Likely the number one issue for persons living the rural life is water supply. The quality of the water will depend on a number of factors including the type of well and the area you’re in.
In days gone by, a well was dug with water either removed by a bucket or hand pump. These wells may have been lined with stones, bricks, or, even wood. The area below the water table was often lined with loose gravel.
Drilled wells on the other hand are thought to be more hygienic in that water is collected after filtering through the soil. These wells are often no more than 50 feet in depth. If the well is deeper than this other concerns can arise including contamination of the water from sulphur or salt. Heavy rainfall can also contaminate the well water.
Tip: If possible, ask neighbours if their well runs dry. Keep the lid to the well on tight.
Cisterns on the other hand require the collection of water typically via the roof. The idea of a cistern is no different from using a holding tank, lake or river. Water quality can sometimes be more of an issue with cisterns.
Tip: Make sure that lids on cisterns are on tight as well.
How does the water get where it’s going? — There are two common ways to pump the water. Submersible pumps are lowered, for example, into the well shaft operating, and being cooled, while submersed. These pumps are usually more expensive however are less noisy and not subjected to freezing. Jet pumps on the other hand are typically installed within the home.
To ensure a more “even” supply of water in the house, as opposed to just running the pump when water is required, other components are connected to the pumping system. These include a tank, which not only holds water but also maintains the pressure with air, as well as, a pressure switch. This switch turns the pump on when the pressure becomes too low and turns off the pump when the maximum pressure is achieved. A setting of 20 psi (pounds per square inch) to 40 psi for the pressure switch is common.
Some common concerns — If a pump turns on and off frequently it may mean that the tank is waterlogged and can’t meet the demand. If the pump runs for a long time at start up it may mean there is a small leak in a rusty pipe or foot valve.
Is the water safe? — At a minimum, monthly testing should be carried out for fecal and bacteria counts. Your Municipality will have their own requirements. Often the local Board of Health will provide sample bottles for testing. Other water quality tests are also recommended. They can look for items such as, lead, chlorine, acidity, hardness, alkalinity, chloramines, dirt and rust. Water purification or treatment equipment can also reduce concerns with the water quality. Regardless, we recommend the use of a water purification system, as it is not common for water to continually or consistently meet safe potability requirements. Sometimes an additional pump is required to get the pressure higher so the water purification system can work more efficiently.