Questions on small community water system

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Hoodoo, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Hoodoo

    Hoodoo New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Hello all - New member here. Didn't know where to post it, so if this is posted in the wrong area, please move it.
    A bit of background: I was just elected to a small community water board (less that 100 services). This is in the remote SW desert. The system is on a well (2 actually) with a storage tank (and backup) that feed the community on static pressure. Since I have some background in construction and plumbing, (current General Contractor, previous Plumbing license and Swimming Pool License), I am finding myself in charge of operations and equipment/materials. I have some knowledge, but fall short in the specifics of this type of system (used to working on home and swimming pool systems)...

    So here are a few specific question, I appreciate any help I can get, or point me in the right direction...
    1) Type of pipe? The system was built in the 1960's and has been only repaired, usually by community members who have no plumbing experience. It is time to start replacing the main line pipe....I am leaning towards SCH 80 CPVC. It is mostly 3". Thoughts?

    2) Service entrances? They are mostly old Poly pipe and I have never been a fan, plus there are failures, mostly due to ground movement or the compression couplings failing.. I would prefer to T off the 3" main to 1" to the meter...Thoughts?

    3) The connection between the Poly and main line is done with a saddle clamp and those are not great IMO.....Back to my wish to hard-plumb from the main to the meter box.

    4) To fill the water tanks, the water is pumped actually inside the same pipes that feed the water to everyone...seems odd to me? Better to run a separate fill line? Or just leave it as is since it works.

    Well I guess that's enough questions for now.....again thanks for any help.....
     
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    With all of the strange regulations in California you should consult a local expert.

    Good Luck.
     
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  4. Boycedrilling

    Boycedrilling In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Royal City, WA
    I’m a couple of states north of you. In Washington any community water system has to be designed by an engineer. All modifications to the system also have to be designed by an engineer. After the engineering stage,the plans have to be sent to the State Dept of Health for their review and approval. Washington state dep of Health has design manuals for group A and B systems. A group B system has less than 15 connections.

    I’m going to assume that California has at least those requirements, if not even more stringent ones. So unless you are a P.E., you probably will have to retain and consult with one, before making any modifications to the system
     
  5. Boycedrilling

    Boycedrilling In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Royal City, WA
    Good possibility that there are state and federal funds available for system improvements like yours.
     
  6. Hoodoo

    Hoodoo New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Location:
    California
    No funds available, we've looked. And we can't afford to do the complete overhaul if we involve the Gov't. We're on our own, and that's fine. The last repair out there involved a bunch of 60, 70, 80 yr old guys digging by hand down 4 ft.....quite a sight...:)

    I just want to figure out the best pipe for long-term use...we have about 30,000 ft that will need replacement over time...not all at once.
     
  7. Boycedrilling

    Boycedrilling In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Royal City, WA
    Do you need fire flow? If yes, you need a minimum of 8” mainline. I would use C-900 PVC. It is the same diameter and uses the same fittings as ductile iron.

    Really need to do hydraulic analysis on your waterlines to determine sizes in your size of system. 2” would be the minimum size mainline I would use anywhere. Preferably 3” or 4”. You don’t need cpvc. Regular pvc pipe is fine. Would recommend gasketed pipe over solvent weld, when you go over 2”. I would use at least Cl200 pressure rated, if not sch40.

    If you’ve got open spaces, consider a larger trencher. I own three trenchers. My biggest one is a Ditchwitch R6510. It’s blocked for 10” trench. At 4 ft deep, it will do 300-400 feet per hour. There have been years that I’ve installed as much as 5 miles of pipeline.

    Nothing wrong with clamp on saddles for the services. You don’t have to cut the pipe to add a service. If you’re installing new pipe though you have the option of installing tees for each service.
     
  8. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I like the C900 with the MJ fittings as well, but will be more expensive. Sch 80 will have the same solvent weld couplings as sch 40. Since any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, sch 40 would be fine. Usually the engineers who sign off on this stuff know less than the people installing it.

    And yes it is common practice to pump into the distribution line, and only the excess go towards the tanks.
     
  9. Hoodoo

    Hoodoo New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Thanks guys.......I should have mentioned that the pipe system has been in since the 60's and was designed by the people living there then....some of the people I work with had parents who designed and installed the original system. It starts with 2" pipe up by the tank and goes up to 3" as it goes down the canyon. No need for anything fire related...although the Govt says we are in a fire zone due to our Zip Code, it is all desert.....ya couldn't start a fire here with a blowtorch, sand and cactus don't burn.. :)

    Cost is a major concern...although there is a fund for emergencies etc, we try to keep the costs down to the community. All of the work will be done by us. We have a large Case backhoe which is great to have, but not great for digging ditches. Thanks for the heads-up on the Ditch Witch!

    "Nothing wrong with clamp on saddles for the services. You don’t have to cut the pipe to add a service. If you’re installing new pipe though you have the option of installing tees for each service."

    So if you had the choice. would you install T's and hardplumb each service entrance?
     
  10. Boycedrilling

    Boycedrilling In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Royal City, WA
    If you’re 3” pvc or less, in a new installation, I would cut in tees. I’m assuming the services will be 1” or less. At 4” and larger , would have to see if saddles are more cost effective. On existing pipe, it’s much easier to install a saddle.

    Another option for your main line is HDPE. High density polyethylene pipe. It comes in rolls or sticks. You Butt weld it together with a fusion bonding machine. Same thing with tees or threaded adapters. It would be less prone to failure if you are susceptible to earthquakes, (being in California). My supplier will usually throw in the rent on a fusion bonding machine with the purchase of the pipe. HDPE would probably be my first choice for the house services. Many water utilities give you the choice of copper or HDPE. HDPE will be less than half the price of copper.
     
  11. scott580sm

    scott580sm New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Location:
    saint joseph, mo
    C900 pvc mains and brass saddles and corps for service taps. Packjoints with stiffeners in poly pipe for service lines. All mechanical means of connection. If you’re having problems because of ground movement, you’ll have problems with glued pvc in the future. HDPE is also a great option, like Boycedrilling said, but make sure whoever does the fusing has some experience. Done right, the joints are actually stronger than the pipe itself.
     
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