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  • Backup Water Plan

    Jimbo has suggested we all should post more. So, here's one about water. What are your plans for being out of water at your home? Are you prepared?

    My family relied on well water for many years when I was young. The well was about 33 meters deep and an electric pump was used to fill a pressurized holding tank. The small well house contained all the equipment and was near the front of our yard. This is of course a typical setup for rural homes and many of you may have something similar.

    We had a drought one summer and the well ran dry. I don't remember much other than my Dad having to bring water home from work every day. He certainly was happy when the city water line was extended down our road.

    Here's a graphic of a typical rural home that uses well water.



    We're on city water at my home. This week, there's been some work done on the water main in front of our house. First it was cracked during excavation and that leak had to be fixed. Unexpectedly, we were without water for several hours. A few days later, the water was off a second time to make an extension to the pipeline and we had a couple of days notice. Our response to those short outages were different and it gave me a chance to check out a couple of backup plans.

    UNEXPECTED OUTAGE:
    When the water was suddenly off, PigHuntress came into my home office with her hands on her hips, very unhappy about the situation! I asked her to calm down and I walked outside to talk with the construction crew. In previous days we've developed a rapport and I've made friends with the company's owner. He explained the problem about the leak and said it would be a few hours before getting the temporary patch in place. OK, so that wasn't too bad, especially since the leak was on the water company's side of the meter.

    Fortunately, PigHuntress had earlier been sunbathing in the backyard and she likes to have a large inflatable pool of water to keep cool in. I just retrieved a bucket of pool water, hauled it upstairs and told her to use it to refill the toilet tank after any flushing. We always keep plenty of bottled water on hand in the basement for drinking, no clothes washing was needed, and the water was back on before sundown. There was little disruption to our routine. Without the pool water, I would have retrieved some toilet flushing water from the stream about 50 meters from my garage.

    EXPECTED OUTAGE:
    We had a chance to prepare for the next water outage scheduled for a 7 hours duration to tie in the water pipeline extension. Here's what we did the night before:
    > Washed all the dirty clothes and dishes
    > Took our showers before going to bed
    > Filled coolers with water and stored them in each bathroom to refill toilet tank reservoirs
    > Filled a 7 gallon portable water tank and added a few drops of bleach to make sure it was sterile. That would be used at the kitchen sink
    > Filled several 32 ounce containers and placed them in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking
    > Bought a 10 pound bag of ice and put it in the downstairs freezer.

    https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Prod...5692986&sr=8-2


    .... Do you have any plans for when you lose water at your home? If so, please let us know...
    Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

  • #2
    Not really an issue here. The city is good about furnishing alternatives during construction. We have LOTS of water here (I'm looking at a freshwater lake out my back door that's the size of a small ocean ... literally). In the thirty years I have lived in this house we've only had a couple very minor interruptions in water supply.

    Comment


    • #3
      So, what happens if the water treatment and distribution fails? Does that mean you have no backup? Do you plan to drink the lake water untreated?
      Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
        So, what happens if the water treatment and distribution fails? Does that mean you have no backup? Do you plan to drink the lake water untreated?
        Obviously I would boil it first. I have a couple of blue water jugs we used for construction jobs (new roof, etc.). They would get us by till city got things in order. Also this city is large enough for a couple of supply sources and treatment facilities. If one side of town is down public supply stations are made available on the side still in operation. I'm not worried.

        Comment


        • #5
          We try to keep "some" bottled water.
          We have a well, but it's potability is suspect. Very high "septic" TON.
          It's on the N/E side of the property. Our "lagoon" is on the S side.
          Ground permeablity is super low. It's red clay.
          The well is equipped with an "air lift" pump and empties into a 40 gallon Ruth-Berry pressure tank. The tank has to then be pressurized. Or a well bucket.
          BUT...water IS available.

          The well only produces about 100 gallons of water per day, so usage would have to be pretty regulated.
          We have 4 farm ponds but only one reliably has water during a drouth.

          With nearly 15 years in the water treatment industry, actually converting lake/pond/river/well water to potable is pretty easy.
          Clarify and disinfect.

          UNEXPECTED OUTAGE:
          Do what you gotta do!

          EXPECTED OUTAGE:
          Fill bathtubs to capacity with water for toilets and containers for drinking/cooking.

          Hardest part out here in the boonies is loss of electricity. Can't just go to the lake and dip up a bucket of that! LOL!
          I've seriously considered "solar panels" as part of a backup energy source. No shortage of sunshine here!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

            Hardest part out here in the boonies is loss of electricity. Can't just go to the lake and dip up a bucket of that! LOL!
            I've seriously considered "solar panels" as part of a backup energy source. No shortage of sunshine here!
            What's your gas source? Have you considered a natural gas or propane generator?
            Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a 55 gal white plastic drum that food grade flavoring came in. I drain and fill it in the spring before the Lake warms up (it is 79 now) and there is a chance of algae odor in the water. I add about 2 oz of bleach to the water. I keep it in the garage out of the sun. For emergency toilet I make sure I have a good supply of sturdy plastic bags for my 6gal pail that has a regular seat on it. I don't use stored water to flush the toilet.
              I made a plywood top for the drum and use it as a sturdy, 400lb work bench. Drums like mine run about $15 at flea markets. Be sure you know what was in it.
              I have had Lake Erie water when I was offshore 20 miles - deep water, no sea gulls, good color and cool.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PigHunter View Post

                What's your gas source? Have you considered a natural gas or propane generator?
                No natural gas but we do have propane.
                Yes sir, thought about that.
                Just not crazy about hearing a generator run.

                Look, out here at night, it's so quiet, you can hear a mouse pee on a cotton ball! Days have very little more noise.
                I suppose to stay cool, I could put up with the racket! LOL!

                I designed an "omni" directional wind generator but my f-i-l was the electrical brains of the project. He's gone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

                  No natural gas but we do have propane.
                  Yes sir, thought about that.
                  Just not crazy about hearing a generator run.

                  Look, out here at night, it's so quiet, you can hear a mouse pee on a cotton ball! Days have very little more noise.
                  I suppose to stay cool, I could put up with the racket! LOL!

                  I designed an "omni" directional wind generator but my f-i-l was the electrical brains of the project. He's gone.
                  The whole house generators can be much quieter than those portable gasoline versions. I'd have one but we have underground service in my neighborhood and rarely have an outage. The added advantage would be to still operate your drinking water well.
                  Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For a generator at camp I built a little weather proof house for it at the end of my extension cord away. It is a quiet model to begin with and away from everything I can not even hear it.

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                    Last edited by jhjimbo; 07-25-2020, 06:23 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PigHunter View Post

                      The whole house generators can be much quieter than those portable gasoline versions. I'd have one but we have underground service in my neighborhood and rarely have an outage. The added advantage would be to still operate your drinking water well.
                      We're overhead to the meter and underground (about 70 yards) to the house.
                      We are on a rural co-op. The feeder we are on is 1.5 miles long. Our house is the only residence. When our electricity goes out, if I don't call, the co-op never knows it's out! LOL!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not trying to be to dark. But I will take by force what I ever I need to survive if it really hits the fan. But other wise we are usually 3-4 cases deep of water around here. Not counting Gatorade and coke and assorted what ever else. And my father in laws place is on the river if it gets really bad.

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                        • #13
                          Our well is 147ft deep, drilled when we built the house 18 years ago. When I asked the driller said we had enough to supply the hamlet down the road, he estimated 50-60 gpm. There is also a spring on our hill that supplies water to three neighbors. We could have tied into it but it seemed better to have our own supply. I can still retrieve water from the overflow or at my Aunt's place next door, the house is gravity fed from the spring.

                          Related to water and power I did buy a 8500 watt gasoline generator a number of years back, I can run the essentials through a manual transfer switch if needed. Only tried it out once after losing electric from a late summer thunder storm, wasn't an emergency but figured it would be a good test run. The following January power went out around midnight at -17° and didn't come back on until after 5 am. We keep the house at 68° and it only dropped to 60° before the heat was able to run. I was glad I didn't get out of bed to mess with the generator in that cold. Nice knowing in the future there's plenty of time to let the power company get the juice back on. For a couple day deal I'm also in good shape to get by. What most people don't realize is that generators aren't meant to be a long term solution to outages. Unless you're tied into a pipeline you'll need a lot of storage capacity to maintain fuel supply non stop. A typical 20kw standby generator can use up to 3 gal/hr at full load. Good chance in a SHTF scenario the supply chain may be interrupted as well.

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                          • #14
                            I have a 3500 I can feed into house circuits and a 2,000 I can run extension cords for fridge and freezer. Both generators have 'economy idle' and I run them on Mobil 1 oil so they both way exceed manuf. estimated run time. My supply of gas is about 100 gal as I can retrieve gas from the boat. Our camp in the Adirondacks had a 2500 kohler, auto start, running on propane (250gal tank). It ran the oil burner as we kept the place heated to 60deg all winter. At the house the longest outage in 40 years was about 7 hours. At camp some outage was for a few days.

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                            • #15
                              About 7 years ago, I installed a 7500 watt generator that would supply my essentials when I am away for some 4-5 months in the winter. It is natural gas fed, so I need not worry about fuel supply, that is as long as there is a gas feed, which I guess could be lost if things should ever get that bad ! Have never used it as far as I know, but it is good for peace of mind that pipes will not freeze when I am not there. It runs for 10 minutes once a week in order to keep in service, but does no supply electricity during that run.

                              Comment

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