Water Storage Tank for Well?


Old 04-28-04, 01:08 PM
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Question Water Storage Tank for Well?

I live in rural Western WA and have some questions about installing a storage tank to my well/water systerm....

I've got a 20' hand dug well that is located approx 650' from the house. Pump is submersible and has a low water cut off switch.

The last few summers have been so dry that in July & Aug we ofter "run out of water" - meaning that the water level in the well gets so low that the pump shuts off until the water again reaches a sufficient level. This can take 4-8 hours, increasing as the summer goes on.

I'm thinking I would like to add a water storage tank (and pump?) that would hold enough water for 3 adults for ~ 2 days and replenish itself as water is available in the well -> am looking for advise on how to proceed. Is this an easy thing to do? Would a plumber/handyman type of guy be able to help or would I need to use a well service? My well currently pipes through the garage to a pressure tank and hot water heater in the basement -> am wondering if I can just divert the water to a storage tank (in the garage?) and then back into current plumbing system?

And the big question - any idea how much something like this might cost?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-28-04, 07:43 PM
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Here is what I instructed a customer of mine to do in Kentucky with a very similar situation to yours.

Same type of well, not as far away, went ahead and spent $2000 and had a cylindrical cistern installed that came in 3 sections.

Once the tank was set, they had water hauled in to fill the cistern up. The pump was inside the house not the well, so there would be a difference, but they had me install a float rod that stuck out of well lid with a fancy decoration on top. It was a crude invention, but the little ornament would start at 10 feet in the air, and as the water level dropped, the ornament did the same. There was a tag on the rod that would let them know it was time to either valve the water from well to the cistern, or wait for rainwater from the direction of gutters.

It was configured inside of the house with a christmas tree of valves and pipes, but the setup was the answer to the problem; they were able to conserve water and use the reservoir of water in the new cistern in the times that the well could not meet the demand.

One sectional cistern, including digging and backfill, the water line into the house plus the work to set up the valved system, and with a quick throw of valves, and a float rod outside giving you exact measurements of the level of water.

This older couple could now look out of thier basement staircase to the outside and watch the ornament climb up to 10 feet, and operating two valves at the pump.

In your situation, it could be done, but I would say a second pump would be in order, but the design of two makes for two pumps, two costs, and more to worry about when the electric goes out.

I am sure there is a better plan that this one, but the people loved the idea and love the backup cistern for weeks where heavy rains increased thier water level in the well.

My idea would probably be in the $3 to $4 grand range easily. Plus the float rod ornament.
Old 04-29-04, 06:55 AM
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It was a crude invention, but the little ornament would start at 10 feet in the air, and as the water level dropped, the ornament did the same. There was a tag on the rod that would let them know it was time to either valve the water from well to the cistern, or wait for rainwater from the direction of gutters.
Also some old water tanks had like markings on the side of the tank and an arrow like on a rope or line that went up to the top of the tank and over a pulley there with a float on the other end of the line in the tank. So if the tank was full the arrow would point on the side of the tank that said full at the bottom of it. As it got empty the arrow would move up the tank when at the top it would say empty

Old 04-30-04, 08:54 AM
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I use 60 gals/person per day as average water use. That can range up to 100 gals. depending on who you listen to. So, you would need a 400 or 600 gal tank and you can look the prices up on the 'net. You will want a tank that is easy to clean. Filled with water at 8.5# per gallon, that's quite heavy... so the floor has to be capable of that additional weight or you may create another problem.

You would control the well pump with a float switch in your new storage tank and another float switch or other means in the well so the pump wouldn't run without water to pump. You would then need another pump to get the water repressurized to the house. A submersible (115v 10-13 gpm 1/2 hp) in the storage tank would be the best choice. You'd control that with your present pressure tank and switch.

But.... your new atmospheric storage tank will probably have 'stuff' (a highly technical term) growing in the water fairly soon that you don't want in your water and then you'll have to treat that with its usually on going expense. And really you'll need a disinfectant like chlorine (most inexpensive), and then you'll want that removed from the water before using the water... Although you should now be treating water collected in a 20' deep hand dug well.

My advice, although this is done every day somewhere, put this usually large amount of money into deepening this or another well.

Gary Slusser
Old 05-02-04, 10:01 PM
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Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Sounds like this isn't gonna be as easy or cheap as I'd hoped....!

As far as deepening a well, what's involved w/this - ie., as far as type/amount of labor & cost? Would I be able to use the same piping to get water to the house? And what are the chances that deepening the well won't help at all?

A new well is not really an option for me at the moment, due to the $$$ and the permitting that would be involved. There is a protected salmon spawning stream between the well and my house -> getting the approval at this point to put in any new pipes would most likely be a difficult and time consuming process.
Old 05-03-04, 02:46 AM
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Check out these excellent websites for information on wells and pumps. Maybe you should think about putting down a well closer to your home, if possible.
Good Luck!
Old 05-03-04, 06:19 AM
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Yes the plumbing you have from the well now should be able to be used as long as it isn't damaged by the work at the well. Digging hand dug wells isn't done around here anymore to my knowledge and maybe that isn't an option for you. Someone has to enter the well and manually dig. That would be the least expensive choice and probably the best for the situation you describe. Especially since the well goes dry. I have seen a new well drilled down through hand dug wells after the hole has been filled. That requires a drilling rig to be set up over the old well which means the rig has to be able to get to the old well.

The cost of these 'options' varies widely due to various areas of the country and the location etc. so call a few well drillers and ask their ideas. Depending on your present pump, you may be able to reuse it and the plumbing from the well to the house now. Since the well goes dry, a storage tank won't be able to be refilled when the water table falls, and that has nothing to do with how much water you use out of your well unless it is substantial. You well is not deep enough so if you used less water the well would still go dry but would take a few days to maybe a week a longer to do it. So trucking water in and dmpiing it into a new tank, taking the well deeper or going without water are about the only options. If there is a build up of 'sediment' in the bottom of the well, you could gain a couple feet possibly by having the well cleaned and then lowering the pump.

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Old 05-04-04, 08:04 AM
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Thank you!!
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