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Digging out a spring to develop it for drinking water  RSS feed

 
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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Hey Permies! After 6 years of lurking this site, searching for sustainable and regenerative solutions for my land, I am finally making my first post.

I have begun work digging out a spring with hopes to develop it for drinking water use.

I am looking for any input that I can gather on how I could harness and shelter this spring water.

I know of general concepts of spring boxes, horizontal wells, etc. but this spring seems to be unique or perhaps just confounding to my simple mind.

Thanks!
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Before
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Dug back about a foot into hillside
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First “mouth”?
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Digging further. Uncovered 5 mouths so far, accounting for most of the 60gpm flow
 
pollinator
Posts: 119
Location: Western central Illinois
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Welcome James!

Looks like you have a good water source there. What in particular is the confounding aspect? I'm not an expert on springs, but our water source on the farm is a spring and I have a lot of experience with that one. Our neighbors to the north have a spring with high enough flow that they setup to bottle and distribute part of it.

Any chance you can tell us more about the lay of the land and the local geography and geology? How deep to bedrock? How deep is it from surface to the flows? It looks like you have a lot of clay in the soil, is that correct?

 
james black
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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Caleb, thanks for your reply and welcome to the forum!

I’ll try to provide a decent response though I’m on mobile.

I’m in zone 7, Mississippi. Heavy red clay subsoil. Clay silty loam topsoil. I’m less than 1 mile away from the aquifer which is the rural community water source here.

I’m unsure about the bedrock depth, though I’ve never heard of anyone near my location hitting bedrock during any pond excavations etc. I suppose I could get this info from extension service or a well drilling company?

We get 58” of rainfall annually. Many ponds and streams around.

6 springs on my 100 acres but this one has the most consistent flow measured at 60 gallons/minute daily for the past month.

This flow increases around 10% for 24hrs after extremely heavy rainfall.

The “mouths” seem to be interconnected. This part confounds me a bit. If I plug the mouth at lowest elevation the others compensate with higher flow.

I wonder if further excavation either down, or back into the face of the hill could uncover a central water vein with higher flow/ fewer impurities.
 
james black
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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More info:
8CBB4ABC-0730-4ACA-86CF-CB674B598EFB.jpeg
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My property outlined in white. Spring in question marked with red dot
 
pollinator
Posts: 162
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Hi James ,

The physics indicate they are interconnected, but where is the question. You could dig up alot of ground to find that answer. My suggestion would have been develop the central source, but now that you've dug back and have two sources, it complicates things.

Maybe use a probe to see the alignment or positioning of the lower spring, in relation to the top, to see if you can bore down to rejoin them in a centralized point; then drop in your spring box there, or implement whatever plan of action you have to capture and redirect the water while keep the source clean.

Im assuming you understand how to disinfect everything you've worked on to keep your captured source clean.

Without being there to study the situation more closely, those are my thoughts on the situation, since those two sources are totally unpredictable regarding how far back they go, or even if they fracture further.

Hope that helps!
 
pollinator
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Dang -- that's a very heavy spring.  Outstanding.

My hunch is that it will gradually erode back into the hillside until the multiple "mouths" merge into one larger one.

If the flow jumps up that quickly (by 10%) after a rainfall, I would be very careful about drinking from that spring.  There will most likely be biological contaminants in it.  But as a source for agriculture, fish/aquaculture, toilets, etc., it wouldn't need to be treated.  

Ducks!  And rice!  And duck-filled rice fields!  If Ben Falk can grow rice in Vermont, you should have no problem.
 
james black
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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R. Steele wrote:Hi James ,

The physics indicate they are interconnected, but where is the question.

—In my haste I probably didn’t format a question as I should’ve. My question would be how to further explore the characteristics of this spring/ how to develop given the multiple source situation (5 in total).

You could dig up alot of ground to find that answer.

— that would be my fear as well. All work is being done carefully and by hand tools.

My suggestion would have been develop the central source, but now that you've dug back and have two sources, it complicates things.

—I haven’t altered the original flow. Just uncovered it. My thought process was that I could cover the 5 mouths as one unit and let it flow naturally into a spring box. Imagine a culvert cut in half and placed with open end above the tunnel of springs. Potentially a reinforced concrete form could protect them from rain, erosion, biological contaminants etc?

Maybe use a probe to see the alignment or positioning of the lower spring, in relation to the top, to see if you can bore down to rejoin them in a centralized point; then drop in your spring box there, or implement whatever plan of action you have to capture and redirect the water while keep the source clean.


— is there a specific probe for this application? Just a regular soil probe perhaps? I can give that a shot.


Im assuming you understand how to disinfect everything you've worked on to keep your captured source clean.

— I’m assuming you’re talking about treating with chlorine here?

Without being there to study the situation more closely, those are my thoughts on the situation, since those two sources are totally unpredictable regarding how far back they go, or even if they fracture further.

— care to come and study it? Haha. Your input has been very valuable. Thanks!

Hope that helps!

 
james black
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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Marco Banks wrote:Dang -- that's a very heavy spring.  Outstanding.

My hunch is that it will gradually erode back into the hillside until the multiple "mouths" merge into one larger one.

—probably. Maybe not in my lifetime given the pure clay content around the mouths.

If the flow jumps up that quickly (by 10%) after a rainfall, I would be very careful about drinking from that spring.

—I was afraid of this. Water has been tested. Everything came back good except for the bacteria test. I expected that this might be pollution occurring once the water surfaced? Many amphibians surrounded the spring in its original form. With newts breeding in the tunnel which I’ve now unearthed.   I’m actually currently drinking the water after purifying it. It’s my only reliable source of clean water for my offgrid homestead currently. Perhaps collection could just be avoided when output is high?

 There will most likely be biological contaminants in it.  But as a source for agriculture, fish/aquaculture, toilets, etc., it wouldn't need to be treated.  

Ducks!  And rice!  And duck-filled rice fields!  If Ben Falk can grow rice in Vermont, you should have no problem.

 
R. Steele
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Hi James,

Unfortunately I'm not in a position study it closer, but as far as probing goes, it wouldn't be any different then trying to push in a ridged pole or stick to check alignment. Kind of like you did with the shovel handle in the top channel.  Other options could be a metal fish, and a metal detector, if the underground channel is to curvy for a ridged pole. Thats assuming the depth of earth isn't to deep for the metal detector to get a reading.
 
Posts: 206
Location: Philippines
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You can actually trace the flow of water underground by water dowsing



If you are not using too much water for drinking this filter can process 200 liters of water a day. It has a 1 sq foot cross section. If you need double the amount of water double the cross section. This require that you use same water source. And you need to culture the bacteria for at least twenty days before drinking. You also need to feed the bacteria regularly by using the filter on a regular basis. Go to their website if you need to learn more. I have use this with great success

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james black
Posts: 6
Location: Mississippi, United States
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I appreciate all of your responses so much.

They have given me lots of “food for thought”.

My current plan of action is to excavate a couple of feet out to the side of this channel of spring mouths. Then I’ll construct what would essentially be a box culvert with an open bottom. This would would lead into a conventional concrete spring box. The whole culvert would be reinforced concrete surrounded by drainage aggregate and drain tile. All but the spring box could probably be covered back up with native soil.

I’ll be sure to document so others may learn from my successes/ failures. And I’ll keep my ears open to any suggestions here.

Once again, thank you all so much!

I look forward to reading more on these forums and potentially sharing some of my ongoing projects.
 
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