Author Topic: 24x24 in Western New Mexico  (Read 133951 times)

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Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2011, 12:14:37 PM »
The Simple Pump and solar driver rig is arriving in fits and starts. 

My install plan is to:

1. Install the simple pump for hand pumping
2. Install the DC solar panels and motor rig
3. Install a storage tank and tank-full sensor switch

Installation of the pump is straightforward and the documentation on the installation procedure is quite good.

While waiting for the rest of the gear to arrive, I've been planning the PV-dreict solar electrical layout (components as suggested by the sales rep). The rep has suggested breakers at the solar panel combiner box and additionally at a load center. I'm trying to understand why he is suggesting this redundancy. Would not one DC breaker, at the combiner box, suffice?




« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 08:33:21 AM by hpinson »

Offline MountainDon

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2011, 05:57:11 PM »
Breakers at both locations allows easy disconnecting from either end if/when any work is being performed.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2011, 12:53:03 PM »
Part 1: Restoring an Old Low-Flow Well

Our New Mexico property has an old well which we wanted to restore to use. It was drilled in 1988, and from the beginning has had very low flow, perhaps half a gallon a minute.  The well is 305 feet deep in the shallow aquifer that sits on top of a shale deposit.  The well water level, or static head, fluctuates between 170 and 180 feet, as measured over the last year.  When calculated, the water column in the 4" casing is around 80 gallons.

The well has sat unused since 1998 when the property was abandoned.  When we first visited the property in late 2009, the well cap was off and the 4" casing was open to the elements.

As we became interested in making an offer on the property, we requested a well analysis. This was a pre-requisite to making an offer on the property. The owners agreed, and we hired a local well contractor to pull the pump and do an estimate on recharge rate. At the same time, we would take samples for analysis to a reputable local water lab.  Our offer was contingent on these results and a good bargaining chip in this dry part of the world.

Before analysis, we did some research which gave us reasonable assurance that even if this well had problems, we could drill another well on the property, and if placed right, potentially could have a much higher yield than the existing well.  But at $25 a foot over an estimated 300 foot depth, and an additional 100 foot uphill pump, there was incentive is seeing if the existing well, located uphill from a potential building site, could be restored to use.

Word of mouth gave us the name of a local well contractor who we hired to help us analyze the well.

On a bright and warm day in October, we met at the site.  The contract was well equipped with a crane truck capable of the heavy task of lifting drop-pipe.

Here is his rig:



Here is the crane used to lift and drop pipe and pump:



How drop-pipe hooks to the crane:



And pulls up the drop-pipe from the well:



Here comes the old Gould's pump. We had no idea if it was operational, but assumed it was not after sitting for 12 years.



The pump was 3/4 HP AC and rated at pumping 15 GPM.  It was wired with 12 gauge electrical cable over a distance of almost 600 feet, power drop to pump.  We were amazed that it did not burn out or ruin the well by continually sucking it dry.  The pump circuit had a Coyote Pump Protector device on it that probably helped.



Finally all 290 feet of drop pipe and cable was pulled.  The electrical cable was in good condition and we will surely reuse it elsewhere.  The Schedule 80 PVC was in excellent condition after 22 years immersed, and we will also reuse that.



Our next step was to determine recharge.  The well was bailed and measured for how long it would take to refill to a certain level.  We determined 1/2 gallons per minute, not different from output when it was new.



Next came water sampling.  This could prove difficult as the well had been open to air when we found it (bacterial contamination was almost certain), and there was no telling what the bailer may have introduced.  We took samples from the bailer and carefully filled the bottles provided by the water lab.

There is hydraulic fracturing going on in our vicinity, with wells up and down gradient within a mile that have recently been 'Fracced" at the 8000 foot and 5000 foot deep levels.  Contamination of ground water by hydraulic fracturing was a concern. though not likely for a 300 foot well. Regardless, we would have the lab check for various petrochemicals.  We chose a lab familiar with this sort of testing.

I ordered what I though would be a fairly comprehensive test, at a cost of about $300.  We tested for total dissolved solids, conductivity, organics (bacteria like Coliform), inorganics (metals like lead, arsenic, sodium, and specifically for known petrochemical-related compounds.

The samples must be kept cold in an ice pack and analyzed within 24 hours of taking.  So it was off to the lab, a two hour drive, and a hand delivery.

About a week later comprehensive results came back and it was for the most part good news.

As we suspected, the water had high levels of Coli and E-Coli bacteria.  These could be eliminated by "shocking" with a dose of chorine bleach.  This is a fairly simple procedure and results are often good, unless there is some deep source of contamination.

Unexpectedly, the sample results had a moderately high lead level. This was inexplicable. The experienced contractor had never heard of lead contamination locally, and such contamination of groundwater is overall rare. Our best guess was that either the corroded bronze pipe fittings, or the pump had lead content, which had leached out into the stagnant well over 12 years idle.  A little research showed that indeed, older bronze fittings and pumps had lead content (solder).  My understanding is that bronze drop-pipe fittings are now banned in California because of potential for lead contamination.  Hopefully the problem could be solved by removing the lead sources and giving the well a good flush.  Worst case the lead could be removed via reverse osmosis, but that is a water-wasteful process.

All other testing returned normal.  We were relatively confident that a strategy of slow-pumping into a large storage tank, and some minor water quality remediation (shocking and a sanitary well-cap seal) that the well could be made usable.

To be continued.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 07:19:57 PM by hpinson »

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2011, 06:39:09 PM »
I think it might be helpful to detail exactly what water tests I used. It seems a reasonably complete test panel.  I live in oil and gas country, thus the petroleum related tests. 

Cross referenced to referrals.

Cost was: $368

Analysis was for:

Cation Anion Balance
--------------------
Flouride
Chloride
Nitrogen, Nitrite
Bromide
Phosphorus, Orthophosphate
Sulfate


EPA 200.8 Dissolved Metals
--------------------------
Arsenic

EPA Method 8021B: Disolved Metals
---------------------------------
Calcium
Lead
Magnesium
Potasium
Sodium


EPA Method 8015B: Diesel Range
------------------------------
Deisel Range Organics
Motor Oil Range Organics


EPA Method 8015B: Gasoline Range
--------------------------------
Gasoline Range Organics


EPA Method 8021B: Volatiles
---------------------------
Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)
Benzene
Toluene
Xylenes, Total
1,2,3-Trimethylbenzine
1,3,5-Trimethylbenzine
4-Bromofluorobenzene


SM 9223B: Total Coliform
------------------------
Total Coliform
E. Coli

Alkalinity
----------
Alkalinity, Total
Carbonate
Bicarbonate

EPA 120.1: Specific Conductance
-------------------------------
Specific Conductance

SM2540C Mod: Total Dissolved Solids
-----------------------------------
Total Dissolved Solids


« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 07:10:12 PM by hpinson »

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2011, 08:10:40 PM »
Part II: Restoring an Old Low-Flow Well - Hand Pump

Our application is to provide water for what will be at least for a few years, a camp.  Having enough water to drink and do concrete work as we build is important.  The water source should suffice for obtaining a building permit, and that is defined by the county for us as enough water for a working septic system (tank and leachfield).

We were at this point convinced that we had a viable well.

Our first decision was to choose a power source: to use direct AC over a long distance or something else.   While we have power to out property, it is a long way from utility drop to the bottom of the well-- almost 600 feet. That would require the use of small gauge copper cable, and that has gotten enormously expensive lately.  We would also need to rent a Ditch Witch to trench  for the cable, or hire out this work.

Another option was solar.  A single 210 watt panel located next to the well head, providing 12 or 24 volts of direct PV power to a top mounted DC pump, could be a good short-term solution. We liked the idea of an easy first solar project, to get our feet wet.  We also liked the idea of pumping to a big tank, with lots of water being available for fire protection.

Cost is an issue right now for us.  Direct solar PV from panel to a pump at the bottom of the well would require 300 feet of 4 gauge electrical cable.  The excellent soft start Grundfos SQFlex direct PV deep-well pumps have become out of this world expensive at 2-3K for a unit.

After much research, I ordered a SimplePump.

http://simplepump.com

The unit is an ingenious hand pump. The hand lever can be replaced by a DC motor. This pump is seeing action throughout the US, and in developing countries, as a reliable and affordable direct PV solar pumping solution.


The SimplePump is good for low-flow well applications. Our well recharges at half a gallon per minute, which is about the rate  the SimplePump pumps at.  The Grundfos (and similar units) need extra controllers or restrictive orifices to throttle back pumping to this low rate.  A fast pump rate can over-pump and destroy a well.

The SimplePump works by lifting, per hand stroke, water up a 1" PVC tube, using the up and down levered action of a 'sucker rod', and preventing backflow by valves.  100 strokes of the pump lever lift the water about 100 feet.  Once water is at the surface, it will only backflow six feet, due to a bleed off hole, which prevents water from freezing in the top few feet of the pump.



After initially pumping water to the surface, takes about 10 strokes of the SimplePump lever to start water flowing. My 10 year old daughter can do it. 

A proprietary 12 Volt DC Motor unit can be fitted to the SimplePump.

We ordered the SimplePump, motor unit, solar panel, and hardware from Sunshineworks in Tennessee. 

http://sunshineworks.com/

Proprietor Ron Castle was very helpful in expediting our needs.  He put together a package that included a 210 watt 12VDC solar panel, breakers, lightning arrestor, linear current booster, tank cutoff relay, and tank switch.  He provided support during the install process, which was drawn out because of equipment damaged in shipping by Fedex.

Here is a picture of some of the sucker rods that Fedex broke:



Installation involves dropping 1" PVC pipe and sucker rod to intake depth, in our case about 280 feet.



Easy at first! But soon the drop pipe starts to get heavy.  We did not have a crane, but were saved by quick thinking on my friend Glenn's part, a Prussic knot.  Who needs a crane?



Here's a video of how a 200 pound-plus chain of drop pipe can be lowered gently and safely into a well with just a little bit of paracord and two people:

http://simplepump.com

The unit is an ingenious hand pump. The hand lever can be replaced by a DC motor. This pump is seeing action throughout the US, and in developing countries, as a reliable and affordable direct PV solar pumping solution.


The SimplePump is good for low-flow well applications. Our well recharges at half a gallon per minute, which is about the rate  the SimplePump pumps at.  The Grundfos (and similar units) need extra controllers or restrictive orifices to throttle back pumping to this low rate.  A fast pump rate can over-pump and destroy a well.

The SimplePump works by lifting, per hand stroke, water up a 1" PVC tube, using the up and down levered action of a 'sucker rod', and preventing backflow by valves.  100 strokes of the pump lever lift the water about 100 feet.  Once water is at the surface, it will only backflow six feet, due to a bleed off hole, which prevents water from freezing in the top few feet of the pump.



After initially pumping water to the surface, takes about 10 strokes of the SimplePump lever to start water flowing. My 10 year old daughter can do it. 

A proprietary 12 Volt DC Motor unit can be fitted to the SimplePump.

We ordered the SimplePump, motor unit, solar panel, and hardware from Sunshineworks in Tennessee. 

http://sunshineworks.com/

Proprietor Ron Castle was very helpful in expediting our needs.  He put together a package that included a 210 watt 12VDC solar panel, breakers, lightning arrestor, linear current booster, tank cutoff relay, and tank switch.  He provided support during the install process, which was drawn out because of equipment damaged in shipping by Fedex.

Here is a picture of some of the sucker rods that Fedex broke:



Installation involves dropping 1" PVC pipe and sucker rod to intake depth, in our case about 280 feet.



Easy at first! But soon the drop pipe starts to get heavy.  We did not have a crane, but were saved by quick thinking on my friend Glenn's part, a Prussic knot.  Who needs a crane?



Here's a video of how a 200 pound-plus chain of drop pipe can be lowered gently and safely into a well with just a little bit of paracord and two people:



A PVC T handle and a little U shaped stop act as a safety device preventing the pipe from dropping down the well and being lost.

I think 300 feet of 1" drop pipe is about the limit for this rig to drop safely.



Finally, the pump head is installed to the top section of drop-pipe.



And, with a little priming, and an initial 180 strokes... water!  After that it only takes about 10 strokes.  Priming should not be necessary again.





Next up... Solar PV direct pumping.

Offline rick91351

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2011, 03:38:12 AM »
Love the pump man!

Good work on the water analysis as well.

I have a well that is a low producer up at the ranch it is a three gallons per minute and a one or two gallon per minute flow restrictor on it.  When we move up there seems several ways to go from there.  A 2,000 gallon buried ply tank is one way I am thinking about going.  You can wire a float shut off to that and come off the tank with another pump and the pressure system.  We have a spring we can try to develop into domestic use.  Or dig another well at another location.  We might end up using all three before it is all over.  I am not crazy about spending the money on another well and have it be a 'dry hole'. 

A solar powered pump pumping into a holding tank with a flow restrictor might be a way to go when you get ready to build.         
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2011, 07:09:47 AM »
Exactly.  Probably the only difference with what you describe is we will do a 500 gallon above ground tank for now. That will keep the water fresher for out current low weekend usage, but will have to be drained once cold weather approaches.  Long term I'd like to do what MountainDon did, bury a larger tank, for year round use.  1000 gallons seemed the sweet spot, lest we be pumping all the time.

I've not aquired the tank yet. I will wait until spring.

Here's the state of things as of last weekend. I would have mounted the panel closer, but the well sits on a sandstone ledge, and I had to go 15 feet diagonal to get to a place where I could mount the panel without blasting a hole.  6 GA UFB wire is now buried 18" deep  between panel and pump.  Fortunatly the old AC feed was trenched to the well, and I dug that out to lay the cable.  Otherwise the cable would have had to go in conduit on the surface I guess. 30' of 6GA UFB cost about $80 plus shipping and I had to buy it online because no-one seemed to stock it locally.


Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2011, 08:17:04 AM »
I'm starting to wire up the Direct PV DC motor rig for pumping the well. 

The Panel is a Sun Electronics A-210-FAC3 rated at 210 Watts, 12V.

http://www.sunelec.com/evergreen-solar-panel-210-watts-1830-vmp-a-p-544.html

The panel is grounded via 6GA bare copper attached from panel to a grounding bar laid horizontally and sunk 24" (which was a bear to trench).  I could not sink the grounding rod vertically because of ledge, but my understanding is that this alternative method is code compliant.  The panel grounding lug connection is worth a look:

http://www.solar-electric.com/gbdbtsopagrl.html

A 4"x4" post is sunk into concrete next to the panel, on which is mounted a Midnight Solar MNPV3 Combiner box, which accepts the + and - feeds from the 210 watt 12 volt panel, and is capable of taking input from a second panel if needed in the future.  The box came with two 20A breakers, and I am using only one.  The connection between panel is really clean because of the integrated MC4 connectors.

http://www.midnitesolar.com/productPhoto.php?product_ID=278&productCatName=PV%20Combiners&productCat_ID=9



A Delta LA 302-DC Lightening Arrestor is attached to the side knockout of the combiner and placed inline.  Hookup of the arrestor was easy; green to ground bus, black to - PV bus, and red to + PV bus above the breaker.  After talking with the folks at Midnight Engineering, I found out about their new line of lightning arrestors, which seem a good deal more effective than the Delta, in that they clamp at a more protective voltage.

http://www.midnitesolar.com/products.php?menuItem=products&productCat_ID=23&productCatName=SPD

The MNSPD-300 would seem a good choice for this application. Cost is about twice the Delta.  I may replace the Delta at some point, as I believe by location is prone to lightening strikes.

http://www.midnitesolar.com/pdfs/lightningArrestor_cassie.pdf

Tech support at Midnight Solar was outstanding.

All of this feeds into 6GA UFB cable (+, -, ground) which is laid directly in a trench dug 18" deep, with a run of about 18' from panel to pump (see above picture).  The run requires such large cable to prevent more than a few percent current loss.  I would have liked to go a bit deeper with the trench, but sandstone ledge prevented it. Wire is 7 stranded, per recommendation. It will hold up better than single strand apparently. Gauge was selected using one of many online calculators for determining DC voltage drop and appropriate wire gauge size:

http://www.freesunpower.com/wire_calc.php

I probably could have gone with 8GA.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 08:33:17 AM by hpinson »

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2011, 08:26:31 AM »
Here's a question about wire gauge.

In this setup, I run from 8GA connectors from the panel (4'), to a few inches of 12GA in the combiner box, 6GA (18') for the run to the pump motor, then 2' of 12GA at the Linear Current Booster/ Tank Switch Relay to the DC pump.  My understanding was that in the best of circumstances you work from small gauge (6 in this case) to large gauge (12 in this case).  Are there any ramifications of mixing gauge as in this setup? I don't see as I have any choice given the design of the devices and what gauge they use and will accept.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2011, 11:26:57 AM »
Should make no difference. Just use as short a length of the smaller wire as you can. In DC the current flows in one direction so it really doesn't matter where the large and small diater wires are in the circuit. At least that is the way I see it.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2011, 11:54:57 AM »
That's good because there is no way the tank switch relay is going to accept 6GA. I guess the principal for DC transmission must be that over distance you prevent some smaller percentage line loss the larger the gauge cable.   It's easy to overlook the cost of the fat copper in a solar gear purchase.

Offline Billl

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2011, 02:23:46 PM »
Hey - nice job on the hand pump.  I thought it might be difficult to find one that could lift that much head.

I do a lot of well installations and maintenance and was impressed to see you new pump staged on top of the table. Good to keep that stuff out of the dirt and "beef byproducts" that might be lying around.  Likewise was surprised to see the riser and wire from the old pump lying on the ground.

Couple of things to consider...
1) If you ever have to pull your new pump, stage the parts on a big poly sheet and disinfect with liquid bleach solution (sodium hypolchlorite) before putting it back in the well (never use POTASSIUM hypochlorite, after it's done partially oxidizing the bacteria the potassium acts as a nutrient, calcium hypoclorite easily makes jelly in the well) .

2) It's OK and easy to disinfect the bailer and cable before putting it down the well.

3) If you ever have to pull your pump again, consider a down-hole video. You can see corrosion, mechanical issues (like weld/thread failure or offsets because of geologic fault movement), bio-fouling, and the condition and construction of the well screen.  You can also figure out if the well is still at as-build depth or is filling with sand. 

4) Look for several products that make shock and routine disinfection of wells more effective.  Talk with the tech/sales guys at Johnson Screens for example:  http://www.johnsonscreens.com/sites/default/files/8/702/Chemical%20Rehabilitation%20for%20Water%20Systems.pdf

5) Do routine sampling for bacteria (applies to all private well owners). First do before and after samples when you shock treat the well, then sample on a decreasing frequency to annually. I don't want to send bad vibes to the land of monster muleys, but it's my impression that once you have bugs, you'll almost never be able to get rid of them because they get into the gravel pack and ground formation and on to the well casing and without really aggressive work you can't get the disinfectants everywhere.  If you can't get rid of the bugs, it's probably easiest to do a point-of-use treatment. Get micron sized-filter system for drinking water and don't worry too much about the rest of your uses (who cares if the water in the toilet has E-Coli?).  Maybe retest for lead now that your suspected culprit is out of the well.

Zap me a note if  you want more and I'm sorry that I didn't catch this thread earlier.
BillL

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2011, 08:34:43 PM »
Hi Bill. Missed your reply... for some reason notifications are not working for me. Good information.

I almost certainly will have to pull it at some point. The mechanism in the SimplepPump that allows hand pumping from such depths has some seals and o rings at the bottom end that need to be replaced every five years or so.  One concern is that the sucker rods, once screwed together, don't easily come apart, and you ruin some of them when pulling and disassembling. I've yet to pull more than one or two, but I'm suspecting detroyed sucker rods and rod failure will make this a fairly costly pump to maintain. You only learn these things through experience though. The alternative was the Grundfos SQ-FLEX which was beyond my budget when you include the cost of the copper. However, it may have been a wiser choice.  I'm not badmouthing the simplepump... it is one amazing little piece of technology, and must be transformative in developing countries. I understand they are deploying quite a few in Afghanastan and Iraq, and that the military is a big customer.

One thing we did do was disinfect each section of drop pipe with a strong liquid bleach solution, just as you described. That orange bucket is full of bleach!

I'm not using the well for a few months now because of winter, and I should probably give it a second shock soon for good measure. Thanks for the reference to the shock chemicals, though I'm not sure I can use the acid treatments with the pump in place. Need to read through all that more carefully when I'm awake. 

I have been looking at various filter options should the bacteria persist.  The lead problem seems to have vanished.  Again, I suspect the old pump and the bronze drop-pipe fittings. I see that California has outlawed these for the very reason.

The well had low output when drilled (0.5 GPM) and seems about the same 23 years later. The SimplePump goes at about that rate.

I'm hoping to use that nice 12GA copper somewhere else!

« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 11:27:19 AM by hpinson »

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2012, 03:21:54 PM »
The Norwesco 550 Gallon water tank arrived today.  Got it for $325 + $129 shipping from Tank Depot, which seems a good price.



But, a problem... A small pinhole puncture on the bottom edge, probably from a forklift. Of course, I did not catch this at the truck drop-off inspection.  :-\

Outside view of puncture:



Inside tank view of puncture:



Good news is that Tank Depot is stepping up to the plate and arranging a repair with a local vendor. Apparently, with the right plastic welder tool, this can easily be fixed.  This is good because I'm not eager to go through a claims process with the trucking company.

Fortunatly, it will be a few weeks until the snow melts enough to install this anyway.

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2012, 02:55:38 PM »
+++ for Tank Depot Customer service, and +++ for Desert Plastics in Albuquerque. Puncture fixed!  [cool]

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2012, 07:25:37 PM »
Spring has sprung on the Continental Divide, and it is a warm, windy, and dry one so far.  The apple tree has blossomed, and my lone tree is abuzz with an amazing number of bees. Normally the frost gets the blossoms, but not this year. We may have apples! 



The snow and mud are all gone, so it's back to work, picking up where we left off last Thanksgiving.

Installed the 210 Watt 12V solar panel, which will run the water pump motor.  Connected it to the buried copper ground rod using a Grounding Lug No. 1 on the panel, #6 copper, and the Midnight Solar DC breaker box and lightening arrestor.  Next week I hope to finish with the motor hookup and then move on to installing the tank storage and float cutoff switch and relay.



Moving on to the next task, I pass the remains of the collapsed garage, which we demolished last fall. It makes great firewood.



I arrive at the leanin' pole. 



The previous inhabitant powered his mobile home from this. At some point he decided to dig his root cellar right next to the pole, which is now well on its way to toppling into the root cellar.  Not wanting this hazard (didn't the big Las Conchas Fire start this way), I called our rural electric company to come have a look. "Do you have your liquid waste permit?" says the helpful lady at the electric company.  Silence on my end.  "You'll need it for us to come take a look and make any repairs."

Here's the problem.  The former owner did not have an "approved" liquid waste disposal system.  He had an old tank with the bottom cut out, otherwise known as a "seepage pit".  An "approved" liquid waste system is a requirement now to get your electric turned on, or to get any electrical work done.



So I begin my quest for a liquid waste permit. 

Now, a sawdust composting toilet is a fine thing: it is low maintenance, has low smell, is low in cost (around $100), and can serve occasional use by a small family just dandy.  Pretty hard to beat.  But such a composting toilet is not legal in our state.  Commercial composters, like the Envirolet are allowed, but unlike the simple sawdust composter, have a host of issues, which I'd rather not take on.  Fortunately, after a quick search through the easy to understand New Mexico Administrative Code, I find that an outhouse is allowed, if it meets certain requirements. 

http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=11938.msg153445#msg153445

I believe I can meet these requirements. I can build a fly proof outhouse, I'm not in an area that floods, the half-gallon a minute well is 300 feet upslope. I have room for two replacement pits, and I am located on more that 0.75 acres.

The big question is: can I did a hole the minimum 4' (better yet 6') on the Sandstone and Scoria benches where my build site is.

There is a sandy bench area below the old mobile home, that was used as a small animal holding pasture. It may work:



Time to dig a test pit. If results are positive, I can send my $100 in to the State, get a pre-inpection, and presumably am on my way to an outhouse, and electrical service.  If not, it is Envirolet, or full septic tank/ leech field for us.

And the news is good.  I was able to dig a 5'.  The only hard digging was through a 1' layer of Caliche, about 3' down. Water, poured on the Caliche, broke that up.  Yeah, I wish I had a tractor and auger. That's what Aleve is for I guess.



At 5' I encountered moderately well drained quartz sand:



I poured some water into the bottom of the pit and watched it perk. As a closet soil scientist, I was pretty happy with what I saw.

Next day I enlarged the pit footprint to 3'8" x 3'8' square, and continued digging. Got down to about five feet, and I hope to reach 6' next weekend.  I don't think it will be a problem.  I'm pretty happy because at this point, a septic tank and leech field would be useless given how slowly we are progressing with our build.



This is as far as I will get this weekend:



That's water perking at the bottom of the hole.

Covered up the pit, so no sleep-walking elk or turkey will fall into it.



Quitting time, on a warm March 31st evening.  I'm reading Buckskin Run by Louis L'Amour. A good read and a perfect way to end the day.

http://www.amazon.com/Buckskin-Run-Stories-Louis-LAmour/dp/0553247646



Outhouse build next I guess.  That ought to be interesting, and hopeful I will have some ideas and discoveries to share with CountryPlans.

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2012, 07:36:05 PM »
Oh, an update on the Simplepump.  It sat idle from late November to late March.  It held water at 6' below surface as advertised.  Took 10 pumps to restore flow, with no priming.  The sucker is at ~270'.  I'm pretty impressed for a hand pump.

Offline NM_Shooter

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2012, 02:58:21 PM »
Very nice... what is the diameter of the down hole portion of the pump? Is it much larger than the 1"pvc? Can it be placed into a driven well?

Don't count those blossoms yet.  I am worried this latest bit of cold weather is going to get our pear trees. 

Great view on your property.  Looking forward to your build!

-f-
"Officium Vacuus Auctorita"

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2012, 05:27:40 PM »
Yeah, here it is tonight raining in Rio Rancho and feeling pretty darn cold. My wife just turned on the heat.  It's probably snowing up north  >:(

To answer your question, the well casing is 4".  The limiting factor is not so much the diameter of the PVC drop-pipe with sucker rod, but the well cap itself, from which said pipe dangles and the top pump assembly attaches.  According to the Simplepump website they have caps that fit 2", 4" 4.5" 5", and 6" casings.  In my case, even though I have a 4" casing, the well cap sits on a 5" standpipe which encapsulates the 4" casing. 

So if your driven well casing fits one of those measurements, I would think so.  Ask Simplepump though. They are very responsive.

Here is the parts page: http://www.simplepump.com/PRICING/System-Component-Pricing.html

>> Can you bleed the water off of the top portion of the well to protect
>> it from freezing?

No need to.  The drop-pipe has a tiny bleed hole six feet below the top terminus.  Water drains to that level which in most cases is below frost line.  It could be placed deeper, say at 8 or 12 feet, and you would need to pump a little more to get the flow started.  My understanding is that six feet is deep enough for most continental US locations.



Offline NM_Shooter

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2012, 07:23:13 AM »
Woke up to snow here in the valley.  Rained all night, so I am hoping that the pear blossoms made it through.  I'm jealous of your well, but I have water flowing within 100 yards. 

I am sure that my water table is very high.... but I am also on rocky ground near my cabin.  Thinking about trying to drive a sand point if I can find a spot off of the hill.  I can't imagine what it would cost to just deploy a drilling rig let alone set up and drill.  I'd only need a shallow well... probably 30' or so, and I bet it would produce like crazy.  I'm guessing that 30' hole would probably cost me $3000 at least. 

I don't mind driving 1/4 mile to the spring to collect water and save $3k.  But it would be nice to have it closer. 

"Officium Vacuus Auctorita"

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2012, 01:24:17 PM »
Some ideas here: http://www.drillcat.com/

Would you really have to go 30 feet? Possibly not, but I guess it is an unknown until you try.




Offline Mad-Dax

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2012, 03:11:57 PM »
Well..well...well.  Just thought I would throw in the fact that I went to a boarding highschool in your backyard in Corrales from 86-90.   

Offline hpinson

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #47 on: April 04, 2012, 04:42:40 PM »
I've heard that Rio Rancho is Coralles' back-yard?    :-\

What school did you go to?

Offline NM_Shooter

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #48 on: April 04, 2012, 04:57:42 PM »
Was it Sandia View Academy? 

I don't know how far down I will have to go to hit water.  I have a spring above my property that flows a little creek on the north side of my cabin.  But that little creek is full of cow and elk poop.  I was hoping to drill a hole to get something a little closer to potable, even if I have to boil it first. 

I was going to put the well sort of down by the marshy ground, I expect that I won't have to drill far.  I guesstimated 30' to have a little length to the well for having some legs to the thing. 

I should get you and Mtn Don up there for a survey of the place sometime.
"Officium Vacuus Auctorita"

Offline Mad-Dax

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Re: 20x36 Dogtrot in Western New Mexico
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2012, 02:12:50 PM »
Was it Sandia View Academy? 

Sure was :)