Water system for rural cottage

Discussion in 'Solar and Geothermal Water Heating Forum' started by gardner, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    I'm building a water system for a rural cottage/cabin to augment the existing generator powered pump. I want to add a 1,000 litre (250 US-Gal) cistern and a solar powered pump to give us a water supply and some pressure when we're running off battery.

    The general layout is shown in the diagram. The pump itself is in the attached photo.

    I've added a bypass to the pump so we'd still get low-pressure water from the cistern, even if there's no bettery power for the pump.

    The water in the lake is not potable, so this is just for showers, dishes and washing.

    Have others set up this sort of thing? Any pointers?

    Attached Files:

    • pump.jpg
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    • Pumps.jpg
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  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    doing dishes ??

    the plan is good , but the results could go haywire..

    you could almost do the same thing with a sump pump
    and a garden hose..

    depending on how clean or dirty that lake is
    could be a very big ssue.....cattel or sheep in the area
    or septic run off from other cabins......

    you probably should not do dishes with the posibliiity
    of any kind of microbes that could make you deathly ill
    , even bathing is very questionable because getting any
    water on your mouth could lead to big troubles.......

    I got a bug once in the mountians once and it was not good....

    I was down for oveer two days

    but for flushing toilets it is ok....

    and perhaps it would be ok if you plan on pouring some bleach into
    the cistern to kill off everything when you arrive at the cabin...
    and then remember to do it daily while you are
    staying there....

    you would certainly want to keep a supply of bleach on hand

    its your risk.
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
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  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    I'm with mark on this one and a I am going to say it will not be worth doing $$$ wise if all you do is flush toilets.

    Do not use it for bathing and dishes. You will not be able to maintain a constant, even level of chlorine. It is just not a safe thing to be doing.

    Due to you not knowing the levels and being concerned you will probably over chlorinate and this can be very bad for you. Just normal leves of chlorine are not good and elevated levels would be far worse.

    Danger of Chlorine

    [FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]
    The American Chemical Society estimates that "we could receive from 6 to 100 times more chlorine by breathing the air around showers and baths than we could by drinking water."
    Chlorine is used almost universally in the treatment of public water supplies because of its toxic effect on harmful bacteria and other waterborne, disease-causing organisms. But there is growing evidence that chlorine in water may actually pose serious health risks when it absorbed into the human body over long periods of time. Chlorine readily passes through cell walls and attaches to fatty acids in the cell, disrupting life-sustaining functions. The human body is composed of billions of similar cells, which also absorb chlorine.
    Chlorine chemically bonds with the protein in skin and hair, making hair brittle and dry, making skin itchy, dry, and flaky.
    One half of our daily chlorine exposure is from showering!
    Not only is chlorine absorbed through the skin, but it also vaporizes in the shower, is inhaled into the lungs, and is transferred directly into the blood system. In fact, chlorine exposure from one shower is equal to an entire day's amount of drinking the same water.
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  5. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    The jet pump and in-building plumbing have been in place for years. People have been swimming and showering in the lake water with no serious problems. I do recognize the dangers of using the water for dishes and whatnot. Probably the most important danger is Giardia in this area.

    I have been vaguely considering a UV sterilizer as an option. Giardia is quite susceptible to UV, and tolerates chlorine. In this case, the water would come up from the lake from the pump, through the sterilizer, then on to the cistern/cottage.

    The problem I'm trying to get at here is that when the generator is off, we have no water at all. The fact that it's lake water -- well, status quo -- until we can afford to have a well drillled.
  6. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy General Contractor, Farmer

    Apr 17, 2007
    General Contractor, Farmer
    Haxtun, CO
    If you put a chlorinator to work with the jet pump, you would have a metered system to add chlorine to the water that is going to the storage tank,

    Increase the size of the pressure tanks or series a number tanks, you would have more draw down, or If you could raise the stand or place the storage tank up higher elevation, You could increase your gravity feed pressure.

    one other idea, would be to use a large pressure tank for your pressure water storage or a series of them that were galvanized or lined an no bladder, and instead of a pressure pump, use a small 12 volt air compressor and after filling them,
    turn on the compressor, (have a 40 psi top pressure switch, and when the water is used, it kicks on pumping air in for the water is displaced, a few 80 gallon tanks would give you 160 gallons, of pressurized water draw down, when empty, open a valve and release the air let them gravity fill, and start over again, (I borrowed a old RV one time that used this type of system)

    a cheap source for tanks would be used hot water heaters that have good tanks, (old electrics I think would be better than gas),
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    I've sold equipment for a number of lakes etc.. You can't use UV without proper pretreatment. How to get it to work with solar power isn't very difficult as long as you have enough panels and batteries. That can be expensive and take up more space than you'd like so you might decide to use a quiet generator instead.
  8. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    The only requirement I'm aware of is filtering -- I think 5 micron is the requirement. Is there more I need?

    The problem I see with UV is that we won't have enough juice to run it all the time. Even at 20-30 watts, the batteries will not keep it running indefinitely. It would wind up having to be connected to come on with the main pump when the generator's going and hitting the water on its way up from the lake.

    The pump should be able to fill the cistern at ~20 US-Gal/min and that would take a pretty bug UV sterilizer -- a Trojan type E or so.

    The lifetime of the sterilizer is reduced a lot when it has to go on and off, and the effectiveness drops, maybe hopelessly, when the lines remain connected around it when it's off. Perhaps a check-valve just upstream from the sterilizer would be good enough to prevent unsterilized water from difusing up the pipe. Finally, the sterilized water is then going off to our cistern where it will sit for days, maybe weeks. At this point I don't think anything truly harmful would be growing in it, but who knows.

    Another option might be a single-fixture UV sterilizer attached to -- say -- a "water purifier" in the kitchen.

    I'm curious what would be typical in an off-grid setup where people are using UV sterilizers.
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire

    Check out the link above. Read about giardia and cryprosporidium.

    I use the PP-BB-20-1 filters that are rated at 1 micron absolute.

    Then google "seneca lake state park cryptosporidium" or "milwaukee cryptosporidium" and read about more than 2000 cases of crypto at Seneca Lake and more than 20 deaths from crypto in Milwaukee. They weren't drinking the water at Seneca Lake; they were using recreational showers.

    Filters from the hardware store never meet the label micron size. Most 5-micron advertised wound cartridge will let a lot of 20 micron particles through. The best that I found was rated at 0.5 micron and removed only about 97% of 5 micron particles.

    I install drinking water systems for public systems that use lake water. Every system includes filtration AND chlorination. Chlorine is about 1 part per million from chlorine bleach added with a metering pump (about $200) when the feed pump runs.

    If you chlorinate, you should have a test kit so you know how much is in the water and can control it.

    Installed chlorination system below

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2010
  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Jul 30, 2008
    Tech. Instructor
    S. Maine
    I think that before you do anything at all you consult with the local plumbing inspector and have a read through appendix C of the IPC as well as section 6 as pertains to water supply. Though folks have been pumping lakes, ponds and streams for years, without the proper treatment equipment and testing it is illegal.
  11. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Aug 27, 2008
    A bounty hunter like in "Raising Arizona"

    ~5 kwh per day per 10 square meters of solar panel. How many consecutive sunless days will determine the amp-hour rating of the battery.
  12. Alphacarina

    Alphacarina New Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Biloxi, MS
    That coupled with the amp hour draw of the pump to move 1,000 liters of water . . . . at which point the generator will run again and the battery can be recharged using AC power while the jet pump fills the reservoir again with water from the lake

    'Bugs' could be addressed by adding a small amount of chlorine bleach to the reservoir each time the pump refills it. Long distance sailboaters have used a small amount of bleach in their water to keep it 'fresh' for ages . . . . much the same way your local municipalities add chlorine to your drinking water to prevent bacterial growth

  13. too old for this

    too old for this New Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    toledo ohio
    All this talk about microbes! Germaphobes. I live on a lake and have two simple questions for you.
    Do you swim in the lake? Do you get sick when you swim in the lake? There's your answer.
  14. ESPwaterproducts

    ESPwaterproducts New Member

    Apr 21, 2011

    Yes, the lake may be ok, but at the same time, one never wants to risk illnesses like Giardia. It's better to be safe and use UV filters or other water purification systems.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2011
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    "Lake water is better," he says, glancing up. "Most people think the water is better from a nice, running stream because it's so fresh and churned up. But the top few inches of lake water are zapped with ultraviolet rays from the sun, which are a very powerful disinfectant."

    Dr. Howard Backer, a water purification expert and a past president of the Wilderness Medical Society
  16. kennedy0987

    kennedy0987 Dallas Remodeling

    Jul 22, 2011
    Phoenix AZ
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