Joe's Corner  

Joe White - Real Estate Broker
Northern California Real Estate
Northwest Sonoma County and Southern Mendocino County
Recreational And Estate Properties
We have been doing this since 1976

January 30, 2012


Recently I lost a sale due to contamination of a spring. That has never happened before. Here I am attempting to provide a little information so it will not happen again.

I have only seen one incidence of it and it was in a poorly developed spring in 1989.

If you Google them you will find tons of information. Basically they come from plant material or animal waste seeping into the water system. The silver bullets are chlorine (better than Clorox) and ultra violet systems. I have only seen a couple of the ultra violet systems installed as chlorine normally does it. The phone book is full of many company's that will be more than happy to sell you their system but chlorine will do 99% of the time.

Now are required to have a water proof seal at 50 ft to theoretically prevent any contamination. Many wells are contaminated and mostly with the same things that are already in your stomach. Wells are generally more successful on top of a hill than in a deep valley. Water is held in porous rock that allows it to work its way out.

Water is brought to the surface by a shelf of rock or clay those daylights on a hillside. Occasionally you can see an artesian spring that pressure brings to the surface. Spring flow at the beginning of winter can be from 20 to 80% of midsummer. My springs have a 10' by 10' roof over them. They are fenced and have an access gate. A cement collection box with a redwood removable lid protects the water collected. There are 2 drains. Small amounts of stuff/sediment from any spring will collect in the bottom of the box over time. One drain is at the very bottom of the box to drain out this sediment occasionally. A second one rises about 3 inches up so water is drawn into the water storage tanks from the top of the water. Right below the spring box there is a second trap to additionally filter the water.

At least once per year I treat the intake of the spring with 2 or 3 chlorine pills about one inch square. Yes, I can taste it for a couple of weeks but it is easy. When taking samples of water I have found contamination so often I take a sample and then treat it with chlorine so if I have to come back to take another sample it has been cured. About 3lb. of pressure is created for every 10 ft. of altitude. I have 70 lb. water pressure at my house. I was shooting for 65 but I placed my storage tanks a few ft. to high. Yes, I do spend 2 or 3 hours a year on my system but I do not have a bill of over $150 per month. The water tastes far better than in any city I have visited.
Joe White

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