Testing the Spring Water

So yesterday afternoon I went out to the new spring in the wash with a shovel. I dug as deep as I could which wasn’t very deep since the sand kept filling back in. The hole filled with water from the first moment there was a hole, and it was predictably so muddy you couldn’t have done a thing with it.

As hoped, by this morning the hole had become shallower, much wider and filled with clear, slowly-flowing water. I cracked a scum of ice and dipped out a mugful…


…brought it home and put that new TDS meter to work at last.


Total Dissolved Solids measured 316 PPM. Not safe for drinking by EPA standards, though…


…it would certainly be better than drinking the tap water that comes from our well. Still, compare that with…


…the filtered water I truck in from town, and have for almost ten years since that very impressive introduction to kidney stones. The well water isn’t actively toxic, but it’s so hard with calcium and iron oxide it almost may as well be. That said, it took a couple of years and some pretty intense dehydration to actually make me sick. But once was enough – and the dehydration came from hot well water being so unpleasant to drink in the first place. So: Say what you will about city services but clean water is good. 🙂

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Testing the Spring Water

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is there any way to filter your water?

  2. Joel says:

    Sure. Be prepared to change expensive cartridges a lot, though. And there’s only so much a filter can do with dissolved solids.

  3. Malatrope says:

    Well, you could use that steam distillery, but the propane would break you. Might be time to experiment: dig a bigger hole in the wash, put a bucket in the middle, cover the hole with a nice pyramid of black plastic with a rock in the middle and see how much it makes in a day.

    Assume you can keep curious cows, dogs, two-legged varmints, wind, and buzzards from dickin’ with it, of course.

  4. Paul B says:

    Sawyer Filters claim to do over 100,000 gallons. not sure if it would work with that kind of solids. Will they settle out if you left some on the shelf and did not move it? River water used to do that. Let it settle then draw of the top and see what you have.

  5. OneGuy says:

    zero water filter will do it.

  6. Terrapod says:

    Well, what is interesting though useless, is that the spring seems to be about half as bad as the well water but still not safe enough. Was worth the experiment.

    Now on to setting up an Australian tank and collecting rain water. In case some are not aware of that term, it is a steel wall, steel bottom open top holding tank. Typically made of flat or corrugated hot galvanized steel curved segments in about a 20 ft diameter and 5 or 6 ft high. Run all the rain water off gutters or collection tarps into it. Will have much less dissolved solids but you deal with all the bird and dust issues. As a young lad used to go swimming in one on a hot summer day, amazingly, occasional small frogs would appear. All I could think of is some bird dropped his lunch and it escaped to the bottom of the tank. if with fertilized eggs on it, presto, tadpoles and more frogs.
    We used it for irrigation and animal watering but could be consumed after boiling or filtration.

  7. Jason Hamilton says:

    Joel, I’ve been following you for years and see multiple posts about your water quality. I’m a territory manager and problem water specialist down in south Texas dealing with numbers much higher than yours. I’d be happy to offer some advice. 300-400 ppm is actually not that bad and you might be able to utilize it.

To the stake with the heretic!