Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Once In A Lifetime

I tried to find a good song that had "water" in the title but couldn't come up with anything that was appropriate. The most appropriate one was this Talking Heads song that some of you may be familiar with that mentions "water flowing under ground". It uses various metaphors of flowing water to allude to life and death etc. I know I don't understand the whole thing but I love the song. And this house is my once in a lifetime chance to have something that is mine and that is an embodiment of what I believe in; not possessions mind you, but of living simply but fully. Well, enough philosophical crap...........! I'm going to try to answer questions today. The photos posted are a few of the ones I've taken in the course of us trenching and installing water lines from the spring.
A lot of people have been asking here and in person about my water system so I'm going to do a Q&A deal here.
1. Why am I using a spring instead of city water?
Ok, due to just the way the land laid out etc., my house is located about 1,000 feet from the main road with a line of very rocky terrain in between. It would be incredibly expensive and difficult to run water line from this distance and in that dirt. In this municipality, they charge $2,500.00 just to tap the water main at the road and set your meter. I have not spent that amount yet and I almost have complete running water. Secondly, I don't want to drink dirty city water or chlorine or fluoride. Thirdly, I won't have a water bill. This type of setup is what I was looking for. It's not much different than being on a well system.
2. How reliable is the spring? Well, just from the 2 1/2 years that we have observed it, it seems pretty reliable. Also, Fred's family used this spring ( at another outlet) for their water about 70 years ago. It sustained them until the utilities came in. You can actually still find some of the old pipe they used and ran along the creek. Last year when Allen built the syphon, (it's in the archives) we ran a 2" line out of the spring and opened it up all the way. It ran for about 3 days constantly putting out about 5 gallons every 2 minutes, 24 hours a day, before too much air got in the siphon and caused it to stop. This did not cause any appreciable difference in the spring. Right now we are in a level 2 drought here and it is still flowing pretty much like always.
3. Are we going to filter or treat the water? Yes! My first thought was a reverse osmosis system but then I learned that they are very slow, only producing about 50 gallons of usable water a day if you have a high capacity system. Then I learned that you can't use activated charcoal systems unless your water has been chlorinated. Charcoal, being a natural substance and very good filter, can grow little buggies if the water has not been sterilized. Well, I'll be horse whipped if I'm going to chemicalize up my fresh water with chlorine and then remove it again! So, I have decided on a 3-stage micron filter. I will try to put up some specs on it later. Basically, it starts off about a 2 micron that filters dirt, sediment etc, then reduces down to about a .5 micron that gets the little buggies and organisms. I have tested my water several times too. You could add the UV filters too. The one I have picked is fairly reasonably priced too at around $200.00.

4. Have I tested my water or had it tested? Yes! I had the city test it, which was almost not worth it. It cost $5 and all they tested for was bacteria but it came back negative for E.Coli which is nice to know. I ran several test myself with a kit I got from a reputable lab. I tested it for lead (negative), pesticides (negative), nitrates (negative), general bacteria (negative and that is the photo above) they explained this as fecal matter from farms, houses etc. All water, earth, people, animals etc. contain certain amounts of natural bacteria. I tested the pH, which is important for your plumbing. If the pH is low it can damage copper plumbing. Mine was around 8.5, I think, which is good. I tested the hardness of the water and it is a little hard. I may have to do something about this because this can cause some deposits in your plumbing. It tested for chlorine too but, of course, that was negative.
5. Do I have or will have a backup system? No. I'm not sure if that is possible, at least in a way that I could afford. There is another old bluegrass song that I like that says, " I have the faith of a saint but the soul of a gambler and a heart like a rushing wind"...... I guess that's about the way I look at it. I believe, that if you are willing to see, things always work out and I'm willing to take the risk (but studied risk) for what I see as being a once in a lifetime chance and just hang on with all fours!!! Some may see that as pretty stupid or intensely naive but it's gotten me this far and I've had a hell of a good time as yet.
I'll try to have some more stuff up soon showing details on the water lines etc. but my camera screwed up this weekend (wouldn't you know) and it will probably in the shop for awhile. But we have running water at the house!!! No faucets yet but I do have water!


Anonymous said...

Looks like you've been doing your homework. Are you going to feed a holding tank and then pump out of that or pump on demand from the spring? A holding tank can also serve as a backup (haul water to fill it) in the event the spring dries up or gets contaminated.

I've located a reliable spring 9 miles from my place and plan to haul water for the time being. Plan on using a "on demand" pump like they use in an RV to deliver water at 45 psi(built in pressure switch) rather thatn a conventional shallow well pump and pressure tank. They run about $120.00 or so for the 115 volt model(Shurflo).

Family went up to a place called High Falls this past weekend. Its located just west of Geraldine(just north of Albertville) and watched crazy young guys jump off the rock bluff trying to impress the young girls? Were we ever that young and stupid? Anyway the place is beautiful and I highly recommend a visit. Let us know of any other tricks you learn on the water situation and don't forget to pray for some rain up there!

pablo said...

So if the water is piped in underground, it would be dark. And thus you could have used the Doobie Brothers song "Black Water" for a title, eh?

(I am soooo envious of your life.)

edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! The pump delivers the water to a pressure tank under the house (86 gallon) where it is stored until being sent to the water heater or other parts of the house. Mine works very much like a shallow well pump actually. Both items (pump and pressure tank ) set me back pretty good but it's still cheaper than getting city water. Hey, we are praying for rain alright! We are getting a little desperate. I'll have a whole post with photos and all of the complete water system and how it works etc. soon. That High Falls sounds great!

Hey Pablo! You know, I thought of that song... and "Cry Me a River" came to mind also. HHmmm. I think I was thinking more about when the pump was trying not to work and we had primed that thing for the 30th time.

edifice rex said...

Oh, I forgot Pablo, WHY??? You want to work yourself into the ground too?

Jenn said...

Test for arsenic? It's naturally occurring and may be present.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jenn! I have not tested for arsenic but am going to. You're right; it could be there and I would like to know about that.