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  #1  
Old 08/08/10, 02:02 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeast MO
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Cheapest and Best Way to Acces a Deep Well Pump in Emergency

We have a well- 350 ft deep , the pump is at 240 ft deep and casing is 105 ft. We live at the top of a fairly lrg hill. We are currently 100% electric. We have propane as a backup energy for heat and generator. So far what we have looked at is looking like it will cost $1500-$2000 +when we figure in the costs of pipe and all the misc equipment. We considered a cistern system but dh says with our location so high (house is at very top of hill) that it won't work. We have also considered using solar cells with a battery and using an inverter but it seems from dh's study that it wouldn't necessarily work for the well if converting from DC to AC 220-240v.

Does anyone else have ideas on how to do this? Things we have overlooked or cheaper sources for material?

Our generator is powerful enough to power the pump but we would like a backup plan that doesn't rely on fuel.

thanks in advance !

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  #2  
Old 08/08/10, 02:17 PM
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I'm curious to hear what answers you get. We are in the same situation. I was thinking of maybe either a windmill with a deep well pump (iffy) or solar. The well would pump into a cistern that would then pump into the house. That seems a little redundant, but that way we could access the cistern by hand when the power goes out. Or put the cistern pump on solar as well. We can't do a total gravity system due to our house location and harsh winters. Hopefully somebody will have some great ideas!

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  #3  
Old 08/08/10, 02:42 PM
 
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What is the static water level in your well? There are solar powered pumps available, however their pumping rate is not that much.

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  #4  
Old 08/08/10, 02:49 PM
 
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You could always put a hand pump down the well, your at about the max depth limit I have seen for them, but it could probably be done.

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  #5  
Old 08/08/10, 03:12 PM
 
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http://www.simplepump.com/OUR-PUMPS/Hand-Operated.html

This is what I'm going with, along with the optional DC motor to replace the hand lever. The DC motor can run on 1 or 2 solar panels. At 3-5 gpm filling a storage tank, I think this will meet my needs better than a deep submersible pump. You need to know the static water level to size the pump (they have 2) and determine how much drop pipe you need. There are also videos on youtube showing how easy they are to install.
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  #6  
Old 08/08/10, 03:15 PM
 
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I've always wondered if one could set it up so it could be run off a lawn mower or chain saw engine.

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  #7  
Old 08/08/10, 03:18 PM
 
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Oh, our storage tank is located on a hill above the house and we'll use gravity for water pressure ( will also probably need a small pressure pump at the house). The simplepump can fill a pressure tank also, but will be too far away from the house, hence the additional pressure pump. Ours will be for full time use, not emergencies.

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Last edited by FarmerGreen; 08/08/10 at 03:24 PM. Reason: added info
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  #8  
Old 08/08/10, 03:43 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeast MO
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Dh looked at the simplepump but with the pipe and rod it seemed pretty cost prohibitive. Or are we missing something? We were hoping we could figure something to rig ourselves to save money as dh is pretty adept and plumbing and electricity but it is proving to be more complicated - at least to do it within our budget.

We are not sure the static water level- at the pump level we pump 15 gpm. How would we figure that out(easily)?

Also, might be worth mentioning we are currently a family of 5 with plans for plenty more, so our needs would be more than some.

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  #9  
Old 08/08/10, 04:28 PM
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This thread is of interest to me; so I am watching it.

Our well is only 79' deep and has been serving our entire homestead (house, stock, garden & fruit trees) for over 15 years now; but it is run by electricity. I am wanting to set up something we can use "by hand" should the need arise. (I've even got an oblong-shaped water bucket and nylon rope, thinking I might set up a pulley type thing.)

Thanks for starting this thread.

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  #10  
Old 08/08/10, 04:34 PM
 
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what is your definition of "success"? ie, how long of an "emergency" are you interested in prepping for? you mention 5 people and plans for "many more". how many more? any animals that need watering? garden need water too?

water is heavy, so pumping from 240 ft deep will always take a fair amount of energy. seems to me a cistern filled when easy/cheap power is available will get a pretty good running start for the first part of an emergency, and many/most shorter term emergencies.

so, a solar powered pump pumping from the cistern will be a lot easier/cheaper than trying to pump from 240 ft down. i think rv's often have dc pumps that pressurize rv showers/toilets/faucets. probably easy to get that working with solar from a cistern, which should work well as long as the cistern water lasts.

also, what about water cut-backs during an emergency to reduce water consumption? eg, backup sawdust toilets. someone here posted about using a 2.5 gallon (new and clean) sprayer from home depot to give showers to a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 small kids) during a utility outage. left the sprayer in the sun for a few hours to warm up, then with just 2.5 gallons, all 5 got clean.

lastly, calculate how much fuel it takes to run your well pump now. you'll always have a tradeoff between storing fuel vs storing water vs buying more equipment (solar, 12v rv pumps, etc).

--sgl

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  #11  
Old 08/08/10, 04:36 PM
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Some folks call the oblong-shaped water bucket a bail. That's the simplest low-tech method to use. You can buy them from Lehmans. I bought mine at a flea market. Tie it to a rope. Drop it into the well. Pull it up. Dump the water. Repeat. It probably won't support your current lifestyle. But it's a cheap way of accessing your well when nothing else is working.

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  #12  
Old 08/08/10, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgl42 View Post
what is your definition of "success"? ie, how long of an "emergency" are you interested in prepping for? you mention 5 people and plans for "many more". how many more? any animals that need watering? garden need water too?


I would like to prepare for long term usage- yrs if need be. As to the size of our family that would be in God's hands- considering my age and such I would guess around 2-4 more children. No animals currently but we plan to at some point, perhaps in the next yr or two- We have done a small raised garden in the past but hope to do a larger one this coming year

water is heavy, so pumping from 240 ft deep will always take a fair amount of energy. seems to me a cistern filled when easy/cheap power is available will get a pretty good running start for the first part of an emergency, and many/most shorter term emergencies.

When dh looked into a cistern it seemed to him that it really needed to be at a higher level and that is an impossibility with the way our land is and where our house is situated. I would like to get some rain collection going and certainly that would be a priority in an emergency but we don't have that currently. We have access to water- creeks and rivers around us- but of course that involves hauling water and if we can prepare in a way that means not doing that it would be prepared.

so, a solar powered pump pumping from the cistern will be a lot easier/cheaper than trying to pump from 240 ft down. i think rv's often have dc pumps that pressurize rv showers/toilets/faucets. probably easy to get that working with solar from a cistern, which should work well as long as the cistern water lasts.

also, what about water cut-backs during an emergency to reduce water consumption? eg, backup sawdust toilets. someone here posted about using a 2.5 gallon (new and clean) sprayer from home depot to give showers to a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 small kids) during a utility outage. left the sprayer in the sun for a few hours to warm up, then with just 2.5 gallons, all 5 got clean.

I know we won't be trying to use water at our current usage in an emergency situation. As I said there is water to haul for toilets and such- and we do have a Big Berkey filter as well. We can live w/ sponge baths or some other such thing-we know well how to stretch out clothes usage and I can wash dishes w/ minimal water

lastly, calculate how much fuel it takes to run your well pump now. you'll always have a tradeoff between storing fuel vs storing water vs buying more equipment (solar, 12v rv pumps, etc).

Very good points and something we need to compare

--sgl
Thanks so much for all the thoughts.
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  #13  
Old 08/08/10, 04:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren View Post
Some folks call the oblong-shaped water bucket a bail. That's the simplest low-tech method to use. You can buy them from Lehmans. I bought mine at a flea market. Tie it to a rope. Drop it into the well. Pull it up. Dump the water. Repeat. It probably won't support your current lifestyle. But it's a cheap way of accessing your well when nothing else is working.
Dh would prefer not to rely on going in and out of the casing as he doesn't want to contaminate the water with stuff getting knocked off in the water. Of course I guess if need be it would work.
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  #14  
Old 08/08/10, 04:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren View Post
Some folks call the oblong-shaped water bucket a bail. That's the simplest low-tech method to use. You can buy them from Lehmans. I bought mine at a flea market. Tie it to a rope. Drop it into the well. Pull it up. Dump the water. Repeat. It probably won't support your current lifestyle. But it's a cheap way of accessing your well when nothing else is working.
Ummm, most wells now a days are small bored holes. No way to get a bucket down them.
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  #15  
Old 08/08/10, 05:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motdaugrnds View Post
This thread is of interest to me; so I am watching it.

Our well is only 79' deep and has been serving our entire homestead (house, stock, garden & fruit trees) for over 15 years now; but it is run by electricity. I am wanting to set up something we can use "by hand" should the need arise. (I've even got an oblong-shaped water bucket and nylon rope, thinking I might set up a pulley type thing.)

Thanks for starting this thread.
At 79 feet you could put a hand pump on it for sure. But it kinda depends on the well and pump type. An above ground jet pump on a 2" bore would be difficult. Putting one on a 4" submersible well would rather simple and could added permanently and coexist with the electric pump.
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  #16  
Old 08/08/10, 05:47 PM
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You could use air. Do some research on bubble pump or pumping water with air and see what you can find.

Basically what how if works is you have a hose to carry compressed air connected near the bottom of a pipe in the well. When you pump compressed air down the hose and into the pipe it will rise to the top carrying water above it.

How much water you can get up depends on how much air you can push down. You'll have to do some research on how air you'd need.

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  #17  
Old 08/08/10, 06:25 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: East TN
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Since the cistern or water tank can't be elevated, then a RV type pressure pump could give you enough water pressure. They run on DC so it could run on solar or batteries.

With enough drop pipe to go 234 feet the simplepump, pipe and well cap would be $1667 (no DC motor). With 5-9 kids taking turns pumping you should have plenty of water.

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  #18  
Old 08/08/10, 06:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinknal View Post
Ummm, most wells now a days are small bored holes. No way to get a bucket down them.
http://www.lehmans.com/store/Water__...__550202?Args=
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  #19  
Old 08/08/10, 06:44 PM
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Yelp thats what we used for years.Until someone stole my Bucket

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  #20  
Old 08/08/10, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mama View Post
and casing is 105 ft.
I have to ask: why is there only 105 ft. of casing in the well? Unless the lower formation is something like granite, and solid to the depth the pump is set at, that is a recipe for disaster sometime in the future.
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  #21  
Old 08/08/10, 06:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oneokie View Post
I have to ask: why is there only 105 ft. of casing in the well? Unless the lower formation is something like granite, and solid to the depth the pump is set at, that is a recipe for disaster sometime in the future.
I know here in TN they only put casing down to the bedrock. Could be 30', could be 100'.
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  #22  
Old 08/08/10, 06:59 PM
 
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Location: Southeast MO
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I am not sure on the casing. Dh says around here that is pretty standard. We are one hill over from a rock quary and grow rocks quite well.

We will have to look into the air pumping, or rather I will have dh look and sees if it will work- thanks for the idea!

FarmerGreen- that is what I am afraid of the $1500+ price tag all that pipe and rods is killing us. We will have to look into the RV pump though, hadn't thought of that idea. Your right you should have plenty of free labor though

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  #23  
Old 08/08/10, 07:18 PM
 
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if you're planning on going years off-grid, then you need to worry about a whole host of things (eg, refrigeration, a/c) aside from just water. also, for whatever scenario you're prepping for, make sure you all your "preps" meet that scenario. ie, it appears you're assuming that the grid power will be off for years. if so, what's the likelyhood that you still have a job to pay the mortgage? will your social security/pension/disability check still arrive? will you be able to afford property taxes? will fuel for running your generator still be available at a price you can afford? etc. now, if you're simply thinking of cancelling your electric service and living off-grid like the amish, then that's fine too, and perhaps my other questions don't apply. but the point is, "self sufficient" includes a lot more than simply growing your own food, and all your preps should be logically consistent for the scenarios you're prepping for.

if you do go off-grid, and have a generator, you'll need to plan your entire house around it, or it will be prohibitively expensive. the biggest energy users in a house are heating/ac, fridge/freezer, and hot-water. for an electric house, they all assume those are available at all times on an unlimited basis.

so for example, you'd have to run your generator 24/7 to keep your conventional fridge happy, with much of the time spent with low load when the fridge is off, and you'll burn up your fuel and likely burn up a generator unless it's designed for longevity. (ie, diesel and lower speed 1800 rpm). or, adjust your life to off-grid, which means buying a low-energy fridge like a sunfrost. or running the gen for a hour or so morning and night to run the fridge/freezer, charge a few batteries, and then not opening the fridge/freezer all the time, so it stays cool. if you're off-grid, other high-energy usage will also have to be eliminated or planned for, eg, microwave, hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, etc. even items like stoves, ovens, and furnaces have electrical needs for fans, glowbars, etc, that will sabotage your off-grid existence. in short, it's a major mental shift, not a simple matter of buying a piece of equipment.

re: cistern
if you're considering rain-water collection, you'll need a cistern anyway. i suggest your hubby needs to give up the notion that gravity feed from the cistern to the house is the only way to solve the problem. unless you're willing to move, ain't gonna happen. either put a much smaller, lower energy rv pump to get house pressure, or build a small water-tower for house pressure. longer term, sounds like you'll need water for animals and plants too.

also, if you're running the well pump from a generator, you'll likely have a similar problem to that of the fridge. you'd have to run the gen 24/7 if you want to run your pump whenever it wants to run. or, you run the pump for a while 1-2 times per day to fill a cistern, turning off the gen the rest of the day. you'll also have to worry about the duty cycle of the pump -- how long can it run continuously without overheating? so, for "emergency" gen usage, you'll need some sort of cistern anyway, to optimize the gen usage and the pump usage. and i'd guess that the depth of your well is such that solar-only would be rather expensive to haul water from that depth, tho you'd have to work thru the calculations of that to be sure. but at 8 lbs per gallon of water x 242 ft x your daily usage, that's probably quite a few watts, even before all the losses in the system for inefficiencies.

on the other hand, a small rv pump from a cistern, since it doesn't have to pump the heavy water "up-hill" that many feet, can probably run from a small marine deep-cycle battery, just like it does on an rv.

lastly, you mention nearby lakes and creeks. probably worth considering what it would take to tap into those too. both legal rights (eg, who's allowed to access them), and also equipment wise. having a big water tank on a pickup truck might be useful for a few neighbors to get together on.

--sgl

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  #24  
Old 08/09/10, 06:11 AM
 
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sgl-
Thank you for all the input. Dh has been reading along and doing some calculating to see what else he can work out for us here. I think it will likely be a combination of things to meet our needs.

As to our level of self-sufficiency we just take things one day at a time. We are working to pay off our mortgage and it will be done fairly soon- less than 7 yrs. Making sure we have no other debt and trying to keep our obligations as low as possible. We have a long way to go before we would be supporting ourselves though and it would be a steep learning curve if we were thrown into that situation tomorrow. However, I am just trying to focus on things that are the most critical first.

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  #25  
Old 08/09/10, 06:47 AM
 
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I like this thread too since I have been trying to figure out the same thing for years. My temporary solution was this: We dug a hole and put a new cement septic tank in the ground, it holds about 1100 gallons of water. It is right in front of the house and in our area, we can leave the top showing and only the tank is underground. On top, we drilled a hole and put a cheap hand pump off-the-shelf type from Lowe's. It only cost $39.99 when we bought it. On top of the cement cistern, we set an old wood table, drilled a hole in it - and the pump actually sets on the table and we pump from there. We wash stuff off out there and use it regularly. Since the water goes back down each time, we keep a bucket of water there to "prime" the pump when needed.

Our Cistern is filled from way WAY WAY down the hill where our spring is located. There is a 2nd Cement Cistern down there, holds 1100 gallons water, pumps it up to the Cistern near the house.

My concern for here is that if the electricity is out, I would not have water from down-the-hill. Thus, I plan to run my rain gutters over to the upper Cistern and use part rain water when needed.

Another idea would be rain barrels. We use those too in back of the house. We hooked two big ones together and we use that water for "back up" and we store it for "fire fighting" in case of woods fires (which we have had two! and we learned our lesson there)

Good luck

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Old 08/09/10, 08:16 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
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Here is my list of water / rainwater and other water links. I found many good ideas here and maybe you will too:

Rainwater list of sites:


Sites re Water issues: Rain Water Harvesting, Gray Water and Water Storage, including World Health Organization sites re Water projects in developing countries

1. The Eco Tipping Points Project (India)

http://www.ecotippingpoints.org/ETP-...rainwater.html

2. Rain Water Harvesting (huge site with great information from all over the world)

http://akash-ganga-rwh.com/RWH/WaterHarvesting.html

3. More projects from India

http://www.karmayog.com/library/rwh14.htm

4. Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond (we have this book and he is considered one of the top US experts on Rain Water Harvesting)

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/r...inforesources/

5. Rainwater Harvesting. Org site

http://rainwaterharvesting.org/

6. Rain water Demo sites

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/r...tration-sites/

7. Do it yourself Water projects

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Water/Water.htm

8. Oasis Design site (we have this book)

http://www.oasisdesign.net/index.htm

9. State of Virginia’s Rainwater Harvesting Guide and laws

http://www.cabellbrandcenter.org/Vir...g%20Manual.pdf

10. State of Texas’ Rain water guide

http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publicat...3rdedition.pdf

11. NCSU Stormwater Engineering Group
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/stormwater
12. NCSU Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/
13. NCSU Cooperative Extension Service
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/
14. American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
http://www.arcsa.org/
15. International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
http://www.ircsa.org/index.htm
16. Texas A&M Rainwater Harvesting
http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/index.html
17. Rainwater Harvesting in India
http://www.aboutrainwaterharvesting.com/default.htm
18. Rainwater Harvesting in the UK
http://www.rainharvesting.co.uk/
19. Montana State University Rainwater Harvesting
http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9707.html
20. Efficient Landscape Irrigation
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/bae/programs...ion/publicat/w

NORTH CAROLINA sites for Rain Water Harvesting (includes articles about Drought and local news about rain water):
21. Water Harvesting at NC State University
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/topic/waterharvesting/
22. Business selling rain systems / Rain Water Solutions:
http://www.rainwatersolutions.com/

23. News articles about Rain Water “come back” in style to Harvest:
(most mention NC too even if the paper is from someplace else)
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...EWS/809010373/
http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008...ase-shortages/
http://www.prlog.org/10096416-grs-ra...ng-demand.html
http://www.slideshare.net/nacaa/urba...-presentation/
http://ashevillageinstitute.blogspot...g-post_29.html
http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/972737.html
http://www.alternet.org/water/97455/...n_in_the_u.s./
http://www.news-record.com/content/2...e_of_rainwater
http://www.star-telegram.com/nationa...ry/873491.html
http://www.off-grid.net/2008/08/31/free-water/

24. Urban Waterways (an instruction book on how to pump the water collected / from NC State University
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/stormwater/P...sterns2006.pdf

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  #27  
Old 08/09/10, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonaspear View Post
You can easily build one of these using a foot valve and length of pipe.
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  #28  
Old 08/09/10, 12:45 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeast MO
Posts: 105

meanwhile- Thank you so much for all your links on the water collection- I am looking forward to checking them all out and seeing what we can use.

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  #29  
Old 08/09/10, 01:19 PM
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Jonaspear, that is exactly the type of galvanized water bucket we have for our 4" piping in the well. Just have not as yet figured out how to set it up to be used in case our electricity is lost for a period of time. (Considering putting it on a pully over the well; but we're wondering if we need to pull the existing submersible water pump in order to use it.)

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  #30  
Old 08/09/10, 03:37 PM
aka avdpas77
 
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As others have been pointing out, the cistern is the most reasonable way to go. Sure, it would be great to have a 150' hill nearby to put it on so you would have a pressurized flow, but you usually can't get everything. The second advantage to the cistern, is that you can build a diverter from you gutters, run the water through charcoal and use that to help keep the cistern full when you lose electricity. We usually lose electrical here during thunderstorms, though ice can cause problems too..

With a cistern, one can use a regular pitcher, or gem pump to get the water, or use the RV pump if you have a standby solar setup. When my father built our house, he built two "basements" the first is the walkout version under the house, and the second is a 12 by 16 "room" with a concrete ceiling that is our front porch. I don't know the capacity of a 12 x 16 x 7 foot (8' walls overflow at 7') room, but it held a fair amount of water when full. We had cheap pump inside the basement feeding from through the wall, which kept up the pressure in the pressure tank. If the water in the cistern were over a couple of feet deep, we could get water simply by opening up the priming faucet. You don't need something near this big for an emergency. Bucket methods would not work unless you pulled your deep well.... and then it would be a terrific chore.... I am not sure what one of those pumps would cost, but I suspect a pretty penny, and again it would wear one out. There might be some conflict between it and the deep well pipe also..

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