plumbing natural spring to house ?

tommypicDecember 19, 2006

I have bought this house and a new well was drilled before I bought it . The well is about 409 ft but not getting but 1.5 gal a min. I talked to the orginal owner and he said all they used was a natural spring . I want some in put on what you think about using one . There is pipe and wire ran to it from the house ( i will have to get him to show me where they are at the house ). It has a large cement pipe in the ground and water is steady running out . If you would use it I need some ideas on setting it up .



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Natural springs will vary a lot. The water doesn't come "from" the ground, it comes "thru" the ground. It may come from many miles away and run deep underground, or much of it may come from a stagnent swampy area nearby. The water may be safe to drink as is or it may be full of all kinds of nasty stuff. Have it tested before you make any definite plans, and if you use it, have it retested regularly. (tests to include bacteria, virus, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, etc). Springs can change due to changes in weather patterns, industrial development, illegal dumping, etc. This is also true for wells, but generally less of a problem because they draw from deeper aquifers that are fed from a large area.

That's a pretty deep well to only produce 1 1/2 gal. How does this compare to other wells in the area? What kind of formation is this producing from? Talk to some well drillers, they may be able to help.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 10:00PM
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I know this trick. The prior owner had a well dug because a lender wouldn't lend on a house with a spring for its water supply. The owner reluctanly hires a driller. The driller says he hit water, but only 1.5 gpm. The owner says fine, stop drilling, because all he needs is a well and he doesn't want to pay another $200 to get a usable well when he's only interested in selling.

I'm housesitting a home where that was done. I'm using bottled water and only washing in the spring water. I've used springs. I've also had giardia and C. Dificile bacterial infections at the same time. No E. coli, thankfully.

When I tested the spring on my property, it tested positive for coliform, meaning that there was evidence of recent surface water intrusion into the spring. The spring in the house where I'm now staying tested the same. The water pressure behind the spring may come from far away, but the water can come from only a few feet away.

Even my new well once tested positive for coliform, generally an indication that the ground around the well head has become supersaturated or that the well head is not sufficiently sealed. A well can be sanitized and resealed. Not so with a spring.

I've travelled extensively and have had some very serious boughts of "turista," including sleeping naked in the shower because I got tired of cleaning up after myself. This was minor compared to giardia. So my recommendation would be to spend the time, energy, and money on getting your well to function.

When was the last time you had the output of the well measured? My well produced 2 gpm the day it was drilled, 4.5 the next day, and now I know it is more than 10. It appears that tiny "seams" opened up and begin draining into the well hole after a bit of time. During the drilling, they weren't enough to make the driller think that he'd hit sufficient water. He came back the next day (unusual) because I'm on saltwater and sometimes saltwater can intrude. The final check was much different than the initial check. Make sure that you really are still limited to 1.5 gpm.

If there is a limiter on your well (a restriction that only permits 1.5 gpm), then you'll have to remove it to make your test. While I was connecting my system, I removed the 4.5 gpm limiter my well driller had installed. I forgot and ran the well to fill a 500 gallon cistern (that I now fill with the well instead of using the spring). I was surprised how fast it filled and then remembered that I had taken the 4.5 gpm restrictor off. So I know I can pump probably 10 gpm for 40 minutes. I put the restrictor back on because who needs that much water?

What is the reserve capacity in your well casing? The pump is probably down 10 or 15 feet below the water level. This can also change over time. My driller hit water at 180 feet. When he came back the next day, the water level was at 115 feet. This gives me a large reserve above the pump even if the speed of water infiltration changes seasonally. You may have 40 gallons of water sitting above your pump. That, plus a big expansion tank, may answer all your problems. What is the size of your expension tank? This is another area where sellers often scrimp. They don't have to live with the tiny reserve tank and can save $50.

What are your water needs? You may be able to pump periodically to a cistern. 1.5 gpm is over 2,000 gallons per day. You have enough water, you just need storage. Your already looking at a pump for the spring. Use that pump for house pressure from a 500 gallon buried cistern that's filled intermittently by the well pump.

Why is it that you have a well that's practically dry and a nearby surface spring that can supply the water you need? Those are questions for the well driller. I'd be reluctant to use the original driller again.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 3:00PM
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Does anybody ever "stimulate" a water well to increase production? We do this routinely with oil and gas wells, but i've never heard of anybody fracing or acidizing a water well? Is it just because it's cheaper to just drill a few hundred feet deeper, or is there something else i'm missing?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 12:36PM
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I wonder if rainwater is an option, you shouldn't have any of the microbial issues described, it's common in places like New Zealand and Australia - not a problem where stuff doesn't freeze - but if you had a big enough cistern, you could store it for winter, maybe.

Tommypic hasn't made any mention of the surrounding area so we can get an idea of the water quality - if the house is the only one for 50 miles and surrounded by national park catchment, the water quality might be reasonable - but if there's lots of houses, maybe septic tanks, or agriculture, especially cattle, ground water like this might be a very doubtful proposition.

Kind of a pity you bought the place already, this'd be a deal breaker to me without proof the water's ok (the water should be tested several times under different conditions.

Interesting the mention of getting finance, I was wondering the same - why use 'spring' water coming from a culvert when you've drilled a well? I guess the other downside is, it suggests an overall poor water supply. This'd be a huge disadvantage in reselling.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 2:28AM
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I fail to see why a well producing 1.5gal/min would not be sufficient to your needs.

Typically a family of 5 will consume an average of 300gal/day.

There are 24 hours x 60 minutes per hour for a total of 1440 minutes in a day.

The well produces 1.5gal/min x 1440min/day for a total of 2,160gallons per day thus the well can produce enough water in one 24hr period to supply a single family residential structure for 7.2 days.

In a typical household the largest single use demand for water is the shower which is typically 2.5gpm x 10min for a total of 25gal. The well produces 1.5gpm so it can make up the shower volume in 25gal/1.5gpm = 16.6minutes.

The shower is consuming 2.5gal/min while the well is resupplying 1.5gl/min for a net loss of 1gal/min which can easily be maintained by the volume of stored water in the pressure tank and the tank will recover between showers. In fact, with a 75gal holding tank you could operate 3 showers simultaneously.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:58AM
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It all depends on the quality of the spring. There are some very good springs, but you need to have the water tested. We have lived with spring water in two homes for at total of 45 years. In one case we just laid a submersible pump sideways in the spring house, in the other the spring house was on a hill above the house, 50psi gravity feed no pump.

"Does anybody ever stimulate" a water well "Â.
In my area we used to fracture wells with dynamite now days we use hydro fracture. IÂve seen significant increases in SOME cases.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 12:05AM
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At a house I recently purchased, there is a spring, but no well, so the spring is my only option. When I began to use it early this year, it flowed fairly quickly. Several months later, it has slowed up enough to be a problem with supplying the house. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to keep it flowing?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 4:54PM
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It's a long time since this post, but in case someone else is looking...

Go to the spring source and open up the cistern or wherever the supply lines start.

The spikes driven into the earth can become clogged, so you could try cleaning those by driving a rod up the shaft. If you have another means of water flowing, you need to make sure the pathways are open.

Likewise, sometimes there can be buildup in the holes of the feed tube in the cistern. You can manually scrape/clean the holes to open up the flow into the line.

In my case, we had some small roots that found their way into some of the holes. These were removed with loose agitation.

Water was tested after cleaning and no ecoli or other bacteria present.

Make sure you seal the lid. I used compressible foam around the head of the cistern to prevent mud and bugs from finding their way into the cistern. Caulk was used at one time, but the problem there is that if you lift the lid again, the hardened caulk now becomes a pathway for junk and bugs getting in, because the lid won't sit perfectly back in the same spot. If you use caulk once, you have to re-caulk every time you open the lid.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:58PM
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We have a spring that feeds two homes. I happen to be the "upstream" home.

We recently did a major remodel and kept the spring.

I get 40psi and about 7gpm from the spring water, so there is technically no need for a pump. The problem is that in the winter, I cannot pull all the water for my home, or else the stagnant water between the two houses could freeze. We'd be up a spring without a paddle if that happened. In fact, I've been told that back in the mid 1900's, the inhabitants were known to have to go into the creek (the two houses are on either side of a creek at the base of a bluff) in the middle of winter to fix the line.

The question I have is about the water storage at my house, the upstream house. What I plan to do is to plumb the spring to a T connection on the bottom of a 50 gal pressurized storage tank. I will set the pressure at, say, 30 PSI, or something less than the spring. I will throttle the inlet to cap the amount of water I pull off the spring line. This will also allow me to pull water from the tank first (ensuring I am always replenishing that water), while sending enough water downstream that it would never stagnate and freeze.

Does anyone see any issues with this, or do you have a better solution or recommendation?


    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:15AM
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I moved here 1980,,the place was a mess. we did a lot of clearing & fixing up of house..Its atrailer that on outside looks like house..Recently my son had to work on plumbing.Had plumber come & help him look it all over..Had new pressure gauge added..Found the pipe had leak.Pipe went all round we shortened it,came from spring fed well to trailer,125 ft..well is little lower then house..We have no pressure,not sure if tank,,or pump,,also have loop in pipe,loop is out of the water little,,,

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:22PM
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