underground water.. SAFE TO DRINK?

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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,738
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Florida
No, we call wells wells and boreholes boreholes :)

Our borehole is only about 8" diameter bore IIRC - big enough for the pump to be lowered into, and 300 feet deep. It was drilled out. The well up the road that I have extraction rights for is about 36" diameter and was dug by hand a long time ago and water rises to within a few feet of the top.
No, your reply wasn’t catty.

We’ve had several types here over time. The really old ones from the 1800s and before were dug by hand and we’re about 3 or 4 feet in diameter and water was drawn by a wooden bucket. The next wells from the early 20th century were drilled and were about 8 inches diameter as you describe, lined with a concrete culvert, and water was still drawn with a cylindrical metal well bucket on a rope such as I described. These were still common when I was a kid: we had one on our farm. Some people still have them


Also about the turn of the 20th century smaller wells were becoming common that were drilled about 2 to 3 inches in diameter and fitted with a hand pump. The downside of these were that they had to be primed before use every time you wanted to draw water. Several of my family and friends still had these when I was a kid for alternate water sources during power outages. A lot of people still do:


Then around the1920s when electricity became commonplace there was a shift to electric pumps still on top of the same drilled 2 or 3 inch diameter wells the hand pump had used. They just needed the pump and aa water tank (usually about a 35 to 50 gallon capacity) hooked up to the household plumping. These were later replaced in the 1970s with more modern jet pumps that no longer needed a tank. Loads of people still use the jet pumps and wells as their primary water Source.

Lastly there’s everybody’s dream: an artesian well. Water flowing from a faraway underground reservation thousands of years old. There were three small ones of these in the village where I grew up. Before I started 1st grade two,of them had dried up (after about 200 years of flow) The last one was across the road from us in my Great Aunt’s front yard and after Hurricane Camille left most of the state without electricity in 1969 there was a line there to get water 24 hours a day for weeks until power was finally restored. It also finally dried up earlier this century.

Here’s a modern one with a tap (all of ours always just ran free)
 
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SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
642
394
Ceredigion
No, your reply wasn’t catty.

We’ve had several types here over time. The really old ones from the 1800s and before were dug by hand and we’re about 3 or 4 feet in diameter and water was drawn by a wooden bucket. The next wells from the early 20th century were drilled and were about 8 inches diameter as you describe, lined with a concrete culvert, and water was still drawn with a cylindrical metal well bucket on a rope such as I described. These were still common when I was a kid: we had one on our farm. Some people still have them


Also about the turn of the 20th century smaller wells were becoming common that were drilled about 2 to 3 inches in diameter and fitted with a hand pump. The downside of these were that they had to be primed before use every time you wanted to draw water. Several of my family and friends still had these when I was a kid for alternate water sources during power outages. A lot of people still do:


Then around the1920s when electricity became commonplace there was a shift to electric pumps still on top of the same drilled 2 or 3 inch diameter wells the hand pump had used. They just needed the pump and aa water tank (usually about a 35 to 50 gallon capacity) hooked up to the household plumping. These were later replaced in the 1970s with more modern jet pumps that no longer needed a tank. Loads of people still use the jet pumps and wells as their primary water Source.

Lastly there’s everybody’s dream: an artesian well. Water flowing from a faraway underground reservation thousands of years old. There were three small ones of these in the village where I grew up. Before I started 1st grade two,of them had dried up (after about 200 years of flow) The last one was across the road from us in my Great Aunt’s front yard and after Hurricane Camille left most of the state without electricity in 1969 there was a line there to get water 24 hours a day for weeks until power was finally restored. It also finally dried up earlier this century.

Here’s a modern one with a tap (all of ours always just ran free)
You still get plenty of bacteria in those waters, just mainly non-pathogenic ones. ;)
 
Sep 8, 2020
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the world
Ah, so someone found the spring previously. (its a natural outburst rather than a dug thing? Though in many places what isa spring will be marked `Well` meaning its probably been given an artificial basin.)

As I suspected.

Have you got a local map?

In GB we have several good mapping systems you can zoom in right tight; have you examined those yet?

(On the GB map a spring will be marked `Rises`)
Sadly here there is not a map that highlights springs or things like that, I think it was used many many years ago to water vegetables because in the area there is terracing, that was used to grow vegetables. Because it's on a hill and there is no natural flat surface.
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,102
575
48
Wiltshire
That makes sense.

Surley you have maps online you can check? Here in GB we have very good maps.

And, of course the geology
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,738
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You still get plenty of bacteria in those waters, just mainly non-pathogenic ones. ;)
No doubt. Look upthread at what’s been said about local immunity. That said, the deeper the well, the less likely that is. Bacteria only thrive in the first few inches of topsoil.
 
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SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
642
394
Ceredigion
No doubt. Look upthread at what’s been said about local immunity. That said, the deeper the well, the less likely that is. Bacteria only thrive in the first few inches of topsoil.
No, even old, deep groundwater has plenty of bacteria living in it. Most bacteria found in nature do not cause disease and even if they do you need to take on enough to cause a problem (different amounts needed for different bacteria). Of course, bacterial activity in groundwater aquifers may change the water chemistry in a way that's not helpful to us, even if there aren't enough bacteria in the water to cause a problem in of itself.
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,337
565
Vantaa, Finland
Apparently fairly ordinary bacteria live some hundreds of meters deep and some strange ones down to 3 km. Most common reason for not using bore hole wells here are too much Fe and/or Mn. I don't think I have ever heard of ground water bacterial contamination here, chemical every now and then, some very nasty. Our geology is very different from the Misty Isles though.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,738
1,000
64
Florida
Apparently fairly ordinary bacteria live some hundreds of meters deep and some strange ones down to 3 km. Most common reason for not using bore hole wells here are too much Fe and/or Mn. I don't think I have ever heard of ground water bacterial contamination here, chemical every now and then, some very nasty. Our geology is very different from the Misty Isles though.
I’m one of the luckiest in the US: my groundwater comes from the Florida Aquifer and is among the best in the country. To be honest most of the country has foot groundwater. Only the Southwest has a high alkaline content.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,650
McBride, BC
Looking out my kitchen window, I can point out the mountain across the valley
where our water comes from Dominion Creek. It tastes pretty good. Alpine snow melt.
Plus, last night's whopper snowfall up top. Winter is tuning up.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,081
785
Berlin
In my experiance and opinion it is a question of training.

My father was an engineer in the Berlin water supply works but a very experianced hiker as well and a passionated swimmer too. He hiked and travelled around everywhere in Europe all his life used to swim in every lake he came along and I did that too.

He told me to look in the map if there is a house above at the little stream, if not we could drink it without any treatment. Water from every spring we could drink.

I asked him about lakes. He asked me back how often I got lake water in the mouth and did swallow it.

It's your body and your own responsibility, but I drink the cleanest water I can find and always without treatment, if it's just a bit.

If I camp for longer times at a lake I boil the water.

Of course I don't drink from obviously dirty water and not from real rivers in crowded countries.

But in the last 50 years I didn't get any problems. I think, because my body was always used to the in Europe existing bacteria.

I know scout groups which drunk untreated water from a stream and a few became sick a bit but the older ones who had travelled around more than the younger ones hadn't any problems.
It's obviously a question of training.

I think you can drink from this old water source, especially if you grew up in this area.
Roughly you can imagine that the grandparents of your friends were drinking out of it regularly if not your own forefathers.
 
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