains anyway.

So, for now, it's monitor, conserve where I can, and hang tough until we move. But, if we're getting less than, say, 400 gallons per day from the well, I think the property owners will have to pony up to pay for some of the water truck.

I'll update again once I get some readings from the flow meter.

Thanks for all your support guys! If nothing else, it makes me feel better to come here and vent a little bit, LOL!

Tracey Mouse

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  #28  
Old 08/01/07, 04:47 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: scott county, virginia
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looks like you either water the plants outside or have water for the family its your decision i have water problems about the same way and i let nature take care of the plants in this kind situation they either live because you water them or you get to bath because you dont water them

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  #29  
Old 08/01/07, 07:19 PM
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Location: Carthage, Texas
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If I were in your situation... I'd walk out the distance to that spring, and buy all the needed pvc +15% more, and all of the glue that you'd need to put it all together... In a long term emergency, I'd plumb into that spring. Would want to bury it too... What's illegal or immoral now, wouldn't be after society gets all goofy (post SHTF).

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  #30  
Old 08/01/07, 08:01 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I think this is a chance to do some hands on learning about water conservation...

I have a house with a 5,000 gallon cistern which is replenished by rainfall in the summer, and trucked in during the winter. When we shared the house with another couple there were 4 adults and one child, and we used less than 100 gallons per day. This includes laundry, dishwasher, showers, toilet and general cleaning. The way we kept it low was;

1. low flush toilet. huge difference.
2. don't flush every single time you pee. The more prim and proper turn up their nose at this, but it is a real big saver.
3. short showers with regular showerhead, but low pressure. Could have got the same result with a low flow showerhead.
4. Absolutely no cistern water used to water garden or lawn. I set up a barrel system to recapture water pumped out by the sump pump, and used that for the garden. Screw the grass.

I know you have animals and such, but if you are getting 400 gallons per day and you have storage capacity, you should be able to manage if you re-visit all your assumptions about water usage. The fruit trees and garden probably have to be watered from your spring if you want to save them.

Good luck...

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