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Thread: Water system for rural cottage

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  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member gardner's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Water system for rural cottage

    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?
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  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking 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 by master plumber mark; 05-01-2007 at 04:11 AM.

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Nov 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

    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 by Cass; 05-01-2007 at 04:23 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member gardner's Avatar
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    Apr 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.

  5. #5
    General Contractor, Farmer HandyAndy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    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),

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Aug 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.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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