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Before you tell me to drill a well or call a plumber. We have. Thousands of dollars to drill a conventional well. It's just not gonna happen. Furthermore, there are motions coming down the pike here in our state that the politicians are going to start metering our wells and charge us a tax for how much water we use? We live in a very rainy place, water isn't an issue. They just want more money and they use the guise of "environmentalism" to do it. Did it with other things over the course of the last twenty years, one of the reasons why we moved out into the country to get away from that. So we bought this 13 acres with a 100 yr old house that has been retrofit, had an existing pumphouse with a good pump, a creek with irrigation rights in the deed, and a 6 ft deep hole in the ground with a line dropped in that is a seep well. We have springs all over this property. No, I'm not looking to do anything illegal. Just fix what we got. The people that lived here before had 4 kids and ran livestock and obviously had enough water to do all the laundry and everything, so this can be done. I'm pretty sure it's illegal as all get out to drill a well without all the permits and hoo-ha costing thousands of dollars.

Well is as mentioned. 6 ft deep hole with a "house" looking structure on top of it to keep it covered and a line dropped in with a foot valve. It's consistently full. We've checked. The line goes down off of that hill, across the cow field buried, to the pumphouse. Just learned after watching YT videos on spring wells that we could have a better set up to protect from contamination from runoff and such. It gets shocked to Clorox regularily, but I grew up drinking from everything, so I'm not dead yet. lol Shoot, Grampa's house was a hose laid in a spring, period. But it's different times, now.

The pumphouse contains two pumps which were in good working condition when we moved in three years ago. Maybe not so much now, I think, and I will explain. There is a main pump and main line that comes from that seep well. There is also a secondary, smaller pump that has a line into the creek. Both of those had screen wrapped around the end on the foot valve. There is also a Y going off the main line that goes into the creek, with a shut off valve. This is so you can prime the pump, or if there's an emergency, run from the creek. Also wrapped in screen and foot valve. There is a hose running from the small pump to the big pump inside the pumphouse that can also be used to supplement the big pump or help it get its prime. That was hub's doing. Also installed, on advice of the well drilling local folks here... there is a shutoff switch that shuts off the pump and doesn't let it turn back on when it lowers below a certain psi. It works fine. That was put there as a safe gap to save the pump because we started having problems with the pump losing its prime, or I would run the well dry while doing laundry. Makes me wonder if that old lady that lived here did her washing the in the creek, for pete's sake. It's only the two of us here, now. No kids. But livestock and garden. Hubs has also installed a fine mesh sediment screen on the line right as it leaves the pump to go to the house... so on the outlet, not the inlet. For the inlet in the creek part (because we ran off the creek to the house for a while trying to figure out what's going on with the well... kept running it dry in the summer and it is a pain to switch it back and forth all the time just for laundry. We buy our drinking water, btw) I even rigged up a bucket with a cloth screen over the mouth, and stuck the ends of the lines inside the bucket... Trying to keep sediment that was washing down the creek from getting sucked up into the foot valves and getting into the pump. This bucket arrangement was problematic in summer, as well, because the level of the creek would lower quite a bit and the pump would be sucking air again.

Also in the system is a pressure tank for each pump. Far as i can tell, it's working fine.

So hubs ran us for a whole season off the creek. He took off the bucket. Didn't replace it with anything. I had stacked up the lines up on a rock and weighed it down with more rocks to try to keep it there. There's a lot of dissolved clay in the water because our soil is all clay. Including our six foot deep well, all clay, nothing on the sides to keep it from collapsing. But it's also been there for at least fifty years, working just fine until we got there. I told him sediment would get in that pump and kill it. He's working full time and argues and won't do anything unless it's his idea first. Ugh... Facepalm... I hear "crunchy" sounds from both pumps now. We have consistently had to go down and hit that shut off switch and restart the pump when doing laundry or watering livestock for a year or so. Using the little pump for the livestock works, unless I have to pump up to the other hill... then I'm running that poor little pump for hours to get only a little trickle of water. It does better when it's not pumping uphill. And it only pumps from the creek. Sediment hasn't really affected the little pump, although... crunchy sounds. Both pumps... crunchy sounds. We had some flooding and livestock issues that unearthed a heckuva lot of clay into that creek. Not good.

Consistently, we have had to go remove that sediment filter when running off the creek about once a day, sometimes twice, and clean it. Gee, that tells me that sediment is getting though. Duh. We switched back to the well this winter, because the dry season was over. Put a new foot valve on the end of the line in the well, thinking that was making it lose its prime. Guess what... that wasn't the problem, either.

I went down and saw that no sediment was coming through from putting it in the well, in fact the water is clean and clear. So for giggles, I took off that sediment filter to see if maybe the pump was having problems pumping through that thing and was quitting for that reason. I got a whole load of laundry done and half of another before it quit. I will mention that the toilet flushes just fine and fills back up, and the shower works just fine (until it's time to clean that filter). Dishes, fine. It's just giving us problems when I do laundry, and when I water the livestock. It seems to be something about the higher flow of water, the pump just can't. It spits out more water than the pump can provide. I went down and checked the well. The water is there, and it's absolutely full. It's not lack of water.

So a new problem has developed, that wasn't there before, now. I have no filter on the outlet. We are on the full well. The water is clean and clear. I go down and turn on the automatic shutoff switch and the gauge goes up past the point where it would shut off, and normally, the pump would stay running and finish building up pressure in the gauge, and it tries to, but doesn't quite get it. Also, the crunchy sounds. Been doing the crunchy sounds for a year and I been telling hubs about the crunchy sounds for a year. So now, when I go down and hit the switch to turn it back on, I have to hold it on, and try to keep the pump running, as it struggles to make pressure. I turn on the secondary pump and open the hose in between the two pumps and let the little pump help build up the pressure, then I can shut off the little pump, close that hose line, and the big pump works fine again for everything except the big water loads. For a while. I took a nice, long shower to test it, and then went and checked the well and it was still full. We have a lot of water that seeps out of the ground here in this clay soil.

So hubs has a 3 and 4 hour one way commute for his job. So I'm on my own. My McGuyver father, who could probly fix it in ten minutes.. is just pretty much getting mad at me and saying "drill a well". He has his own homesteading issues he's dealing with and will NOT suggest anything. Rest of my family is kinda the same. And hubs is gone or arguing about what I'm sayin', and I'm just here, tryin to function.

I researched tapping a spring, and I walked off the hillside where the existing well is and we have several spring seeps all over. I may try that next, when I get a little cash. Limited by my fat body and amount of time. Suggestions are welcome, if there's anybody smarter than me that is willing to say something. Desperate plea for wisdom as I go water livestock again with some hokey garden hose set up and hope it doesn't do just a little trickle. It was time to switch them over to the other side of the hill, where they haven't eaten grass yet. Ugh. Why am I still fat? I work my tail off and eat extremely healthy. 47 and I'm pooped and very discouraged.
 

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Might help if we know what state you are in, if in the USA.

If you put a well in now, you should be grandfathered in. Not sure how a state can meter a private well.
You need larger amounts of water for livestock and doing laundry.
Do your research if you need a permit to drill a well.

We have family who uses a spring. A well I am told cannot fix their problem.
Trying to come up with ideas for a cistern for them. They have one but not enough capacity
to do laundry for 4 adults. They buy drinking water

I am hoping you get some good ideas here. I may borrow a few of them :)
 

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If I had that setup (surface well, 6' deep, unknown diameter), I'd put in a buffer water tank (IBC, 500-gal tank, etc.) in a shed/garage/something, and pump from the well to the tank inlet; adjust pump outflow to not exceed inflow into the well by natural seep. Then, use a booster pump after storage tank outlet to provide water to the house and such (may or may not need a pressure tank with the booster). The storage tank gets fed by the well pump at a constant rate, until storage tank is full (float valve shuts things off from the well); tank has to be sized for your usage (daily, weekly).

Finally, filters everywhere, from before the water gets pumped from the well (hose to storage tank), to before the booster pump, to some whole house filter system and thence to the house plumbing. If it is not exactly known what is in the water, filter the heck out of it ... don't want that stuff in the pumps, house plumbing, devices. The whole house filter should take just about anything, and make it both drinkable and safe (grit-free) for house devices. Ideally, have the water tested to see what's in it (from well, and from a spring, and possibly from the creek).

I'm no plumber ... if you can swing the cost (or find free evaluation service), have plumbers come out and look things over. They should be able to do that without everyone getting too excited about permits and such; part of the eval is to list what permits are needed. You can also tell them it is to water the barnyard animals, or some such. Then, modify their proposed solution to feed the house instead.

Finally, the springs and creek ...

I would definitely develop a spring to become an alternate source of supply water; not being lucky enough to have a spring, I haven't investigated how to do it. My guess is, build a pool, protect it from animals/leaves, and add it into the pumping system such that it makes its way to your storage tank.

I would develop the creek in such a way that water from it can be used for exterior purposes (animals, gardening, car washing, etc.), and possibly for flushing toilets. After the water from the creek is tested ...

Hope this helps ...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Might help if we know what state you are in, if in the USA.

If you put a well in now, you should be grandfathered in. Not sure how a state can meter a private well.
You need larger amounts of water for livestock and doing laundry.
Do your research if you need a permit to drill a well.

We have family who uses a spring. A well I am told cannot fix their problem.
Trying to come up with ideas for a cistern for them. They have one but not enough capacity
to do laundry for 4 adults. They buy drinking water

I am hoping you get some good ideas here. I may borrow a few of them :)
_
Western Washington. My Dad was in Thurston County and the well metering thing was looking at happening. He had a well drilled already because he had bought bare property and had a doublewide home put in. He was already being taxed extra for having his own septic tank, which that raised mound design almost always invariably fails. They required it to be pumped every few years as well, recorded with the county- more $$$$, whether it needed it or not. And he fell victim to that "wetland" scam. One of the "environmental" factors where home owners are not allowed to use their land, but are still required to pay the ever rising property taxes on it. But big developers suddenly are allowed to build on it, when buying up said land. We have been seeing it for years. Pocket gophers are another point of contention. And I'm old enough to remember spotted owls. Which are numerous. The state still logs, btw, they just get the money.

So the grandfathering in part... my Dad would have still had to pay taxes on a metered well (he moved now, to the other side of the state, where it's not so ridiculous).

Yes, a permit is needed. I don't know that things will get as ridiculous a little further south where I am. That stuff is moving steadily down the I-5 corridor. But I'm stuck where I am, and my goal is to keep the govt intrusion as minimal as possible. I'm following the laws, but let's not push the boundaries and invite trouble on a silver platter. LOL
 

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Gosh darn, it's Agenda 21 all over the place: Agenda 21/Sustainable Development - American Policy Center
The poster who suggested a supply tank (50 Shades of Dirt) is right on the money. I hate this for you. And I hate the anti-human scum who are barring people from their own land. It isn't American, it isn't constitutional, it just IS.
 
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One the other side of the state, (east side) several countries are requiring meters on all new wells. They also have a fee for drilling the well, along with the normal state fee. In these counties you pay, the county for ever gallon of water pumped. I drilled wells on several pieces of property before they enacted these new rules. Yes, its another way for them to raise money they are foolishly spending. If I were not 80 years old would be moving to Idaho or Montana. Living on the west side of the state is much worse than over here.
 

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I can tell you how a local entity can charge you for your well water. First the county allows way too many new houses in an area without considering the need to install septic systems for those houses. Then they make home owners install aeration septic systems since they don't have enough land to install leach beds. Then they decide the aeration systems have to be tested annually for ecoli and dissolved oxygen. Then they decide that the aeration systems absolutely must be tested during a 100 year flood that closes every interstate within 10 miles of the little group of houses. Now during this 100 year flood several aerators are unplugged because the systems are swamped with run-off from 7 inches of rain in one hour, so of course those aerators fail the testing. Since so many aerators failed the whole area is forced to abandon their private septic systems and hook up to a county owned and operated sewage disposal system. To figure out how much each house contributes to the system, a meter is put on your inlet from your well.
 

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I don’t care for the water from the creek, or stream. You mention it’s cloudy from clay, and you had livestock issues. It would be good to eliminate that as a source of water. It is creating most of your problems.

your 6foot deep well must be more or less a spring, or a low area where water gathers from the surrounding hills. If you are in control of tge surrounding hills, and dont let bad stuff on those hills, I guess that is a more acceptable water source to me. It sure is close to the surface and fraught with contamination possibilities but you can somewhat control those.

the creek as you describe is a nightmare of problems......

so, my guess is your pump is toast. Wore out. So get a new pump on the well. You can buy something cheap from harbor freight or you can buy something better from a better source. You,will get what you pay for. If you get a good one, treat it right, keep the dirt out of it. Or you,will be right back to a crunchy pump I’m a few months.

do away with the creek setup. You,will tell me, but we can’t, we run out of water in the well sometimes. Ok, keep the yucky pooped in sediment filled creek water pump, but don’t ever cross it over to your new well pump. A big part of your problem there. You run crap through both pumps, they both wear out.

You can make your small well work better, you need a bigger tank. You can get a bigger pressure tank. Or you can set up a small pump to fill a bigger tank, and then run a second pump to draw water from that tank to your house and livestock. The tank would be a buffer to hold water.

Pumps generally like to push water, they suck at sucking water. Your pump will work better if it doesn’t have to pull very far.

Have you checked your pressure switch, and the little 1/8 inch pipet leading to it? They always fill up with sediment and gunk over the years, and they the pressure doesn’t get to the switch. And of course the switches don’t last forever, be good to get 5 years out of them in a damp environment. You could have some issues here with some of your symptoms.

old folk used wringer washing machines, 10 gallons of water, start washing with whites, end up washing the farm work clothes at the end in the same 10gallons, 3-5 gallons of rinse water, whole weeks wash uses less than 20 gallons. If you have an older regular washer, you are using more than 20 gallons a load, and how many loads a week........

so, you know the real solution. Drill a well. Otherwise, work out how to use the little well.

I’m assuming a lot, and as you are aware you don’t have a good system. So things might be different than I’m imagining here. Just some opinion on my part, pick and choose any or none of it if any applies at all.

good luck.

paul
 

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You need to have the water tested to see if it any good ,I’m guessing your water problem is in the summer so get a tank from tractor supply 500 gallons or more and slowly pump water 24/7 to fill the tank. This prevents the clay from washing in .
The tank will settle the clay on the bottom and you can pump clear water .
2 tanks would be good allso one for settling and one to pump out of .
Your well could be getting clogged with clay , scrape out the bottom of the well to remove Any thing that is stoping the flow .
Maybe develop a new seep .
If you have a steel roof you can collect the water off the roof .
There are lots of things you can do , but getting water I sent cheep.
 

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Wow, your state and local goverment stinks.
We can simply call a well driller and drill a well here, no permits, just pay the guy.
Use as much water as we want, however we see fit. Only expense is the electric to run the well pump.

I'd try to work with what you have and maybe add a filtration system and / or holding tank.
Just be careful drinking anything until you do some testing to assure it's safe.
 
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