Pumping to a storage tank

Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
I currently have several wells that use the Shurflo 9300 pump using a pump controller to pump to stock tanks. I want to pump to a storage tank about a mile away and then gravity feed to the stock tanks. The total vertical lift from the pump to the storage tank is 190 feet. There will be float valve in the storage tank to turn the water off once the tank gets full.

Can I use a pressure switch at each well to turn the pump off and on?

How accurate will it be?

Thank You


  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    I'm not quite sure what you are asking,, but if I understand you right,, you have multiple pumps in multiple wells,, pumping into a storage tank.

    The first question is does it really matter if it is accurate?

    The other question is,, if you are pushing water a mile you are going to have a ton of friction loss in the pipe. 190 ft vertically will be ~75 psi (if my conversion memory is close!) So you would be pushing 75 psi at a minimum and then adding in the friction loss. Up sizing the pipe to some larger dimension will help dramatically,, say 2". My hunch is that you are going to get very little water out of the system without some booster pump,, but a pump expert should chime in.

    The question then is,, can you put pressure switches in parallel,, such that if one closes they all run? sounds doable.

  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Thanks Tony.

    You are corect that I will pumping water from multiple wells in to the storage tank and I was thinking that each pump would have to have it's own pressure switch.

    I too am concerned about the friction loss of the pipe. But if I go to a 2" pipe I don't think I can build enogh pressure to push the water with the Shurflo 9300 pump.

    Everything I've read is that it likes either 1/2" or 3/4" but that is a long way to push water.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    The reality is that the pressure will be the same regardless of pipe size, less friction loses. I would consult with a pumping/plumbing expert about proper pipe sizing. I know the 9300 calls for 1/2 or 3/4" but I know of little reason not to increase to a bigger size.

    I just think that pumping water a mile against 75 psi is going to be a problem with the 9300. Depending on how deep your well(s) are you may be considerably more than 75 psi. You could consider bringing the water to a surface unpressurized tank near the well head,, then re pump the water with a different pump set up to the p tank. Or possibly you might be able to pump to a P-tank near the well head,, send it the mile with a large oversize pipe with the pressure from the tank. All in all, the net effect is the same,, pumping against pressure and the friction. (just thinking out loud here.)

    You could wire the switches any way you like,, but if they all carry pressure from the same source (Pressure tank) and are set to turn on at the same pressure, the starting load will be considerable. I curious, what is the layout of the wells? Do you use miltiple wells to keep water in some while others are recharging? If that is the case, you certainly don't want to run a pump if there is little or no water in the casing, so in that case they would each want a pressure switch independent of one another.

    Give us a bit more info if you can,

  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    I have several wells spread over several hundred acres and currently each well feeds a stock tank for the cattle. The deepest well is 100 feet and I have sensors in each well so that the pump does not run dry.

    I was hopping to pump the water to a storage tank and then garvity feed each stock tank from there.

    I could put a none pressurized tank each well and then pump with a seperate pump. Not sure how big a pump I would need to push the water that far. It would be great if I could get a diaphragm pump that would do the job.

    Hopefully this helps fill in some of the blanks
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    I guess I am missing the point. Why not pump to each individual tank scattered around the ranch near where the stock is, each tank with a control switch to keep the tank full, rather than sending water a mile to a central location, only to send it back to the field again?

    Tell me what I am missing.

  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Good Morning Tony..

    My water systen is set up as as you mentioned. One well feeding one drinker with level control at each drinker. The system works well but, in New Mexico you always want to store water so in case a well goes dry or a pump fails you have water for the cattle.

    The other reason is that I need to add some more drinkers (need to spread the cows out) so it would be easier to feed them from a storage tank then to run a pipe from another well along with contol wires.

    Hope all this makes sense.

    Tony, another reason to pump to a storage tank and then distribute is that it is much cheaper to store and distribute then it is to drill a well and then hope you hit water. Cattle don't wonder far from water so to to get them to spread out you need water distributed. If not then they eat all the grass around the water and then you have to feed them. Another expense.

    Some hard learned lessons.

    Thanks again..
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    I'll chime in with a few observations for whatever they're worth.

    If you're going to change the set-up so that the pumps fill a central tank which will shut them all off when it's full then the actual line pressure isn't much of an issue, as you're going for volume and lift. How fast this occurs will be reduced to the need to stay ahead of the main reservoir's capacity loss.

    If you want to keep the individual waterer/well set-up and shunt excess capacity (in New Mexico? Hah! :p) to storage it becomes tricky, as the current set-up turns off the pump when the line becomes pressurized due to closing of the float valve at the waterer, right? You'd need to re-arrange this with some solenoid control valves to re-direct the water once the troughs are full.

    Absolutely must keep the safety switches that shut off the pumps when the wells go down!

    As far as feeding to the central tank, these well pumps alone will be over-taxed. It would be better to pipe them to the nearest possible central point and then run another pump to lift from there to the tank. In this case you'd need the tank float to operate all pumps, with the central pump only turning on when pressure is found at its intake (it will make that pump's job easier). Plus you're going to need check valves to keep one pump from pushing water back against another which may be off due to low well level or simply can't provide as much pressure.

    Pipe runs: larger diameter will slow the flow and lead to greater problems with sedimentation, especially at fittings. But if the central pump was large enough to feed a 1" or 2" pipe you should go for it, because funneling all those smaller lines together will result in a larger over-all flow rate. I don't know what you've got for available power, but that central pump could potentially be quite substantial.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    How about this idea to KISS.

    What would happen if you installed oversized gravity tanks at various locations. Then you could either do interconnections between these tanks and the stock tanks,, and or to a still bigger tank farther away with a secondary pumping system. You could move the water with a petro-powered pump that moves large volumes in short time through large pipe over the long distance. For example a $500 tractor powered pump might move water the mile horizontally, and perhaps into your 190' vertical lift. Another Honda or electric powered pump might be needed intermediately. The point is that you might burn some fuel, but only for a comparatively short period of time.

    Let's just say for example with the tractor powered system you could move 10 gpm over the mile and the 190' lift. in 8 hours you could move ~4800 gallons burning say 1gph of diesel. I confess I have no idea of how much you need to store/for how long, but if for example you needed to do this once a month, and you burned 16 gallons of diesel,, the cost would not be insignificant,, but might prove more cost effective. (once again,, just thinking out loud here).

    I also might look at some other pump options: http://store.solar-electric.com/water-dankoffsp-8000.html

  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Thanks Marc..

    I think you are on the right track.. I don't think the Shurflo 9300 pump will be able to push the water that far. Each well will be pumping to a small local storage tank (200 to 300 gallons) and then via another solar pump push the water to the main stoarge tank. I will have level senors in the small storage tank to turn it's pump off and to also signal the well pump to turn either off or on.

    I have no grid power at the locations of the wells so I need a solar pump to push the water from the small local tank to the main storage tank.

    Can someone recommend one that will work?
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    ONe big question is how many gph/gpd/gp month do we need to move.

    Moving 100 gpm is one answer, 100 gpd is another,, while 100 gp month is still another.

  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank


    Good question..

    My wells are not strong wells and produce about 700 gallons per day so that is probably where I would start..
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Tony's suggestion of multiple storage tanks and a gasoline pump has merit. You'd only need "one long pipe" and move it about to fill your large tank. The downside is: more tanks to buy/maintain and it wouldn't be automatic.

    Your well output averaged out is less than 1 gallon per minute, which should be easy to accommodate. But chances are the output isn't steady, so you'd want to be able to handle the maximum flow when it was available (probably at night when the cattle are sleeping) to fill the tank rapidly. I'm guessing.

    The Shurflo 9300 is rated at 1 gpm @ 100 psi from 230'. Change the depth, change the pressure, changes the flow rate of course. So how many wells do you currently have and how many do you think you'd add? The central pump could be rated at 1 gpm per feeding well, and would need to be capable of lifting that volume the further distance to the storage tank.

    Could you use in-ground tank and eliminate the need for lift? Directing surplus water into an underground tank would be easy, and then a pump could be used to re-distribute as necessary.

    Are we confusing you with too many possibilities? :blush:
  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Hello Marc..

    I have 5 wells and I plan on having two storage tanks feeding different sections. One storage tank will fed by 3 wells and the second storage tank will be fed by 2 wells. Each well will feed directly into it's respective storage tank and not coupled to the other well.

    My hopes are that there will be float valve in each storage tank that when it shuts off it will cause the pressure at the well pressure switch to reach it's reach it's set point and turn off the pump.

    The storage tanks will be placed on small rises (approximately 80 feet above the well head) so that I can gravity feed several drinkers in each section.

    I may be making this harder than it needs to be. The frutherst well from one of the storage tanks is about a mile. All the others are within 2000 feet.

    The total lift (including the 90 feet in the well) will be about 180 feet. I don't think it's the lift that is challenging me but instead the distance I want to push the water.

    Hopefully this paints a clearer picture. Is it time for a road trip?

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this..
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank


    The 9300's are capable of 230' lift, so 90' of well plus 80' to the tank is only 170'. That's fine except for the lateral distances. The mile away one would be a problem.

    So if you're going to go: WELL to TANK to TROUGH ...
    Float valve on troughs will cut off the flow from the main storage tank. Float valve on the tank will shut off feed from wells, causing pressure to rise. Pressure switch on each pump will shut it off when pressure gets high on its line. Right?
    If you put together the 'shortest' run system first you can try it without a second pump. You may have to adjust the pressure switch points to get the performance you want. I'd recommend some gauges at the pumps and at the tank to see how much difference there is. Check valves on each pump line would be recommended. They'll also help prevent excess water loss in case of a line breaking (so the other pumps won't run continuously and pump all your water from every well out onto the ground).

    This should work. If it doesn't, adding a booster pump where the lines come together to go to the tank would be fairly easy. It would not only 'push' the water to the tank, but also 'pull' against the other pumps reducing the amount of work they have to do. Getting the pressure settings right would still be a matter of experimentation.

    Trip to NM in Summer? No thanks! It's hot enough here right now! :D (But on the plus side my panels are working great!)
  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Thanks Marc..

    It's only 99 degrees today so not to bad.. It'll be 103 in California.

    Thanks for your help and I will work with the shortest run first and see how it works.

    I'll report back once I get it done. First I've got to dig some trenches.. After it cools off...

    I'm hopping to use 3/4" PVC on the short runs to the storage tanks.

    Thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions!!!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,571 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Tough decision on the pumps, one of my ideas for collecting rain water from roof gutters involves a 1500 gl tank at grade, and a sewage transfer pump. 3/4 hp models can do 30' into a larger storage tank to feed the garden, at 3,000GPH via 2" discharge . less than $300 for pump, and 1/2 hr gen set runtime,
    instead of a very expensive, slow, well pump.
    ( WAYNE DSP75 - 3/4 HP )
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    There is another solution,, albeit not as elegant. If we are only talking ~1000 gallons and 1 mile, perhaps you should pump into a tank that is mounted on a hay wagon or trailer. Fill the sucker up from the wells/Pv then run it over to the desired location(s)
    1000 gallons of water would weight ~8300# plus the weight of the tank. You could chain a number of smaller tanks together so that there is always some filling while others are being drained. On the other hand,, if you tend the stock and the stock tanks every day,, the a series of much smaller, easier to transport tanks,,say ~1-200 gal, move them in the back of a pick-up.

    For example you could have 7 1000 gallon tanks and only have to move tanks once a week or so. If it were only a matter of picking up the tank with a loader,, putting it on a Hay wagon and moving it the mile,, might be way easier than other ideas.

    Just a thought,

  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,453 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    First I am an electrical engineer, not a mechanical or civil engineer.

    From my scuba diving days, 33' of freshwater equals 15 psi. Raising water 190' would require pump output to be greater then 87 psi. If drawing from a well you have to add to that, as well as a little for pipe resistance loss to get volume.

    The 190' head rise would seem to be the biggest challange. Pressure switch at pump would do nothing to indicate how full the storage tank is unless the storage tank is also pressurized which would add to required pump head pressure.

    I assume you are trying to avoid the mile long tank switch feedback wire to the pump. Now my electrical engineering solution. Get yourself a battery backed up radio control link to send the tank float control signal back to the pumps. If no AC power is available near the tank put in a small solar panel to charge a small gel-cell battery to power the transmitter. Should be able to find system for less the couple hundred bucks. Water utilities use these things all over the place to control valves.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Hauling water in tanks as Tony suggests is viable, but may not be in keeping with the over-all plan. It requires time, and isn't automatic. I know: I've done exactly this myself before.

    The pumps Dan has are capable of 100 psi, so they may work. The unknown factor here is exact piping distances and resistance that will come from curves, undulations, and fittings. Could be a close thing. I expect the pumps will be running near their maximum pressure before shut-off.

    Basically, his plan is sound. The devil is in the details. As always!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Consider this idea,,

    There are a bunch of 12 or 24vdc sampling pumps out that that are a couple of hundred bucks,, way less than the shuflow. Drop those in the wells to raise water to the surface. They draw pretty small current and pump fairly small volumes from ~100' but they are (comparatively) cheap. (Sorry, don't have a link right now) Then use a Dankof slow pump to move the water the mile and the 190' vertically.

    On the other hand,, on the KISS principal,, why pump water to the central storage that is 80' elevated at all. Why not keep the central storage as close to the well heads (and use as possible. If you over size this tank,, then pump with demand the horizontal and minor elevation distance to the stock tanks. Each stock tank controlled by a float switch that either triggers it's own pump, or alternatively triggers a valve such that a central pump (like the dankof) will then re-fill the stock tank. That way, if any stock tank is calling for water the pump will be running, if multiple tanks are calling for water either they run in series or they all get water at a reduced rate.

    This way you are not wasting energy to pump water to elevation only to have it drain back down by gravity. Each well supplies by it's own pump/panel/battery array, each central tank controlled by it's own pump/panel/battery array. As RC has suggested, rf controlled switches to control the valving over distance is like falling off a log.

    Once again,, just thinking out loud,

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    In one of the early posts Dan mentioned that he uses the water as a means of keeping the stock spread out (dispersed). this is common in the ranching industry around here also. Cattle are lazy and will not go to the available feed (open range) unless prompted...

    It helps to avoid the 'dead ground syndrome' that comes from having only one watering station. Remember those heavily beaten cattle trails in the old duster movies? A big no no these days...:cool:

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  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Thanks Eric...

    It's something I deal with every day..

    I've got a couple other sections I want them to graze but the darn things won't move without water...... Hince, the water distribution I need to get in...
  • Rancher DanRancher Dan Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    These are all great ideas but....

    I have hauled water (I have a 750 gallon tank on a trailer) but trust me when I say you don't want to be hauling water in the winter... Not any fun..

    Also, The cattle aren't checkedd every day. Got other things to do...

    I've been looking into the RF switch mentioned but we do get electrical stroms out there and not sure how it would fare. I would like to keep it as simple as possible.

    I'm going to start by doing my south section because the wells on that side are only 2000 feet from the storage tank. I'll see how that goes..

    Thanks again to everyone and their suggestions..

    Great forum!!!!

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank


    Good luck, KISS and keep in touch,


    PS Where in NM are you? My brother in law has has a ranch W. of T or C.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    I've been knocking around Arizona for a long time and can empathize with Dan's situation. Let me start by saying getting to a desirable solution is not easy. Lots of ideas will work but getting one to work long term that doesn't constantly eat your pocketbook is a challenge. Got to be simple, automatic, reliable. Err on the side of spending more up front instead of more all the time.

    I don't think the pressure switch method will work here. Not enough pressure difference relative to the static lift. It would tend to cycle your pumps a lot. I would go for simple timers on the wells. Once you find a duty cycle that works for a particular well, just let run and if you get too much water, let it overflow your upper tank. I'm sure you can find something to do with the extra. Get good mechanical timers that run on your solar juice and cycle 15 min On, 15 min Off or whatever. Not clock timers, just cycle timers cause you have intermittent power. Give your well plenty of margin or still use the run-dry protection switch. I'm not going to say the Shurflo pump is not the one to use here, but my experience is they don't last long if you have sand or anything in your water. Pumping water slowly from a well is hard to do. Solves the 1 mile of friction loss though. You can start with the cheaper types of pumps and work your way up to the better ones when those fail.
  • cow_ranchercow_rancher Solar Expert Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    OK, here's my answer.

    Rancher & Electrical Engineer.

    I don't have cattle, just horses.

    Water Storage tank (poly) up high, with a mechanical float shut off valve on the inputs from the wells, or if several wells are tied into the same delievery pipe you only need one float.

    Pumps run via solar, put electrical pressure switches at each well head, adjust them so that when the float switch in the Storage tank closes the pressure will increase and shut off the pump, you may need to put a very small bladder tank at the pressure switch to make this work.

    Use 1" PE to go from the well heads to the storage tank, you can get it in rolls of 1000', at that much head you will only be pumping 1.5 GPM so size will be less of a matter.

    I assume that shurflo pump has a check valve in it, if not one will be required before the pressure switch.

    And of course you'll need PE from the storage tank to each of your stock tanks, with a mechanical float shutoff.

  • rplarryrplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    If I am correct in that you are only pumping ( I think I saw somewhere in this thread that the pump is rated a 1 gpm) 1 gpm then I would not worry about friction loss, a 3/4" pipe would be just fine. If you were pumping 50 gpm then it would matter. Just don't put any more elbows in than necessary. I'm trying to remember my friction loss tables from when I was a fireman but they elude me.
  • TronTron Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Not sure how well this would work...
    If you have excess capacity in your storage tanks, and excess solar power during the day, would it be conceivable to re-capture some of that energy during the night by draining excess water from the tanks through a hydro-generator? The power generated overnight could be used to run pumps and charge batteries?
    If that could work, you would have 24/7 green system right?
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    It would work in theory, but you would need a ton of water. My guess is the infrastructure cost is going to outweigh the benefit. There are cases where this has been done on a large scale, but non on a small scale that I know of.

  • TronTron Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: Pumping to a storage tank

    Let's see... a ton of water...

    1 gallon of water equals 8.33 lbs
    there are 2000 pounds in a short ton.

    so 1 short ton of water in gallons is:
    1gal/6.33 lbs x 2000 lbs/ton = 300 gal/short ton

    but for water only, US gallons only, short ton only

    Somehow I think it would take more than a ton of water. :D

    I am curious, how much energy could you harvest from say 1gpm flow?
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