Saturday March 24, 2007

Wells, Water & Repairs

What with all the chick illness, mentioning that our water system was malfunctioning seemed to recede to the background. Ten years ago we put in a well on our property and set it up to irrigate what was then a huge sandy arena. We live in a riverbed and the ground is sandy, with many rocks. We began to work the arena and pick out the rocks.

After two years, every edge of the arena was piled up with a foot of rocks. We stopped competing in rodeo events and we planted the arena in grass seed Thanksgiving weekend of 1999. The horses have gotten much more pleasure out of the grass than they ever got from working in an arena.

We live on a streambed in a desert and if we had to pay for the water to keep our arena green it would cost and arm and a leg. Instead we pump the water up from 50 feet down and it keeps our arena green and then sinks back down to the underground stream from whence it came.

Our 5000 gallon storage tank has two switches -- a "turn on the underground pump to fill the tank" and a "turn off the pump the tank is full." A year ago the tank overflowed and we replaced the "turn off the pump" switch. This week Monday the tank ran dry and it was the "turn on the underground pump" switch that had failed. We replaced that switch but it turned out our pressure pump had overheated and needed replacement too. So we started to replace that on Friday morning when I noticed a seeping leak in the side of the tank. I ran my hand over the leak and a half-dozen small leaks sprang out from the same area. Yipes! Big problem. No tank, no water.

It was time to call in the alternate system. I got City water turned back on and we headed into the weekend set for major repairs if necessary. We plugged the tank holes with silicon putty and screws and rubber grommets. Today we replaced the seized pump and refilled the big water tank, which for right now is not leaking. Tomorrow we will turn the water back on to our new pump and see if it all works. in the country.

The new chicks arrive tomorrow or Monday. The surviving five seem fine, though two of them keep getting poopy butts, probably from the early exposure to cold.


The blue pump in the front is our new low-horsepower pressure pump. The leaks are up above it on the right, a couple feet up the tank's side. A closeup of how we repaired several pinhole leaks (so far) is on the right. The really rusted area is covered by the largest lag bolt made and a cut down fender washer -- it's about two inches in diameter. With enough silicone caulk, miracles in repair are possible. (So far.) Do you sense I think this may not last?