Mixing collected rainwater and trucked in water

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by wrekless, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. wrekless

    wrekless Monkey

    Brand new member to the forum..

    We recently put in a rainwater collection system at our home, 2 tanks totaling 25,000 gallons. Our annual collection is anticipated to be around 50,000 gallons and our projected usage is around 60 thousand gallons. The area where we live has about 85 homes, on a common well water system. For backup purposes we remain tied to the well, using a backflow preventor valve to prevent contamination.
    Today the water board informed us that our backflow valve does not meet code, and they want us to install a rpz valve at our expense, even though during our project construction we double checked with them that what we were installing was satisfactory.
    It appears our options going forward are to comply with their request, or disconnect from the well. The water board has always been difficult to deal with, and this would be a good time to sever ties with them. Our projected water usage shows that the amount of rainwater we can expect to collect will fall short of our needs. Our setup allows us to keep the rainwater system separate from the community well system. One option is to have well water trucked in and pumped into our tanks. The well water in the Texas hill country is quite hard, and after all the effort we put into our rainwater system my wife is reluctant to mix the well water with our rainwater. I would ideally like to keep them separate as well, but as a practical matter I think the best solution given the circumstances is to disconnect from the community well and truck in water as needed. The cost differential of remaining connected to the community well vs trucking in additional water are minimal.
    Looking for advice/opinions. Thanks in advance.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Install the reduced pressure principal backflow preventer. There is no substitute for having a third (after rain and truck) delivery. Mixing the two will not have any health consequences. If needed, a water softener is an easy install, and for the relatively small amount of well water, you won't need to go full size.
  3. wrekless

    wrekless Monkey

    Excellent point on having an additional source of water!
    chelloveck and stg58 like this.
  4. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Good post and ...
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  5. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Anticipated use of 164+ gal/day seems a bit high unless you have livestock...then it's a different story.
    Is there any option to have a manual shut-off from the communal well that would allow, say, a siphon break, allowing you to refill your tanks from the well in lieu of trucking in water? Or perhaps more to their liking, have a hydrant that you can access for that purpose? That way there would be no chance of your tanks mixing with their system, but you'd still have access to another water source.
    Just thinking out loud... ;)
    ...and welcome to the forum!
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    How many gallons a year you go through??? Oh, and welcome to the tree!! I just topped out my cystern from my well at 1100 gal. ... That will last me through the winter and some.. Of course it is just me and I don't shower here..
  7. wrekless

    wrekless Monkey

    We are a family of four, a large vegetable garden, and a swimming pool. We are very conscientious about our water usage, however due to evaporation the pool needs to be topped regularly in the summer. We moved here about a year ago, our rainwater tanks are new, so our historical data is limited. Appliances are all super efficient and all faucets, toilets, and showers are low flow. Our garden irrigation is targeted as well.
    I am fine with putting in the new backflow valve, as that meets state code. My mistake was not researching the code myself, I trusted what others said. The water board and the water management company both originally told me the other valve was fine. I believe they owe me the cost of that valve. If the board does not "do the right thing" and adjust the billing accordingly, I may allow them to disconnect me from the well involuntarily. 5 months of not paying to be on the well will make up the cost difference. If the winter continues to be wet as is forecast, our tanks will never get low. If the SHTF, we will be good for water at least as long as we are presently prepared for in other areas. Then, reconnect once the rains end, and since the disconnection was involuntary the reconnect fee is 10% of what it would be after a voluntary disconnection.
    The water board and management company have far and away been the most difficult of all the various entities we have dealt with since our move. We are pretty easy to get along with. It is all I can do now to not raise a middle finger salute to them. I think I have found an acceptable middle ground while maximizing my options going forward.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Hm. Well, if you have it documented that the original valve was acceptable, you might stand a small chance of recovery. Don't bank on it. The valve itself will be pretty inexpensive, a plumber's time is worth bunches.

    FWIW. When water treatment plants are designed, the initial assumption is 150 gallons per day per person. That includes laundries, restaurants and other commercial establishments. The design engineer will then verify those numbers by actual surveys of the customers that will be or are tied into the system. As a residence standing alone, you won't use that much, but from what you've said, you will be on the high side of what the engineers would expect were you in a burb or small city. Use the 150 for your estimates, you won't go too far astray.

    One dry year, and you are toasted, don't count in average rainfalls. Just ask the guys in the southwest.

    One other thing while it's on my mind, how far from a fire hydrant are you? Can you fight a fire from your inventory or would it be helpful to keep the well accessible in case of need?
    kellory likes this.
  9. wrekless

    wrekless Monkey

    Since moving here our high month for water was 12,000 gallons, most months 6-8000 gallons. So, 50-100 gallons/person/day by my public math.
    Not very close to a hydrant, but our large tank has a fireman's hookup. We also have a metal roof and are in the process of clearing out remaining trees near the house.
    Ganado likes this.
  10. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    "One dry year, and you are toasted, don't count in average rainfalls. Just ask the guys in the southwest."

    Very good point. Didn't Texas just come out of a 6 or 7 year drought?
    Ganado and Motomom34 like this.
  11. wrekless

    wrekless Monkey

    Many parts of Texas came out of a multi year drought in late spring, went back into drought by late summer, and back out again a couple of weeks ago after heavy rains.
  12. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Jeez, Louise. I thought we used a lot of water, actually.

    At our apartment here in the city, we use 7 cubic meters of water per month. For the metrically challenged, that would be about 1850 US gallons. About 62 gallons per day, for two people.

    If we ever have an opportunity to meet up, I will make sure I never drop in prior to spring. :D:D
  13. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    I just go roll naked in the snow every morning to freshen up...;):rolleyes::ROFLMAO:
  14. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Well, there is a picture I didn't need in my mind - at 6:00am. I was going to have breakfast, after reading the forum a while. Thanks, Dont, for helping me with my weight loss program. :D

    Thank you. Thank you. I will be here all week. :D
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I had 2 water softeners. The first softened all the water. As they use salt, ice cubes fizzed in carbonated drinks. The second, only softened the hot water which was a lot nicer.
  16. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Well.. There is a five gallon bucket of warm water and a coffee can technique of getting a bath done.. I have done that a few times after the copper pipes froze and broke.. Started buying PEX pipe and the fittings to replace the copper in the house.. PEX pipe is not supposed to break if it freezes..

    Besides, using water out of a bucket has been an interesting learning experience and three dollar showers at the local country store is cheap and a lot of folks out here use them..
    Motomom34 likes this.
  17. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    What!!! Something is not right... as in it's broken, even if the salt that is used to clean the resin balls in the water softener was not washed clean in the rinse cycle, it would not cause ice cubes to fizz. Water Softeners add very little sodium to your water, i.e. it's safe to drink, no more sodium than in a slice of white bread.

  18. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    So.... is there something stopping you from having your own well drilled, and is the community water not also hard? I've been to places in TX that I could not drink the coffee, Van Horn TX I believe, the water quality sucked.

  19. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    As my reloading area was close by, it flushed itself often.

    FWIR, the amount of sodium added depends on how "hard" the water is being softened.
  20. john316

    john316 Monkey+++

    IMHO...........NEVER give up ANY "right" you have NOW........buy the valve.......later you may not not be able to
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