I will like to have a water well on my property

homerramirezhomerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭
I been reading the threads regarding water well, How can I start this proyect?, We have a 2.5 acres property and the cooperative water tower is about 1000 feet from home, could this be possible?
will the water be safe for residential usage? is it potable or can be used for shower or washing clothes?, more like it has to be pressurized for on demand? where can I find info on how start and system design?

thanks for any reply in advance.:confused:

Comments

  • EcnerwalEcnerwal Solar Expert Posts: 101 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    The water cooperative would know if you can connect to them, or not. If you can, it's probably your cheapest option - if you are not uphill of the tower, the whole purpose of the tower is to provide pressure to the system, so you would not even need a pump.

    Suggest you talk to the water cooperative in question.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,085 admin
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Also--you may wish to take a sample of the water to a reputable water quality lab... And remember that how they maintain the system will affect its potability too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • homerramirezhomerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    More like I did not post my question as I should, I mean to have my own water well, we have water from the cooperative but, just like all utilities, the water bill from March went from $29.00 to $ 40.00 for April, same usage and no tell when this price increase will stop,....seems to me that utility companies think we are at their mercy and there is nothing we can do about it.

    I will prefer to have my own water well, here we have septic systems (conventional) and we can choose the trash company at our will but, not the water or electricity, right now we are producing (with a lots of conservation) about 80% of electricity with our PV sys. so I wonder how can I find a sys. design for water well, by the way, I dont know if the cooperative water tower gets full with underground well or the water gests to the tower thru pipe...

    Mr. Ecnerwal, I been reading your posts and I understand you own a water well, how you did it?

    thanks again and an apology for not posting my question properly. :cool:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,085 admin
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Also check you water rights before you drill--at least in the US, they don't always go with the property (if somebody sold them off decades earlier and/or the local water district hijacked the water rights for their "needs").

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jacobsjacobs Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Different states have different laws. For instance in Colorado, the state owns the underground water and you must apply for a permit before you can drill. They will deny a permit IF you have any other possible source of water. It's my understanding, in Kansas, you can do whatever you want (no permits) unless it's a commercial well.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Water wells are on balance expensive to drill, and install. If you have a connection to a public (co-op) water system, you are almost assured that in the net/net it is going to be cheaper/safer than your own private system. $40 may sound expensive,, but if you factor in drilling costs, pump, screen and pipe installation costs,, pump replacement costs,, house pluming costs,,, as you can't legally have your water have the ability to cross contaminate the public system, and energy cost of pumping your own water,,, I think $40 seems pretty reasonable.

    It might be different if you have huge irrigating systems to run.

    Tony

    PS the last time I had a well drilled was 1982 and it was $21/foot, plus casing, plus pump, plus piping etc. ~185' was over $3k I bet it is double that now.
  • EcnerwalEcnerwal Solar Expert Posts: 101 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    As mentioned by others, depending where you are you may or may not even own the right to drill for water at all. I do. In the USA, more typical in the east, less typical as you go west, where various rights (mineral, water, etc) were commonly sold off separate from the rest of the land.

    As to the well itself, called well driller, got a hole, paid well driller $4000. Simple application of cash money to people with specialized equipment to get a job done. Drilling a 300 foot hole and setting 100 feet of steel casing is not a do-it-yourself project - in point of fact, it requires a licensed well driller in my state.

    Still have to put a pump in the well - that has been on hold as the power situation has been in flux. Anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars more, plus pipe and wire.

    If it's even possible/legal for you to drill a well, it's still not likely to save you much if any money. I have a well because otherwise there is no water available. ANY well is a crapshoot - you can drill for hundreds of feet and have a dry hole, which you still have to pay for. At 240 feet, I still had a dry hole, and the vast majority of the expense. At 300, I had a half-gallon a minute, which I could have worked with. I opted to pay for another 20 feet, and it picked up to 5 gallons per minute. But some nearby wells are over 600 feet deep, while others are all of 40 - it's very much a gamble. That's a foolish thing to get into when you have water already.
  • homerramirezhomerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Thank you guys, I had no idea that it was such a pain, I guess I have to settle for what I have, somebody already has done the math, the idea of being self reliable seems like an utopia, it is more like if you have to :cry: .....thanks again guys for your good advice.;)
  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Look in your local yellow pages under Water Wells and Drillers. Talk to them about prices.

    Typical well in this area runs between $3,000 and $10,000 drilled with a pump installed.....but that can vary WIDELY. Some areas, the water table is only 10-30' deep, others, it can be a thousand feet.....so there is virtually no way anyone here can tell you what a ballpark cost would be. Talk to someone local.
  • homerramirezhomerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    TnAndy, $ 3000.00 dlls . is not very expensive, it could pay back on about 6yrs. from there is free water, @ $10,000.00 is out of the picture, as Ecrnwal said, is a gamble, probably conservation is the way to go..... thanks again for your time :D
  • tmcmurrantmcmurran Registered Users Posts: 21
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    I been reading the threads regarding water well, How can I start this proyect?, We have a 2.5 acres property and the cooperative water tower is about 1000 feet from home, could this be possible?
    will the water be safe for residential usage? is it potable or can be used for shower or washing clothes?, more like it has to be pressurized for on demand? where can I find info on how start and system design?

    thanks for any reply in advance.:confused:

    Have a look at www.builditsolar.com they have lots of ideas and DIY projects. Water can be fun, and is something many take for granted. Do it right, and life is so much better, do it wrong and you face nothing but problems.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    TnAndy, $ 3000.00 dlls . is not very expensive, it could pay back on about 6yrs. from there is free water, @ $10,000.00 is out of the picture, as Ecrnwal said, is a gamble, probably conservation is the way to go..... thanks again for your time :D


    But it is not "free" water! At $3000,,(assuming that you could do it for that,,, and I would have my doubts is you are in a dry climate where wells might be really deep), 5% rate of return, would be worth ~$150/year,, or ~ $12 month. Factor in the energy cost of pumping, the capital cost of replacing the pump/pressure tank system, let say, $1000 over ten years is another $50 year, or ~$4.16 a month. Now add in the cost of the energy required to pump that water,,, pretty quickly you can see how the $40 that the water co-op charges is a pretty good deal.

    Some times I think that people get caught up in the price of things rather than the value of them. Too many people complain about $4/gallon gasoline but don't bat an eye a $10/gal bottled water!

    Public water systems are like the grid,,, it is the cheapest, most reliable system out there! Spend you money on conservation,,, including GOOD low flow toilets,, low or no water urinals, water efficient laundry, native plantings instead of water thirsty "lawns" etc. If you are looking to save money you will most likely lose.

    As a side bar,, our old fashioned wringer washing machine is very water/ energy efficient. We wash whites in the first batch of water,, perhaps 8 gallons,, wring them, then add the darks to the same water, then drain. Rinse the whites in fresh water,, then the darks in the same rinse water, then add soap and do two more loads the same way. So four loads of laundry uses~24 gallons of water!

    It does take a while, as you have to wring between cycles but the clothes come cleaner,, and last longer!

    Icarus
  • jacobsjacobs Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    icarus wrote: »

    As a side bar,, our old fashioned wringer washing machine is very water/ energy efficient. We wash whites in the first batch of water,, perhaps 8 gallons,, wring them, then add the darks to the same water, then drain. Rinse the whites in fresh water,, then the darks in the same rinse water, then add soap and do two more loads the same way. So four loads of laundry uses~24 gallons of water!

    It does take a while, as you have to wring between cycles but the clothes come cleaner,, and last longer!

    Icarus

    I don't want to get off topic again like I've been known to in the past but you are correct on conservation. My only complaint with wringer washers are they don't wring the water out like an automatic does. We used a Maytag wringer (with a factory dc motor) for about 15 years, finally converted an old suds saver Whirlpool automatic to a dc motor. It does use more rinse water though.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    I've always felt that the wringer removes more water than a conventional spin washing machine,,, although it my be my imagination.

    Tony
  • jacobsjacobs Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    icarus wrote: »
    I've always felt that the wringer removes more water than a conventional spin washing machine,,, although it my be my imagination.

    Tony

    You may be right. I'm just going by what my wife says. Wringers are much more simple AND troublefree. Ahh simplicity is beautiful!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Like so many things,,, you trade time for complexity/cost.

    Tony
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,042 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    icarus wrote: »
    I've always felt that the wringer removes more water than a conventional spin washing machine


    Imagine, if you will, why they used to be called a " mangle " and place your fingers near it, with wet cloths....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangle_(machine)

    I'll use a high RPM spin cycle and tumble or line dry.
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Oh how we stray off into the esoteric!

    We used to have a "mangle". It was a commercial ironing device. Contrary to it's name, it wouldn't do anything to your hands,, except burn them.

    The wringer machine can however can give you a pretty good squeeze but it will pop open the rollers if the load going through (your hands!) gets to fat, so you really can't hurt yourself.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,085 admin
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Just got a notice from our local water company... Next rate increase is to ~$5 per 100 cu ft (~750 gallons) and promises of more increases for the next 8-10 years (I guess there has been a 100 years of differed maintenance for the San Francisco water system from the Sierras)...

    If I could get a well drilled and pumped for $15,000 in my yard--I would do it ($30k seems to be the going rate for a 100-150' well with a good in ground pump here).

    That and start using gray/well water for winter in the home as much as possible (winter usage sets sewer rates--which are also going up). :roll:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Even at $5/750gal it works out to $.0066667 per gallon. This for 24/7 water that is pure/safe/reliable AND in most jurisdictions they take it away again! (sewer system) A bargain at 4 times the price. Let's try this for an example,, A 240 vac pump drawing say 10 amps,, pumping 60 gph uses ~ 2.4kwh. or ~.04 kwh per gallon, at $.15kwh = $.0026 per gallon,,, for the energy cost alone. (Way too much math, and it is possible I made calculation errors!)

    So the energy cost of the water is about 40% of the cost of getting the water to the tap, relative to the utiltiy. Add in drilling costs, pump costs, maintenance and opperation, depreciation, metering and billing, PURIFYING, etc. I really don't see how a private well can compete (on dollars).

    Now you can expect that water rates will go up in the future to repair/replace infrastructure (as they should, since we haven't kept up for at least a generation!) as well as an increase in the energy cost. But to think that you will be cheaper with a private well going forward is likely to be wrong too, as the cost of the energy to pump, the cost of replacement pumps, tanks, switches etc will also go up at about the same rate IMHO.

    I go back to my initial suggestion, that just like doing PV solar,, your cheapest WATER dollar is conservation. In the real world water conservation issues are going to have the same weight as an economic/social/environmental issue as energy issues in the future. I know that people rail against regulation regarding low flow toilets/low flow shower heads etc, but the reality is that in too many parts of the world there are too many people using too much water.

    Perhaps the biggest change we as a society can do, is encourage a different way to use grey water. Using grey water to capture waste heat, to avoid mixing mildly dirty grey water with black water etc. It will come with some significant infrastructure cost, but it will be cheaper in the long run.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,085 admin
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Actually, I think you have an assumption problem or units issue here...
    A 240 vac pump drawing say 10 amps,, pumping 60 gph

    60 GPM (gallons per minute) would be a practical number for a domestic water system pressure (if not more GPMs)--I would guess.

    1 GPM with 3+ HP would be more of an ultra-high pressure washer volume. For example (and, I believe this is the "lying" 2 HP electric motor from marketing--probably closer to 1 HP or less):
    • Max PSI: 1500
    • Engine: 2.0 HP electric
    • Pump: general
    • Voltage: 120 volts
    • Water flow: 2.0 GPM

    60GPM * 60 Min/Hr = 3,600 GHP

    240 VAC * 10 Amps * 1 Hr * 1kW/1,000W * $0.15perkWhr = $0.36 per hour

    $0.36 per hour / 3,600 GPH = $0.0001 per gallon for electricity

    To a degree--I was just ranting here about the mixed messages we get about resource usage...

    In the last ~5 years, our water rates have already increased by ~4-5x. With, apparently, no end in sight.

    We have our city which tries to push for landscaping everywhere (through building permits, tree cutting, etc.)--and at the same time, we have the courts blocking water usage based on delta smelt.
    In the Westlands Water District, the nation's largest irrigation district, things are bleak. It is heavily dependent on delta pumps, lacks its own storage and is a relative newcomer in its demand for water. The district is likely to get just 10 percent to 15 percent of the water in its contract amount this year, the worst supply in its history.

    ...

    The focus of marchers' ire was not the weather or drought, but new environmental regulations meant to prevent the dwindling population of delta smelt, which are threatened under the Endangered Species Act, from going extinct.

    That anger was somewhat misdirected. The delta smelt rules, according to San Joaquin Valley farmers' own numbers, have cost water districts from here to Southern California 300,000 acre-feet this year. While that's enough water for about 2.4 million people, it is only 5 percent of the 6 million acre-feet that was pumped out of the delta in recent years.

    The real reason for the shortages this year is a string of three dry years in a row and decisions, right or wrong, that have drawn reservoirs down to much lower than normal.

    Some areas are only pumping 40% and down to 5% of "normal" water volumes.

    State dumps large amount of money into water system. Local and State officials pass laws and zoning to pump/allow use of "new" water. Feds pass laws on conservation. Court ruins value of infrastructure and citizens who pay/use infrastructure. All in the period of ~10 years.

    Granted, water is a renewable but, ultimately limited, resource that does fall to the whims of weather (and global warming CO2 :roll: ).

    But--to a large degree this entire mess is a self cause problem by government (and, in the end, people who vote for these folks).

    Perhaps, a short term solution will be plumbing cities to use reclaimed sewage water for irrigation/landscaping (but--I am sure that will have its own issues with many large downstream cities that "reuse" river discharge water in their own domestic water systems).

    There has to be a more sane method (which recognizes resource and financial limitations) to planing vs what we see here in much of the US.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    I was just running from memory that the last deep well I did. I looked around and found a book on a pump I did for someone in 2004. The pump depth is ~60' pumping into 50 psi tank.

    1/2 hp goulds pump draws ~5 amps running at 240 vac= 1.2 kw, delivering ~ 5gpm,, 300 gph (I told you my math sucked,,, multiplying 5 gmp by 12 instead of 60,,, it's that metric time thing again.)

    So 1.2 kwh would deliver 300 gal or .004 kwh/gal or at $.15kwqh=$.0006 per gal (Once again, if my math is correct,,, and it isn't likely to be!)

    That works out to be 750X .0006=$.45 for the same 750 gallons for energy cost,,, about 9%.

    So while my point is less dramatic,, none the less I stand by my thought that city water is still a pretty good bargain. I don't argue for one minute however that social and government policy has been terribly rational on this or any other resource issue. As Bill suggests,, water is indeed a renewable yet finite resource, and in too many parts of the world treated poorly.

    Tony

    PS Never trust my math (or arithmetic!) for anything. I am fundamentally dyslexic and I can transpose numbers and ideas at the drop of a hat. My wife,, a former university math prof. gets driven nuts... She keep me away from the check book!
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    Knew a guy once...

    He rigged up his washing machine and shower to a separate drain system that ran to a couple of 50 gallon drums out back, and rigged an irrigation system off of that which fed his lawn and flower beds.

    It worked fine, but since his sewer charge was a percentage of his water use, he couldn't get the utility company to lower his sewer bill.
  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property
    icarus wrote: »
    Even at $5/750gal it works out to $.0066667 per gallon. This for 24/7 water that is pure/safe/reliable AND in most jurisdictions they take it away again! (sewer system) A bargain at 4 times the price.

    Tony


    You're making quite an assumption about the "pure" factor. Many municipal water systems are downstream from someone else's garbage/sewer dump.

    For example, we don't have municipal water in the valley where I live, and frankly, I wouldn't take it if they piped it up to my house and gave me the water free, except maybe to wash my car with it. I have spring water, and own the entire watershed behind the spring.

    The water intake for the muni plant is on a local river, that is a mile or two downstream from an EPA superfund site where toxic waste was dumped for decades, trucked in from all over the east coast until the local residents simply blocked a bridge one day and brought it to a head to stop it. Then a couple miles on up river is a nuclear fuel processing plant that somehow manages to "loose" plutonium from time to time....

    I have no doubt you can put enough chlorine in water to kill bateria....but I doubt very seriously many municipal systems test for the whole wide range of "other" items that could be in water. ( I KNOW ours doesn't.....neighbor of mine works at the plant, and all they test for is bacteria count and how clear it is ) The amount of plutonium it takes to start cancer is unbelievably small.

    Don't always assume what comes out of a pipe is safe to drink.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I will like to have a water well on my property

    I take your point,,, however MOST municipal/co-ops/ water assc. etc have to be fairly strictly tested. There are places in North America where this oversight has fallen through (Walkerton ON), but on balance public water is pretty damn cheap, and pretty damn safe. If you are worried about your public supply,, you local private well or intake from surface water is just as likely to be suspect.

    Tony
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