When we first moved on to our property just over 28 years ago our water system was a crude set up that the previous owner had built. He had burried two 30 gallon galvenized trash cans and lined them with plastic trash bags, the spring site that fed them was about 460 feet Northwest of the top of our property on land that a local timber mill owns. In those days we were in a wet climate cycle and the water was on the surface at the spring but I happened to hear a dripping sound in the ground and found where he had burried a five gallon plastic bucket, he had sliced holes all around the bucket with a knife and had a number of two foot pieces of three tube soaker hose laid in the wet area leading to the bucket. From the bucket to the garbage cans was 3/4" black poly pipe, most of which was above ground. The first change I made was to cast a concrete collector box 2' square and 3' deep with two 1" pvc drilled pipes laid in a gravel ditch going to the box. Over the years due to a long drought cycle I've had to lower the collector pipes and finally I found the spring source just under a fir tree where I dug down into bedrock. I had to lower the system including the collector box about five or so years ago and added a second spring hole two feet from the original one so I could alternately every few years clean them out of roots and silt. Because the trash cans was such a bad set up my wife, young son and I hauled sand and gravel to the top of our property and hand cast a 1100 gallon cistern with an access lid of concrete (which is not fun to lift because it weighs about 300 lbs.. the collector box and cistern are 3 1/2" thick and are reinforced with rebar and wire. I changed the black poly pipe to 1" sched 40 PVC burying it as deeply as possible having a good fall line from the spring box to the cistern so that there would be no pooling in the line in case of extreme low temps that could freeze deeply. Boy did I ever get a case of poison oak on my legs from the roots, first time I've ever been bothered by that because I am otherwise immune to poison oak. Anyway from the cistern to our home the pipe is 1" sched 40 PVC, overflow out of the cistern goes down to a cast iron bath tub which helps to indicate how much water is coming from the spring ( goldfish are in the tub to keep it free of misquitoes) the overflow from the tub goes down to our garden area where its collected in a 55 gallon poly barrrel from which I water fruit and nut trees I've planted in the past few years. The great thing that has happened in the last three years is that we are coming out of the drought cycle, add to that the trees are growing extremely well where it had been heavely logged a number of years before. I am considering adding another 1000 to 1500 gallon cistern made out of a non leaching plastic which I'll run the overflow from the original cistern into and have valved connections for times when the summer heat slows down the spring, also good in case of a need to fight fires. The system gives me 25 psi in our home, enough to operate a pressure flush toilet. The cistern is about 100 feet up hill from the motorhome shed, shaded by fir trees.
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