Hand Dug Water Well Water Potability
Is the well water ok to drink?
DUG WELL POTABILITY TEST - CONTENTS: Testing the potability of hand dug well water: how we check on the sanitation or potability of water from a hand dug well. Advice for Hand Dug Water Wells as a source of drinking water
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Potability / safety of water from a hand dug well:
This article series offers advice for Hand Dug Water Wells and the sanitation and maintenance concerns with this water supply type.
This article describes the process of digging a well to provide usable water and the steps taken to make the well safe and sanitary. We include both technical advice and a description of the practical problems that one must encounter and overcome in providing usable water in an area where public water supply is absent or limited.
Alvin Starkman M.A., LL.B., Casa Machaya, Oaxaca Bed and Breakfast.
The article author, Alan Starkman writes here about well digging from a lay person's perspective. Also see Hand Dug Well Sanitation for more about safe drinking water from hand dug wells.
[Click to enlarge any image]
This article series offers advice for Hand Dug Water Wells and the sanitation and maintenance concerns with this water supply type.
This article describes the process of digging a well to provide usable water and the steps taken to make the well safe and sanitary.
We include both technical advice and a description of the practical problems that one must encounter and overcome in providing usable water in an area where public water supply is absent or limited. The article author, Alan Starkman is a retired Toronto attorney who operates the Casa Machaya bed and breakfast in Oaxaca Mexico. Mr. Starkman has written more than 90 articles about life and cultural traditions in Oaxaca, Mexico, and writes here about well digging from a lay person's perspective.
I had the water from our new dug well tested at a local university, but after a couple of rains and no cover on it, and it came back with some e-coli, apparently no surprise.
The engineer said to come back after the tabique circle (partition wall circle) and arc are done, the top is on, and all the crap at the bottom has been removed and the rest has had a few days to settle so we can get a more accurate readying of more or less pure water without drain-off contaminants.
She said she'd then test again, and we would put in some bleach, and test again to see the potential. She is confident that the water will be drinkable (not that we will drink it, but it certainly suggests your contention is right on that it should be kept isolated from the regular cistern water).
The best of all is that she's prepared to work with me in term of recommending chemicals, people to clean and filter, etc. I already have a pump guy for a submersible, and it's just a matter of determining how many hp, you'd think a simple task, but not so down here.
Water Quality: Technical Notes on Dug Well Sanitation
It is almost impossible to keep a dug well sanitary - dug wells are usually completely open to surface and ground water runoff.
You can shock the well, but if you are not going to drill a modern sanitary well (costly) you will need to install water treatment equipment to sanitize the water - after testing to see what contaminants besides bacteria are present. Shocking a dug well (see WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE) to try to make the water potable or safe to drink is usually pointless. If nonetheless someone insists on shocking the well, or on letting it "settle" before further testing, also see our warnings at FAILED WATER TESTS - WHEN to RE-TEST.
Our photo (left) shows a typical residential well water chlorination system.
If the well water is used for irrigation, such as watering plants, and possibly for filling a swimming pool (slowly or you'll run the well dry - see How Much Water Will a Dug Well Deliver?) - watch out whose water will be disinfected by the pool treatment equipment, using the Dug well may be fine.
But if the dug well water is to be used for drinking - that is, for a potable water supply - water treatment equipment will be needed.
Before you can choose what water treatment system is appropriate, it is important to test the water for both sanitation issues (bacteria, chemical contaminants) as well as aesthetic concerns (sediment, odors, taste).
Watch out: don't mix water from an un-sanitary source with potable or sanitary drinking water. Doing so risks cross-contamination of the entire plumbing system. If your property includes both potable and non-potable water supplies, be sure to keep their piping and storage facilities completely isolated from one another.
Looking Ahead to Part II of Digging a Well in Oaxaca
In my next and final installment, I deal with issues such as flow rate, biological analysis, decorative brickwork and custom iron cover, ongoing issues relating to structural integrity, and matters such as pumps and piping, the additional cistern, and whatev
Hand Dug Well Construction Procedure
The links below provide the details of how to dig and construct a hand dug water well.
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Questions & answers on determining the quality & safety of well water from a hand dug well: how do we test & protect the hand dug well water for & from contamination?.
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Mr. Starkman is a retired Toronto attorney who operates the Casa Machaya bed and breakfast in Oaxaca Mexico. Mr. Starkman has written more than 90 articles about life and cultural traditions in Oaxaca, Mexico, and writes here about well digging from a lay person's perspective. This hand dug well procedure article describes the process of digging a well to provide usable water and the steps taken to make the well safe and sanitary. We include both technical advice and a description of the practical problems that one must encounter and overcome in providing usable water in an area where public water supply is absent or limited. |
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Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
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Carlos Soberman, San Miguel de Allendex, Mexico kindly contributed the photograph of flooding during the rainy season in Mexico. Februray 2010.
"Comparison of large and small diameter wells", Natural Resources Management & Environment Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO Corporate Document Repository - Self-Help Wells - see http://www.fao.org/docrep/X5567E/x5567e04.htm
Hand pumps for wells, product sources:
Dempster Industries is a contemporary manufacturer of hand pumps for shallow wells or hand dug wells. At http://www.dempsterinc.com/html/Handpump.html you can find Dempster Industries who can tell you exactly how to repair mechanical problems with your well pump. Here is the Dempster installation manual for a typical hand pump used on shallow wells or dug wells: http://www.dempsterinc.com/PDF%20FIles/Typical%20Hand%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Water Supply & Drain Piping, Wells, Pumps, Water Supply Equipment
Access Water Energy, PO Box 2061, Moorabbin, VIC 3189, Australia, Tel: 1300 797 758, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Moorabbin Office: Kingston Trade Centre, 100 Cochranes Rd, Moorabbin, VIC 3189
Australian supplier of: Greywater systems, Solar power to grid packages, Edwards solar systems, Vulcan compact solar systems, water & solar system pumps & controls, and a wide rage of above ground & under ground water storage tanks: concrete, steel, plastic, modular, and bladder storage tanks.
Smart Tank, Installation Instructions [ copy on file as /water/Smart_Tank_Flexcon.pdf ] - , Flexcon Industries, 300 Pond St., Randolph MA 02368, www.flexconind.com, Tel: 800-527-0030 - web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://www.flexconind.com/pdf/st_install.pdf
Typical Shallow Well One Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect_Jet_Pumps.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Typical Deep Well Two Line Jet Pump Installation [ copy on file as /water/Jet_Pump_Grove_Elect.pdf ] - , Grove Electric, G&G Electric & Plumbing, 1900 NE 78th St., Suite 101, Vancouver WA 98665 www.grovelectric.com - web search -7/15/2010 original source: http://www.groverelectric.com/howto/38_Typical%20Jet%20Pump%20Installation.pdf
Water Fact Sheet #3, Using Low-Yielding Wells [ copy on file as /water/Low_Yield_Wells_Penn_State.pdf ] - , Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension, School of Forest Resources, web search 07/24/2010, original source: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0002.pdf
Water pressure tanks - how to diagnose the need for air, how to add air, stop water pump short cycling to avoid damage - water storage water pressure tank safety.
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE an specific case offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost
Crystal Clear Supply provides portable ceramic water filter purifiers and portable reverse osmosis water treatment equipment - see http://www.crystalclearsupply.com/category_s/7.htm
Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics, Joseph M. Ascenzi (Editor), CRC, 1995, ISBN-10: 0824795245 ISBN-13: 978-0824795245 "The evaluation of chemical germicides predates the golden age of microbiology..." -
This well-focused, up-to-date reference details the current medical uses of antiseptics and disinfectants -- particularly in the control of hospital-acquired infections -- presenting methods for evaluating products to obtain regulatory approval and examining chemical, physical, and microbiological properties as well as the toxicology of the most widely used commercial chemicals.
Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation and Sterilization (Hardcover)
by A. D. Russell (Editor), W. B. Hugo (Editor), G. A. J. Ayliffe (Editor), Blackwell Science, 2004. ISBN-10: 1405101997, ISBN-13: 978-1405101998.
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New England Journal of Medicine: City Hospital, Birmingham, UK. Covers the many methods of the elimination or prevention of microbial growth. Provides an historical overview, descriptions of the types of antimicrobial agents, factors affecting efficacy, evaluation methods, and types of resistance. Features sterilization methods, and more. Previous edition: c1999. DNLM: Sterilization--methods.
When Technology Fails, Matthew Stein, Chelsea Green Publisher, 2008,493 pages. ISBN-10: 1933392452 ISBN-13: 978-1933392455, "... how to find and sterilize water in the face of utility failure, as well as practical information for dealing with water-quality issues even when the public tap water is still flowing". Mr. Stein's website is www.whentechfails.com/
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