Win a copy of The Tourist Trail this week in the Writing forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

digging out a spring in upstate NY that can be LEGAL for clients of a non-profit

 
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Permies,

I love how much expertise there is on this forum, and I figure this is the place to get really great information.

I basically would like a magic wand so I can teleport Sepp Holzer to our land in upstate NY and get him to dig out our springs himself (assuming they're flowing enough and uncontaminated). And combine that with someone who knows the legalities of what you can get away with and not be fined by the Departments of Making you Sad as someone on this forum called them.

I've emailed Andrew Faust to see if he knows anyone, and while I'm waiting to hear back I thought I'd also post here. Anyone know an expert? anyone know the laws or where you can get the info without needing to go to the inspector?

I looked around at other posts but I don't see any that clarify the legal angle on this. We aren't trying to make a pond (well, not at first, anyway...), just to dig out the spring and drink the water and allow visitors to our land to drink that water too.

Thanks much!

Best,


Joshua
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
146
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you clarify what you mean by digging out your spring?
Do you simple want to clean out the "river bed" because it is filled with plants and such?
Do you want to channelize the stream because it is making everywhere swampy?
Or do you want to cap the spring at the very point where it comes out of the ground and send the water thru a pipe for some distance?

You could cap it because you want to pipe the water to your "house". Maybe you dont want the water to become contaminated surface water. Maybe you want to send the water thru a pipe to use it to irrigate your plants.

Here is a old article on capping a spring that is on your property.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/fresh-spring-water-zmaz85mjzraw.aspx?
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You should be able to find the legalities here: http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/state-water-withdrawal-regulations.aspx . Just scroll down to New York, and there will be links to agencies that deal with water rights/use/regulations, etc. in NY.

This is just a beginning search. Once at the links provided, you may need to keep your eyes open for other links to more specific info regarding laws, permits, testing, etc.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks so much guys! The link for the legal info is super-helpful. I did not find anything relevant when I googled around. I really appreciate how responsive you folks are on this forum.

We want to supply potable water for up to 30 people coming to be on the land for brief periods several times a year (brief means usually a weekend; sometimes 9 days). Previously we've just dragged in jugs of water from across the road, but the guy would rather we not keep using his water, plus it's a long haul.

So, for now, digging hte spring out to the point where you could fill a jug would be a step forward -- spring water instead of chlorinated well water, happier neighbor!

step two would be running a pipe down (it'd be a gravity-fed scenario even if we didn't know what that term means--the springs are WAY up hill from our building) and running it into our jumbo tank for dish washing (and later a few for drinking and hand washing, but I think you can use untested water for boiling and washing dishes, since so far we've been using creek water and even though it tests clear, I think it meets code onlhy because we boil it and don't use it for drinking).

step 3 would be having it pass inspection so we oculd ALSO use it for drinking water and cooking in that same building(/kitchen).

Step 4 would be irrigate some crops with it, plant fruit trees, do all those things permaculturists do, go bananas. Not taht there's a dearth of water on the land even without the spring's contribution.

So far, it seems like we're going to hire someone to dig out the spring, because the potential for something to collapse if we don't do it right seems to be not worth the risk, and a spring is too precious a resource to ruin through ignorance. Andrew Faust would do this for a reasonable price, but of course it might not prove potable if the water test shows up who knows what, or if the regulations are a challenge. So, I have to go read that link John kindly posted as my next step, but meantime keep suggestions flowing ! thanks ever so much.

Joshua

PS if any of you are in the area and want to try our spring some time, you're welcome to stop by as far as I'm concerned, just shoot me an email ahead of time...this depends of course on us actually getting to dig it out and time and resources and so on.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looked at that link. No way we're going to be over 100,000 gallons per day. So we're clear for that permit. But to be able to say "this is potable water" -- that's not environmental regulation, I'm guessing, but department of health. They don't have anything on their site, just a number you call, which I'd love to bypass until we've got some of our research done, if possible. Anyone know of a site that has the legal codes?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
found what I think is the right link now:

http://w3.health.state.ny.us/dbspace/NYCRR10.nsf/11fb5c7998a73bcc852565a1004e9f87/8525652c00680c3e85256530006670d7?OpenDocument

better than the one that just said "never drink water from a spring". I look forward to the day when many people are educated about the value of spring water again and use their own good judgment to make decisions.
 
Posts: 81
Location: Long Island, NY (Zone 7)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joshua,

I'm from downstate, but I have family in Delaware and Broome Counties.

Without knowing where you are in NY state, I can only give you words of caution instead of advice.

NY State is EXTREMELY serious regarding anything having to do with ground water if you are inside a watershed, ESPECIALLY the ones for NYC and the Delaware River.

In addition (also dependent on your location), there can be a seriously tangled web of local, city, town, county, & state regulations that must all be complied with. Even though they sometimes seem to contradict each other.

Tread carefully & best of luck.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Frank, for your post. Yeah, we're in Rensellaer so we're not in the watershed--phew! There are a lot of local regs but I'm grinding my way throuhg them so we know our rights before talking with an inspector. How things actually go can sometimes be more driven by local custom than the law, people say, so it pays to be informed.

 
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
59
hugelkultur fungi books wofati solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joshua Myrvaagnes : This is an interesting topic, lets start simple and see where it goes !

First, have you gone through all the hoops of becoming a non profit yet, if not your present job is to develop your spring to supply YOUR basic needs first !

If you have an Artesian well/spring that is coming up on your property, then strictly for your own needs you are golden. Every effort should be made to
contain the water near its source, and not let run-off make problems for your neighbors, However - the water flowing from your spring will be at a very chilly
50dF OR COLDER all year long. When a properly made 'Traditional Spring House' was built over top of the Spring it was used as an effective method of early
refrigeration!

Most all refrigeration on Farms of the North Eastern / Northern States, prior to the 1930s and the event of Rural Electricity was done in Spring Houses/Milking
Parlors ! All Milk Raw and steaming warm was screened/filtered transferred to Large milk cans, cooled by partial immersion in a cement trough of the free
flowing Spring water, before it was loaded into the back of the farmers wagon ? Model T and delivered to the local Milk plant ! Happy was the farm wife whose
Springhouse flowed cold water year round !

If you have a spot where the level of the ground water is higher that the surrounding terrain then you have a surface fed spring, this is easily subject to
contamination from surface runoff ! Depending on local soil types, proximity to potentially Careless neighbors and past history of the Use of your property
and surrounding areas, you can have problems in your future with certification of this water source! The local office of'' making you feel sad'' may not know
about a Historical Tannery or local smelting operation on your land, but That past history will show up in the several layers of water quality tests you will have
to Pass !

If you can achieve a simple way to shade your potential spring site, say by using a large tarp strung overhead, and then Muck out a holding basin, You have
a good start. then you want to create a channel to carry runoff water away from your spring, There are several ways to calculate the rate of flow of water
from your spring, basically Depth x width x time, this will give you an idea of your springs present flow rate, a 'google search will help you here ! The Flow
rate will be determined by the spring itself and not how big a hole you dig in the ground !

After you have created the runoff and have found the rate that the spring can replenish itself, you can start a daily log to determine flow rates and water
temperatures. The temperature that your shaded spring flows at can be a powerful tool to tell you if you have a Artesian Spring or just an area with high
ground water !

Capping the Spring is something that you will have to do when you allow outsiders to drink from this source, eventually you will be told how to do this to
'meet code'. Hopefully your prior research will inform you how to do this right the 1st time !

Location, Location, Location ! As you are very close to the Marcellus Shale Deposits, ( and Future Fracking ) it behoves you to Have a current water quality
report in your hands! While money alone will not repay you for the loss of potable water on your property, it would be the only compensation you could ever
expect to get if your water becomes contaminated !

Here is one source for more information on spring houses, most of the information is correct ( I Think) Some of the posters at this site have personal
agendas- and this slips in and out of their comments !

www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=41536.0 Sorry no link !

You can try ether Farm Spring Houses Images, Amish Spring houses images. The spring houses -except when connected to a Dairy Barn, do not need to be
bigger than 4 foot by 4 foot by tall enough for someone to stand up in ! When you find an image that kinda looks promising, clicking on the image gets you a
bigger picture and a link to a connected article !

You may have the best luck checking at a local Farming History Museum! Good luck and good hunting ! Big AL !
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
so what I've got so far it looks like we could do with a berkey filter and pretty much any water supply, even toxic sludge. Not tempting fate, just sayin'. I think we're pretty far from any fracking, but I'll check into that.

What I wanted to ask is if those surface springs still run in the winter? the ones we have were coming up through the snow, and the snow was not melting anywhere else. We do have a ton of runoff too.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I've been posting about this topic and how things are evolving on the "water filter" thread, but just wanted to copy my post here (hope that's not bothersome to anyone). I'm still looking for help poking holes in my design and then also for selling it to my community and getting it to be clearly seen and acted upon. It can be like herding cats with us.

The plan I have in mind is
1 have permaculturist expert come and dig out our spring ($1600) and do a water design (this is a discount he's offering for just water)
2 use the spring for own drinking, which is totally legal!!! just can't sell or get a mortgage but we already have the land
3a if the spring is enough flow, use that, with a filter for the public, for legality, and do the quarterly testing they mandate
3b if not, pipe water from the creek (never runs dry) with a pump (on the grid) up to a water tower to give us pressure, or set it up with a gravity feed if we can (preferable, less silt up there) and have a pump to give the 20 lbs/square inch pressure required by the law
4 eventually replace the pump's power supply with solar PV panel or, if possible, a min hydropower water wheel! (this used to be a mill, and how cool would that be!)


Here's what I posted and want holes poked in and then way of selling improved plan to my community with clarity:

...
Thanks so much! wow, I am just amazed at the resource of this forum. Wouldn't it be nice if the whole world were this way?

My thought at this point is to say, I've done the research and it looks like we have one to two viable options without drilling, so let's hire the expert (permaculturist, teaches PDC's, is local and knows NY State, and knows water, offered a reasonable price that's a discount off what he'd do for a general design) and see what he says, and he's offered included in that to dig out the spring so we'll actually know its flow rate. Problem is, then if we still end up needing to drill a well and we've spent $1600 just for a design that tells us the same thing--"you need to drill a well" (and I say "drill" because of NY State law) well we're out more money. But I don't see how we could not have enough rainwater to harvest or use creek water filtered. Well, still it seems like it's the closest to a sure thing I can get this.

Thanks again!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So last night one of the guys in my community who's an engineer , drills wells for a living among his other tasks, says he thinks we should drill. He's all for the living water thing in theory, but thinks we just won't get enough flow

He can be won over, but I have to have a water-tight case. And, I'm also not sure that spring+stream is best given al the parameters of our situation. I'd love more input from the peanut gallery.

And, I still want to have a permaculturist with actual experience look at our land and give us a design, but to do that I need to make as strong a case as possible for digging out the spring, since that's included in his assessment fee. I don't wnat this to be viewed as a luxury because ecology is a top priority.

So, input with the goals of convincing my group to hire a permaculturist consultant and having the best solution in our situation would be greatly appreciated.

Spring/stream solution:
pro's:
* no drill rig needs to come and trample plants, compact soil, or use up copious petrochemicals in drilling
* whatever unknown results of drilling might be are avoided
* spring water is the healthiest water, according to Holzer, Schauberger, and other; 100 years ago no one with a modicum of common sense would dream of digging a well when you could cap a spring
* spring water feels better to my brain the minute I drink it, and I think we'll all be nicer people, even if we just have spring water in-house
*can build this in incrementally--that is, first get a filter and filter stream water, whcih we're already pumping up to our kitchen, next dig out the spring for small uses, next add in a cistern to capture more spring water; up front cost for first increment is under $500, vs. $4000 for a well drilling
* filter is only .02 / gallon, they say, for replacement filters
* filter could be stored in a pit under ground -- 50 fahrenheit -- rather than indoors if need be

cons:
*probably not enough flow to do showers, laundry, etc., from the spring alone, but with stream we would have enough
*maybe you're not really allowed to pump water out of the stream (protected trout stream, national department of making you sad has pretty strict regs about putting even a support for a bridge down into the creek bed) (but we've been pumping out of it for our dishwashing water for a few years now, and maybe our tributary is fine to pump from. which gives me an idea for the bridge part of things...hm...)
*have to filter for the public anyway, and that's higher maintenance (cleaning filter every 30 gallons or every day of an event, replacing it yearly, and putting it away --somewhere that will stay warm ALL winter--in freezing months)

pros of drilling:
*can be done with percussion drilling if need be--the permaculturist we'd hire from this area said he'd do it that way, and that might mean we don't need a drill rig to come over the land. I've set up a hand-powered percussion drill rig myself and I could carry all the components myself, so I know for a fact it can be done if it comes to that
* plenty of water flow
* it's been done next door and that well is working
* no maintenance, supposedly, you don't have to chlorinate or filter, the engineer said, just an initial chlorination when you are drilling it and then you never have to again,, and it's suposedly sealed off from animal contamination.
* we need to pick our battles as far as sustainability, and go for progress not perfection, so maybe this one doens't make a lot of difference impact-wise

cons of drlling
* the percussiondrilling may not be adequate for this kind of rock, certainly the hand-powered drilling would take a really long itme if we have to go through lots of large rocks
* it just seems less permacultural and sustainable (am i making this up?) to do this when there's ABUNDANT rain water and stream water constantly year round (except in a freeze, and we're funcitoning only in 3-seasons) on this land. in the time I've been here, it rained 4 times in 3 days, I swear to god we're in a permaculturist's wet dream microclimate in this hollow here. Which reminds me of a story, one time it snowed in Bly Hollow here and nowhere else in the whole county. And I mean liike 3 inches, serious snow.
* well water, pulled up from the aquifer, is not actually ready for drinking, it's going against nature's order (I can hear Sepp Holzer saying "you can do better than this, kid"). Maybe you really oughtn't to use it for bathing either, truly, I don't know.
* It costs more up front --$4000-$5000 is the figure quoted to me -- and
* our Northeast ancestors in their graves smacking their foreheads and saying, "What kind of damn fool drills a well when you've got a perfectly good spring on your land?" and "Do you really need 30 gallons per day per person of potable water?" and any ecological disturbance caused to nearby plants and soil by activity of subterranean head-smacking and rolling-over-in-grave-ing

Any more points I should consider?

Thanks!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1152
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
67
kids trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey gang,

Thanks again for all your input on this.

Right now the committee has met and passed on the report I wrote up to the Board. The report said basically we can do it the conventional way, get an estimate for that and fundraise once--or fundraise to get a permaculturist on the land to do a potable water supply design for us for $1600 and then do a second fundraiser for the cost of whatever his design suggests, which might save a ton of money over the other.

It's more awkward to fundraise twice, but the first one would be a small thing--I imagine the scrubbly thing (sp?) would be enough if I could get people in my local permaculture area on board or something. Or maybe I'm more popular on facebook than I think. Probably not. Probably wouldn't be so fun to find out . But anyway, I just wanted to update you all and also ask for any ideas about how to

A) sell this to the board better than I have (I mentioned the $savings as well as the idealism quotient, being more sustainable, better health, better spiritual qualities to spring water, etc.)
B) get the money for doing this the better way, raise that $1600

* It's worth it to me. I'm willing to give 20 hours of my time consulting, writing coaching, or soul's purpose work (using Tim Kelley's Know Your Purpose platform) for people contributing cash to this, $80 for an hour. I'm cheap for this kind of work.
* If I can get the link to work on scrubbly or whatever it is for Paul's rocket mass heater video, that would be dandy.
* I am open to any other solutions that don't involve prostitution.
* Again, if anyone wants to rent our pond for a growing season, they're just sitting there, asking to have people breed fish in them. This is in the greater Albany area. They were ice ponds. So, they're almost fish ponds too, as far as I can tell.

Also, does anyone know if a well drilling company will come give a free estimate usually?? I emailed one asking, never heard back from them...do they come out to your land and look at it and give an estimate or do they just charge a flat rate...? doesn't say on their websites taht I can see. I figure you'd have to do a fundraiser for the estimate for them to come just the same as for a permaculturist to come. Any info on this would eb most welcome.

Thanks!

 
Posts: 59
Location: Grafton NY, 25 Miles east of Albany
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just out of curiosity where in Rennselear county are you?
 
Do the next thing next. That’s a pretty good rule. Read the tiny ad, that’s a pretty good rule, too.
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!