Advice for spring fed, low capacity surface well (or cistern?), 0.5 - 1.5 gpm replenishment

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nogolowflow

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New homeowner and novice DIY-er with capacity to learn but not a lot of experience. At the very least, I want to know what to discuss with a contractor.

We have a low-capacity well just below ground. It is fed by a spring at an estimated 0.5 to 1.5 gpm, depending on rain conditions. Once 50 gallons is full, water flows out and to little creek.

Setup is the well, extracted by surface jet pump, which is mounted on a pressure tank (currently 35/55). Pumps up hill to house and studio apartment (3 adults). Pump really has to push at 40/60, and overheated at 45/65. We don't have dry well protection. Water is insufficient without coordination and regular management.

We have two, 300-gallon cisterns at the house. Total 600 gallons. We can add water to the cisterns by manually opening/closing a valve at the house. They are plumbed directly off of the main line (served directly by the well jet pump), before and without any filtering that otherwise serves the house. In their current setup, they are merely additional storage for occasional, manual water collection, used for outdoor applications. They are connected to their own jet pump setup, mounted to a pressure tank, so that outdoor applications have decent pressure.

It seems like increasing storage, fed directly by the spring, would make the most sense. It also seems like a submersible pump would be safest and most efficient. I've heard the 50-gallon, spring-fed well described as a cistern (prior homeowner). I haven't lifted the concrete cover to inspect what the storage actually consists of. Whatever it is, it's not sealed, and the collection takes place very close to the surface (just below, i believe). A pump house is built over the setup, and I suspect replacing the 50-gallon well (or cistern) with a larger capacity tank might be costly and challenging. A neighbor has heavy equipment likely up for the task, I think, but it still seems very complicated due to the pump house structure, etc.

I welcome and very much appreciate guidance/advice. A pic of the current, primary setup is attached.
 

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Valveman

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The 50 gallon storage from the spring is not enough to supply a house. That pump probably won't build 60 PSI, and you lose some of whatever pressure it builds going up the hill. Utilizing as much of what you have, I would use the spring pump to keep the 600 gallon cisterns full, and use the booster pump in the 600 gallon cistern for the house and outside watering. All you would really need to do is add a float switch and solenoid valve at the 600 gallons cistern, and a Cycle Sensor to protect the spring pump from running dry. The Cycle Sensor only comes in 230V so you will need to switch the spring pump to 230V if it is not already running that way.

Cistern solenoid wiring text.jpg



 
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nogolowflow

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This is very helpful - thanks!

The cycle sensor seems to cut off the pump as the well reaches a dry point (or where there is rapid cycling). Is there an additional/alternative solution that would prevent a dry well, altogether?

What I'm imagining is that the float would trigger the opening of the solenoid valve to refill the cisterns once they have been depleted enough. Since the cisterns would almost certainly have to be refilled more than the capacity of the well and pressure tank, then I see this causing a dry well scenario. In this instance, I'm concerned that sediment on the bottom of the well would be pulled up before the cycle sensor would be triggered. The sediment would then get further stirred up by the water pouring in from the spring-fed pipe. For this latter issue, I realize I could program the cycle sensor to prevent the pump from running again for several hours. However, I'm mostly thinking about the initial issue with sucking up a good bit of sediment before the cycle sensor has an opportunity to trigger the cut-off. Are there additional or alternative measures I could take to prevent this?

Thanks again for your time and guidance.
 

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Yeah you are going to need to put a submersible in the spring. The jet pump will not re-prime after the Cycle Sensor shuts it off, the submersible will. Just ball valve down the output of the submersible to like 1-2 GPM and won't stir up the sand.

Well feeding cistern with sub booster.jpg
 

nogolowflow

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Unfortunately, I think the well is too shallow for a submersible.

Could I do a pump down float in the spring? Something like this?


Storage cistern would open the solenoid valve when the pump up float within is low. Down in the spring house, the jet pump would begin to supply the cisterns to a point where the pump down float in the spring would cut off the pump (preserving prime, if the pump down is set high enough to prevent dry well). When the second float in the spring reached an appropriately set water height, pump would kick back on and supply more water.

This cycle would repeat, as needed, until the storage cistern refills. The solenoid would remain continuously open while the well refills and then periodically sends water to the cistern.

Would this sort of setup work? Would there be issues/concerns I'm not anticipating?
 

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Yes that would work. It would shut the jet pump off before it loses prime. However, it takes a lot of room for two float switches. A sub would probably take up less room and can be installed at any angle from vertical to 90 degrees.
 

nogolowflow

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Yes that would work. It would shut the jet pump off before it loses prime. However, it takes a lot of room for two float switches. A sub would probably take up less room and can be installed at any angle from vertical to 90 degrees.
Thanks again. Appreciate all of the input!
 
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