Sigh. A Plan B for well water is not hard to find…

…in fact sometimes the problem is to avoid it.

There’s an old well at the cattle watering station beside the wash. Due to some geological oddity I don’t understand, it’s shallow enough to pump with a windmill. I dipped it one time and the surface is only about 50 feet down. Unlike the aquifer water, though, it’s really not drinkable. Lots of bad stuff in it.

So when the cattlemen set things back up three years ago they dug a new deep well on the ridge above the station. Solar powered, it ran all the time the sun was up whether the tank needed filling or not. The excess, which was virtually everything, poured out on the ground. I complained about it but nobody wanted to hear about my complaints.

Last year the manager of the cattle operation quit, calling us all a bunch of ungrateful deplorables. Which we are. The new guy has proven a little easier to get along with. At least he doesn’t leave dead cattle laying around, or cut fences, or threaten every dog he sees to every owner’s face. Or pour water out on the ground.

No, he didn’t rig the well to only run when the tank needs it. But he did run a pipe from the tank overflow to the old shallow well. I doubt it fixes anything, but at least I don’t have to look at all that water pouring out on the ground every day.

A cow must have bumped the pipe or something, because this morning…

Oh, well. I went in and plugged it back into the well, because why not? I don’t know if that water is finding its way back to the aquifer, but it can’t be as bad as just pumping it out onto the ground.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to Sigh. A Plan B for well water is not hard to find…

  1. Norman says:

    Interesting. The EPA organizations – the fed dot gov one, and the one in your state – usually have quite a lot to say about adding stuff to groundwater, and “stuff” includes water from any source. It’s a detailed and convoluted permitting process to get authorization to pump into the ground. Contamination possibilities and all that, doncha know.

    What the cattle baron is doing probably isn’t hurting anything, and way out beyond where civilization ends – where you are – may require organizing a government-funded safari to get there, and I’m guessing the Denizens of the Desert would rather avoid contact with the short-sleeve-and-skinny-tie set that infest government. But, there may be “cattle leverage” to be had on the issue, if handled carefully.

  2. Paul Joat says:

    I was surprised how touchy most states are about unused wells, and how to cap them off. Where I am just leaving an old well open is a big fine even without pumping anything back into it.

  3. Tennessee Budd says:

    Walk around any old abandoned homeplace in Tennessee, & you stand a chance of stepping–or fallng–into an old well. Most of the time somebody put a couple of pieces of 1x or 2x over it 80 years ago & called it good enough.

  4. anonymous says:

    Joel, I wonder if some of that ‘bad water’ can be purified via distillation and used for drinking water. You may want to investigate that option – might save you some gas and time, though LB will be pissed because he will miss riding with the top down. :^)

    Our ground water is much the same description as yours. We have a very high water table, but saline – wow, is it ever. Non potable for sure.

    My Uncle has his water overage piped to a nearby concrete trough / bird feeder for wildlife to use. The pipe goes to bird feeder, the overage from that to trough below. It sees quite a bit of traffic – surface water is hard to find, especially in drought season.

  5. maDDtraPPer says:

    Id love to get my hands on that windmill.

  6. anonymous says:

    “Id love to get my hands on that windmill.” For use or just the ‘music’. We had a ranch cabin with a nearby windmill and the creak – squeak and vibration of pump rod shaking the structure was background sound all the time the wind was blowing. In a windstorm, man, look at her go !

To the stake with the heretic!