Dry well....Where to put the storage tank?

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Blamus

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This is for a new construction home that I'm still building. I have come to accept that the $65k 800ft well I drilled last June is basically empty. I hydro fracked right after the well was drilled too. At the time I was told the well was producing 0.5GPM. After the frac, about 2GPM, and the water level was about 100' down. And no one seemed concerned, except my neighbors knew better, they warned me to install a few 3000gallon tanks. Anyway, I didn't have 240V ready at the time, so I just left it as that until today, my electrician installed a 240V breaker for me so I can get to my water to get tested and design the water treatment. (Its smelly and very hard and lots of dissolved solids, my well service company did a test and they already recommended a water softener, but I want a more thorough test before I get the water treatment installed). Anyway, I turn the pump on and I get.......maybe a few minutes before water stopped. I just timed it - I ran it empty and then waited 30min and then see what I got. About 1.5G. Sooooooooo. FML

Needless to say I'm feeling very depressed. But I know what I need, spend another 20+k and put in storage tanks and have water hauled in when its dry. Which is why I'm asking. I have a very tight and steep site in the mountains in CO. Currently my well is in a manhole in the driveway (up to 12%) because thats the only place the drill rig can park. I imagine I can excavate a big hole lower on the driveway for a cistern, or to the side (45 degree slope). But my main waterline (into the garage where the water treatment will go) is already covered by concrete. (i.e. the garage slab is in). The driveway is still dirt. So Ideally I'd like to make use of whats already installed instead of ripping up the slab.

My questions are:

If I install a storage tank the way I described, for water trucks to fill during these dry times, how would I tie it into the existing well and underground/slab waterline?

Would I want my well water to be pumped into the storage tank? I'd assume not because if I haul in water, that water is "clean" so why would I want to mix the dirty smelly water to it? Also, then how would my water treatment system know what to do, if sometimes its treating 100% well water (when theres actually well water, maybe in spring?), while other times diluted well water.

If I keep the large cistern purely for "clean" water from water trucks, then how would I bring it into the house? Would I then need to rip up the slab and install a second waterline? And then do I need to switch between the 2 manually?

What is my best solution in this really terrible situation?

Should I even bother spending another 10k for a water treatment system? Or just write the well off and accept I'm trucking in water forever?

How big of a cistern(s) should I install? I expect a family of 5 to live here.

And yeah the house is already built. And I was hoping to live here for a while.........
 

Blamus

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OK! This time I waited 90min, and turned pumped on, and got 2 buckets! (10gallons) before water stopped. I wonder if theres something wrong with the pump programing?

Edit: I waited another 90min, this time I get 4.5gallons........
 
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Valveman

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Sorry for your problem. I don't quite understand the plumbing as you described. Maybe a little diagram would help.

I see several possibilities here. I think if your well will make 0.5 GPM, which is 720 gallons a day, you could make the well work without trucking water in. Less than that you might as well count on trucking water. If the well is 800' deep and static water is at 100', that is about a 1,000 gallons in the well. But how long it takes it to fill the well back up is important. An easy test would be to pump the well down to 800', wait 24 hours, and measure the static level.

Either way, well water or trucked in, the cistern system will be the same. With an underground cistern it is easier to use a regular submersible well pump and controls.
Well feeding cistern with sub booster.jpg
 

Blamus

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I guess I overcomplicated describing my current plumbing. Right now its just a submersible pump in the well, 1" pipe with heat tape and electrical in a 4" corrugated sleeve running 25' along/under a dirt driveway, and 25' of concrete slab into my garage where the water treatment will be. I can see installing a cistern next to where the well is.

Your diagram makes sense. Well water into cistern, to water treatment, to house.

My questions for this arrangement are:

1. how will the water treatment system (likely mostly a water softener with some filtration and aeration) deal with 100% well water sometimes, and mostly trucked in water other times. Does it do its job automatically regardless?

2. For the months that I need to truck in water, isn't the water already treated and so isn't it a waste to mix it with untreated well water and put it through the house water treatment system again?

3. should I consider keeping the well water and trucked in water separate?

4. If I am going to install a cistern to truck in treated water, and I only have a few months maybe half the year where I can get water reliably from the well, should I even bother with the well water? I.e. I'd still have to spend another $10k to design/build a water treatment system to treat the well water. I think I will, but mainly because I already spent so much on drilling the well I don't want it to be a total loss.......

5. Can it make sense to keep the treated water separate and even in times where I have well water, I just use that for washing/laundry/showers/toilets etc. and somehow plumb the trucked in water just for drinking? Maybe I'm complicating things again.....
 

Bannerman

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For the months that I need to truck in water, isn't the water already treated
That will depend on where the trucked-in water is obtained from.

If obtained from a municipal source, I would expect the water to be disinfected with either chlorine or chloramine (chlorine + ammonia), but would not expect the water to be softened or to receive any other type of treatment.
 

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Currently my well is in a manhole in the driveway (up to 12%) because thats the only place the drill rig can park. I imagine I can excavate a big hole lower on the driveway for a cistern, or to the side (45 degree slope). But my main waterline (into the garage where the water treatment will go) is already covered by concrete. (i.e. the garage slab is in). The driveway is still dirt. So Ideally I'd like to make use of whats already installed instead of ripping up the slab.

My questions are:

If I install a storage tank the way I described, for water trucks to fill during these dry times, how would I tie it into the existing well and underground/slab waterline?
You want to get a lab water test of your well water. Includes hardness, iron, pH, arsenic, manganese, uranium, lead, and more. Don't worry about testing for H2S. Your nose would pick up on that. And I would not care to test for bacteria myself. But if you do test for bacteria, and care bout the result, there are special sampling procedures. My preference is to sanitize the well well. Then unless there is continuing contamination, there are no pathogenic bacteria in a deep well. There can be deep bacteria in the strata, but those will not grow in humans.

You want to power your well thru a gadget that will shut down your well for an interval if you run out of water. It detects the change in current to know when you ran out of water. Cycle Sensor https://cyclestopvalves.com/pages/products is one such device.

Your water conditioning equipment will be in a partially-heated garage? Maybe put your tank there. https://www.plastic-mart.com/category/109/vertical-tanks

I have no clue about pump programming, but if your replace the pump, it would be best to have a non-programmable pump. To fill a tank, a 5 gpm pump is going to be a better match than a 10 gpm pump.

So tell us about that well in the driveway. Is there a pitless adapter? How deep is the well pit? What is in there
-- would there be a way to do sanitizing?

Any provision to prevent flooding of the pit? That is the problem with pits, and why most places required the casing to extend above ground.
 
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Blamus

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You want to get a lab water test of your well water. Includes iron, pH, arsenic, manganese, uranium, and more. Don't worry about testing for H2S. Your nose would pick up on that.

You want to power your well thru a gadget that will shut down your well for an interval if you run out of water. It detects the change in current to know when you ran out of water. Cycle Sensor https://cyclestopvalves.com/pages/products is one such device.

Your water conditioning equipment will be in a partially-heated garage? Maybe put your tank there. https://www.plastic-mart.com/category/109/vertical-tanks

I have no clue about pump programming, but if your replace the pump, it would be best to have a non-programmable pump. To fill a tank, a 5 gpm pump is going to be a better match than a 10 gpm pump.

So tell us about that well in the driveway. Is there a pitless adapter, does the cap sit flush with the driveway, or does it extend higher? Or is there a well pit?
Yep, I'm getting it lab tested. Someone familiar with my area already told me to expect a lot of what you mentioned. We have the highest uranium concentration in the country apparently. Lots of iron and manganese, maybe arsenic. I definitely smell H2S. Which is what's making me wonder if its even worth treating if I have to truck in water anyway - and my neighbors told me the water delivered is drinkable directly, so its treated from the city. Which is also why I wonder if I should be mixing the untreated well water with the trucked in water. This is the part that confuses me most.

Yes my water treatment would be in a heated garage. I was expecting to put 1 or 2, 300gallon tanks there for water storage, but now it looks like I need more like 3000-6000 gallon tanks, so it'd have to be underground.

I'll look up what pump I have

In the driveway the well casing used to stick up, with a blue cap. We then installed the 1" waterline from it to the garage, dug out the area around the well and installed a 2'x2' concrete ring, backfilled around it, then a manhole over over it, which will sit flush with the to be concrete driveway

regardless I will get my water tested just to see how bad it is and how expensive is the water treatment. I always thought, worse case I do reverse osmosis but it wastes half the water now I know that's not practical.
 

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For radon, maybe time in the tank will be good to let the radon decay there.

For H2S, sanitizing will normally improve things for a while. But there are treatments that will treat H2S along with other things. Click the message icon, above.

Regarding RO, a permeate pump will make your system more efficient. If your water pressure is low, an electric booster pump, made for the purpose, is good.

Regarding mixing trucked water with well water, the water test will help decide that. We hope that trucked in water is only temporary. You are able to see when the water runs out. You might graph some points about how much water comes out after how much rest time, to get a better measure of your well production. 0.5 gpm is going to be more than enough IMO, but note that many backwashing filters might take 100 gallons of water for each regen. A backwashing filter (in addition to a softener) may be in your future.

Is the water line below the frost line?

I don't see you needing 5000 gallons of storage. I am thinking 700 give or take. I am not a pro. California would want you to have 10000 gallons or so of storage, mainly for fire fighting.

Your treatment system could involve injecting something on the way to your big tank. This could produce sediment. There are tanks with conical bottoms and sediment drains (blow off) that make dumping the sediment pretty easy.
 
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Blamus

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Thanks for the message and direction. The waterline is not below frost line because we planned for it to be a drain back system. I made sure its sloped back to the well and from what i can tell, it works well.

When i did have water - last june. And i thought a decent amount, i had 2gpm after fracking, 0.5gpm before. 1000g in the hole. That's what i was told by the well guys anyway. It was confusing though because they all told me different things. The driller said he saw water at 700ft, and stopped at 800. Fracing company said when they opened the well they saw water level only 100' from ground. So i have 1000g in there. They also said they saw no pressure drops at any elevation except at 200ft, which suggests to me they opened up something high up, but did nothing low down. And now my water level is ...... Basically at the bottom?

Its very inconsistent though. I just turned on the breaker again, and i got *one* gallon out before it stopped. Its been 12 hours since i last drew any water, and that time, i got 4.5g after waiting 90min. Before that, i got 10g after waiting 90min. Before that, i got 1.5g after waiting 30min. Anyway, regardless, it sounds like i have no usable water down there, unless if the pump is mulfunctioning (Which would make me really really happy!!!)

The pump is grundfos SQ,SQE. That's what it sats on the instruction booklet.
 
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Blamus

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I was given the NTL testkit by one of my friend's neighbor (long story) but hes a water treatment designer and he was the one who told me i will see lots of uranium among other things. And warned me against just blindly going with my well service company's recommendation of just installing a softener.

I just opened it up and read the instructions. I see 4 bottles. I guess ill just fill all of them? But ill have to first get the water in a bigger container. Until now i simply put my dirty garden hose onto the 1" pipe and ran the water into a dirty 5g bucket. Its not going to be easy trying to get it straight from the 1" pipe into those tiny bottles....and im a chemical engineer!!!
 

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SQ/SQE pump?!! The SQE will work as an SQ if you don't have a controller. The controllers can fail.

The 5SQ15-450 or 5SQE15-450 is the deepest-sucking version, assuming my catalog is up to date. It can develop about 685 head at 1 gpm. The head is the sum of the head from altitude change plus the pressure head. So even that one cannot reasonably suck from 700 ft. Altitude change is measured from the top of the water, and not the pump depth.

1. So, what model is your pump?
2. How far down is it?
3. What is your well diameter?
4. Have you looked at the curves for that pump? Try this search string: "PERFORMANCE CURVES 5 GPM MODEL 5 SQ" in Google, with the quotes.


These all describe methods to avoid contaminating the sample.

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/331-225.pdf
https://axs-inc.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/TotalcoliformInstructionspdf.pdf
https://www.renogov.org/DocumentCenter/View/3801/KSU-Taking-water-samples-MF963

https://servitechlabs.com/Services/Water/WaterSamplingProcedures/tabid/128/Default.aspx

How about a funnel might help fill bottles. A few hours in a 160F oven will kill bacteria without fear of adding a disinfectant to the sample. However isopropyl alcohol is often used, and I don't think that throws off the tests.
 

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SQ/SQE pump?!! The SQE will work as an SQ if you don't have a controller. The controllers can fail.

The 5SQ15-450 or 5SQE15-450 is the deepest-sucking version, assuming my catalog is up to date. It can develop about 685 head at 1 gpm. The head is the sum of the head from altitude change plus the pressure head. So even that one cannot reasonably suck from 700 ft. Altitude change is measured from the top of the water, and not the pump depth.

1. So, what model is your pump?
2. How far down is it?
3. What is your well diameter?
4. Have you looked at the curves for that pump? Try this search string: "PERFORMANCE CURVES 5 GPM MODEL 5 SQ" in Google, with the quotes.


These all describe methods to avoid contaminating the sample.

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/331-225.pdf
https://axs-inc.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/TotalcoliformInstructionspdf.pdf
https://www.renogov.org/DocumentCenter/View/3801/KSU-Taking-water-samples-MF963

https://servitechlabs.com/Services/Water/WaterSamplingProcedures/tabid/128/Default.aspx

How about a funnel might help fill bottles. A few hours in a 160F oven will kill bacteria without fear of adding a disinfectant to the sample. However isopropyl alcohol is often used, and I don't think that throws off the tests.
Why are you so suprised on the pump model? Is it a wrong choice?
 

Blamus

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Ok its super inconsistent. I just waited 2 minutes and turned the pump back on and then another 2 gallons came out and then stopped. I don't get it.
 

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Why are you so suprised on the pump model? Is it a wrong choice?
I am not thinking it is necessarly a wrong choice as such, but it is not able to pull all of the way. So it turned out to be a bit wrong, but if the water level had been higher, like the paperwork presumes, that would have been fine. If I say that I want this to be able to supply at least 4 gpm that would give me an available total head of about 595 ft. But if I also said I want 30 psi during that 3gpm flow, that takes up around 70 ft of head. So I am left with 525 ft as the lowest the water surface could be at, and still deliver my 30 psi. I would also want the pump to be able to shut off while 1 GPM or more was being delivered. So that would help me select a cut-off pressure.

Get your graph. Make your spreadsheet. Tell me what you surmise.

If the pump is just filling an atmospheric tank, rather than also providing pressure to the house, then I could suck from about 685 ft. That still leaves some potential storage in the well that that pump cannot use.

The paper you posted did not have data on the well diameter.

I will say that especially with a well that feeds from above the pump, it would really be smart to have a flow inducer. Search on that and if you don't find all you need, say so. That assumes your well ID is bigger than about 3.7 inches. Your well is probably 4 or 5 inches.

So you look at the graph, and you work the numbers, and see what you think.

to the house while generating 30 psi,
 

Blamus

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I wasnt given an option for a more powerful pump, but they did tell me its not enough to supply the house directly and i should have a 300g tank for storage.

Does this say 4.5" well? Or that's just the casing?
I don't know why i always thought it was 6" or something.

Screenshots_2023-10-09-14-21-50.png
 

Valveman

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That is the invoice for the drilling. It does show that you have 800' of casing, but shows nothing about the pump. You would need a 5SQ15-450 to pump 1 GPM into a cistern from 750' deep. Any other SQ pump will not pump from as deep.

What is shutting off the pump? Could be a bad controller. I would plug it straight into 230V without the controller and see what happens.
 

Blamus

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That is the invoice for the drilling. It does show that you have 800' of casing, but shows nothing about the pump. You would need a 5SQ15-450 to pump 1 GPM into a cistern from 750' deep. Any other SQ pump will not pump from as deep.

What is shutting off the pump? Could be a bad controller. I would plug it straight into 230V without the controller and see what happens.
I do have a 5sqe15-450 installed at 760'. Its in a screenshot higher up. It says the designed gpm as 5. If its just a bad controller and i actually have usable amount of water in there id be extremely happy. I guess i need to call johns well service about this next. Fingers crossed!

Btw would you have chosen a different pump? I wonder why they gave me this one?
 

Reach4

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OK. I thought I had looked for SQE vs SQ in post #12, but clearly I failed.

Did you understand the thing about plugging straight into 230V?
 

Blamus

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Right now i have the electrical cable coming into the house with the pipe. That's what my breaker is connected to. If i need to bypass something, i assume id need to go to the well and open the cover and go find something there to bypass? I assume if there's a physical controller itd be sitting there? I guess i should just get off my ass and find my crowbar and pry that cover thing up and see....
 
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