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Thread: Cost efficient off grid water

  1. #1
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    Cost efficient off grid water

    Like many who first go off grid i used to haul water. You know when you are doing this you need to find a better solution..

    Bore holes are expensive, they require high power pumps to draw water from 10-100s meters below.

    Wells are also expensive to make and maintain. Water quality may need further work for drinking...

    Same for streams and so on.. so what's a person to do?

    I opted to go for rain water collection. I then use two sets of water filters ( white sterasyl doulton brand first and black berry filters for 2nd stage ).

    I modified my stainless berkey filter to make the collector chamber the 2nd stage ( just drilled two holes)

    I use a food grade 45l tube with a lid and seal to collect the water.

    This 45 litre tub has a whale 12v pump in inside to allow the 2nd stage water to be pumped out at the sink tap.

    The rain water enters the system via toilet style ball cock valve so the filter gets as much water as it can cope with.

    The system produces around 20L of clean drinking water a day

    I have two of these setups use this water for cooking cleaning and showering too.

    I have added a Google photo album with a few snaps of anyone is interested.

    Did you create a cheapish off grid water source clean enough to drink from ? Please share.

    I hope this might encourage others . Off gridding isn't easy but it's very satisfying
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    Oh I forgot to mention i store around 4000L of rain water in 4 x 1000L IBC containers, its usually full from a decent day or twos downpour

    We can however go for 4 months without rain, so im increasing that to 10000 L soon ...
    Last edited by schatje; 20-03--2017 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Link fix
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  2. #2
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Looks cool...you certainly get through a lot of water
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    I cant have off-grid water system as i dont have my own property or house but if i did i think id opt to pump the water direct from large holding tank with a pressure sensed pump to an in house 7 stage reverse osmosis filter system to serve drinking and shower/cleaning cooking needs.Ive tried all kinds of systems years ago including my own gravel and sand filter bed system and quite honestly it drove me nuts keeping it maintained and safe.Im all for the simple is best version now
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    Heavenly Creature Shroom's Avatar
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    10k litres to last 4 months sounds good but surely some amount of chlorination or ar least aeration and/or constant flow is required in water standing for that long ?

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    I have the IBC's covered in black plastic sheet, and on the non sunny side of the house. The main problem i have experienced is water becoming green with algae when left in sunlight

    Its constantly being drained, but not cycled, i did think about leaving a solar pump on ( during daylight hours ) to keep the water moving, but as it happens, im pretty much using it as it comes out of the filter

    I have not had any problems so far, i clean the filters and refit them each 3 months, i do appreciate that i may not be doing things correctly .. but hopefully safely.

    Any opinions on aeration or cycling ?

    I didnt think clean water required it, i thought that was just for fish / water living things.

  5. #5
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    The problem with agitating standing tank water is youre going to keep disturbing the crap that normally settles in the bottom of the tank,ideally you want to take the clearer water from the upper part of the tank and leave the more murky stuff settled at the bottom.Rotating and cleaning the tanks out regularly.If youre agitating or circulating the water in the tanks then you need some kind of filtration in the circulation.If youve enough electric power.have you thought about a swimming pool sand filter like this



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    I assume the water is going straight from rooftop to tank ? which if so will be taking a lot of dirt and algal matter into the tank plus any bird droppings.Unless youve got some kind of sand gravel filter to filter water going into the tank its going to be a bit murky anyway.
    The danger with standing stored water that gets warm is the risk of rapid bacteria growth of things like legionella,listeria,pseudomonas,coccidia ,all common bacteria found in soil and water outdoors naturally and all will make you very ill.Although covering the tanks in black plastic may stop some algal growth its perfect for absorbing the suns heat and warming the water which means perfect warm medium for growing bacteria.
    For your own safety id look at sorting out the standing water situation ie a filtered circulation or treating the water with purification tablets regularly.

    I do occasionally use rainwater myself but its never sat stored in tanks for long and i use a family size 'lifestraw' filter system so personally i dont have to worry about the standing wster quality too much.
    Last edited by NomadicRT; 20-03--2017 at 02:40 PM.
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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Rain water is my only water source and as you'd expect I've got a simple system 3 x 1000l tanks on block piers in the shade double bubble foil wrapped two stage sieve shade netting first lady's tights second and I boil and cool drinking water in the summer,I know from dabbling with koi filters that you can eliminate green water by ultviolet light it clumps the algae up so it can be caught in filter media if you live somewhere with reliable solar it should be doable.
    just a simple guy
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    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Yes where i was before i just had a 114 ltr plastic rainwater butt in the shade and used this

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    I was lucky it stayed chrystal clear and no algae.The place before everything went green in a week and slugs used to get in the barrel....I use bottled water at present.
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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    That looks good what the hell is it?
    just a simple guy

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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    Another thing I do is every now and then i Hoover out any sludge in the tanks by siphoning from the bottom of the tanks with tubing I've cut the tops out of the tanks to make this easier.
    just a simple guy

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    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Offgrid hero
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    That looks good what the hell is it?
    Lifestraw..the 'family' model pour the water in the hopper and pump into a jug



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    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Offgrid hero
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    Another thing I do is every now and then i Hoover out any sludge in the tanks by siphoning from the bottom of the tanks with tubing I've cut the tops out of the tanks to make this easier.
    I used to get the pressure washer in mine now and again.Drop some chlorine tablets in to keep nasties away too.
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    Love's the shire Offgrid hero's Avatar
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    What they do in mosquito prone areas is keep little fish in their tanks to eat the larvae genius.
    just a simple guy

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    An old fella that worked at a nearby army camp used to come into our pet shop for fish food to feed the carp/goldfish that were in the water tower there.....kept there to eat lavae.

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    That life straw is more or less the same thing as the sterasyl or berkey filters? But the candle filters tend to last longer and filter quicker?

    I saw a demo of the berkey filter separating food dye out of water. I must get a test kit and see how clean / pure the results are. It's as clear as and tastes fine but that doesn't say much

    I think im going to go for the recirculate and filter method to avoid it standing, a simple small solar panel and day time (sun time) only should be fine, esp in winter when there is more water coming in.
    Last edited by schatje; 20-03--2017 at 07:07 PM. Reason: updated

  15. #15
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    I think theyre similar filters but Stearasyl Berkefield are gravity fed as are some if the lifestraw filters (some are suction) l.The reverse osmosis filters are usual pressure fed via their own pump so you can use them even if the water supply itself is low pressure and will on average filter 100 gallins a day.You can get them from 2 to 10 stage and will deal with gram negative bacteria and hard water or chemicals.
    Personally having been ill from bad water its the option id use and what i fitted a few yesrs ago to my house (when i had one) as it was on a borehole supply.
    Public heslth labs used to provide water analysis service but now they work for NHS and government departments but these people ive used do water testing and can supply DIY test kits for metals or bacteria or advise on testing.There are others.


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    Very good of you NomadicRT, thanks !
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    Not Quite a Noobie greenertech's Avatar
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    I have a rainwater harvesting system at my cottage in Ireland. I filter the water for general use but for drinking water I first boil then use a purification tablet and finally put through a berkefeld filter

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    Green around the gills ThreeMoons's Avatar
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    Like you I used to haul my water - I tell you fifty litres of water at a time up a hill in 40 degree heat was a bit challenging on times!
    Now I've got a rain water collection system totalling around 20,000 litres. I don't bother filtering mine I sort of pour it, look at it and drink it, with the exception of around june to october as I chlorinate it a little and I dont like the smell or taste. Then I'm back at the local spring filling up a couple of 5 litre containers which are a hell of a lot easier to carry! I'm going to take a look at your pics though.
    Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up on your dreams and ideals, wrinkles the soul.
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