Drawing water from questionable source?

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swimmer_spe

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I live on a lake, and my mind has been thinking about the BC floods and think about my water source. We draw from the lake, and It goes through 2 filters and a UV light. My house is the highest elevation of the ones along the lake, so even if the lake is flooded, our home is good.

It leads me to wonder about our water system.

Let's say what happened in British Columbia happened and the area was inundated with water.
Let's say I had a case of the filters I need for my system. They are simple 30 and 5 micron.
Let's say I have lots of gas for my generator.
Let's say the water did not get high enough to worry about the basement or anything else in the house.

Would the water be safe to drink?
I know that gas and oils and other hydrocarbons will float to the surface..
I know that sediment may be stirred up, but would it be too much for my filters to handle?

In short, what kinds of things would I need to be concerned of, and what kinds of things can I do now, before a potential flood to mitigate the concerns?
Would having a well be better or worse than drawing from the lake?
 

tomtheelder2020

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Would having a well be better or worse than drawing from the lake?
Where would the water in your well come from? To answer that, you might need a hydrogeologist but you should be able to get at least some idea for yourself. If the lake would likely feed the well, the water would likely be at least somewhat better because it would be pre-filtered through the lake bottom soil. However, if that flow is mostly through rock fractures not much filtering would occur. If the well's water originated up slope, it would depend on what contaminant sources are up slope. If anyone in your area has a well, talk to them. Your county almost certainly has staff who deal with groundwater quality - find out who and talk to them. There are likely water well drillers who will claim knowledge of the groundwater, and some are knowledgeable, but it is my experience (37 years as a professional engineering geologist) that most have a lot of certainty in knowledge based on misunderstanding of how groundwater flow works.
 

swimmer_spe

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Where would the water in your well come from? To answer that, you might need a hydrogeologist but you should be able to get at least some idea for yourself. If the lake would likely feed the well, the water would likely be at least somewhat better because it would be pre-filtered through the lake bottom soil. However, if that flow is mostly through rock fractures not much filtering would occur. If the well's water originated up slope, it would depend on what contaminant sources are up slope. If anyone in your area has a well, talk to them. Your county almost certainly has staff who deal with groundwater quality - find out who and talk to them. There are likely water well drillers who will claim knowledge of the groundwater, and some are knowledgeable, but it is my experience (37 years as a professional engineering geologist) that most have a lot of certainty in knowledge based on misunderstanding of how groundwater flow works.
I have talked to my neighbours who both have wells. They are quite deep and are from an aquifer.
 

Guzzle

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I'd do periodic testing by one or more independent labs, maybe once/month, probably forever, with the test results signed by key employees of the labs.

The stakes are high & ill effects may not be noticed until it's too late.

Worse for kids, geezers & pregnant women.

Vigilance is the hidden cost of ownership for your water supply. Probably ours too (we have city water).
 

tomtheelder2020

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I have talked to my neighbours who both have wells. They are quite deep and are from an aquifer.
By definition, all wells draw from an aquifer. Deep is generally better than shallow, from a quality standpoint. However, deep in fractured rock can still be drawing water that was "recently" contaminated in the near-surface. If neighbors have had their well water tested, ask to see lab reports. County water quality staff should be able to give you relevant info.

Cost or other considerations aside, it sounds like a well is very likely the better option for current conditions. In the event of sudden contamination of the lake (if that scenario is realistic) a well is overwhelmingly preferable. Filters and UV are very effective against bacterial contamination, less so against viral, and may do little or nothing against chemicals (unless filters are carbon).

BTW, note that I have general knowledge of hydrogeology and water quality but that is not my area of expertise - hence recommendation you talk to County.
 

Guzzle

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Game Theory says that an independent lab can extract a small bribe from the county to sanitize its report to you. Not that I'm skeptical or cynical. :D

Mr. 202 covered a lot of bases & now I know that wellwater has already had some filtering thru the earth.
 

Eddie_T

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My BIL has a shallow well and constructed a pond slightly up gade and about 50 ft from the well but it did not affect water level in the well.
 

Fireguy5674

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I live in central Illinois. My rural home was on a well when I bought it. The people we bought it from told us they did not drink the water from the well. We hauled drinking water from town for about 5 years. Walmart has an RO system where we could buy bulk water by the 5-gallon jug. The well, by the way, is about 23' deep, hand dug, brick lined and God knows how old.

To get the water to a place where we could drink it, we installed a water softener, a UV light and then only drank water that had gone through an RO filter (Reverse Osmosis). The sample I had tested before those installations showed biological contamination and nitrates among other things. We used those systems, which require constant monitoring and maintenance, until we got water from the local water co-op a year ago. We still use the RO system just because it takes the chlorine out of the water and improves the taste.

Our health department provided water test kits and no cost water testing.

My point is that until you have a water test, you don't know what you are getting. We have nitrates because of fertilizer and animal feed lots. Biologicals because of who knows what in the ground. I know that in years past there was a cattle/hog lot just north of my house around the barn. When they rehabbed my pond, I could smell the cattle when they got down to the original pond bottom. You probably have none of these causes, but who knows what is getting in the lake somewhere. I had a friend who got very sick before she realized that the well she was drinking from at work had arsenic in the water.

Test your water and see what's there even before the flood. In this case ignorance is not bliss.
 

bud16415

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At my old house when I was trying to buy it there was a well test done and it failed. The house had a shallow well and it wouldn’t meet the test demand for flow.

We called in a guy to dig a new well and he said there was blue clay down about 30’ but no aquifer and one needed to be made. We gave him the go ahead and I wasn’t ready for the hole he dug. About 40’ deep and 40’ across. Then he put an 8’ casing in on top of and around 12 tri-axle load of big stone. I had neighbors coming from all sides screaming that I was going to ruin their wells. It was a year later the first neighbor came over and said he was sorry he had run out of water every summer for 40 years and this was the first summer his well stayed full. Little by little the rest told me the same story. That was almost 40 years ago and the well is still doing great. :coffee:
 

Guzzle

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I have not appreciated our city water until now. The politically connected people around here are proly protecting us, without meaning to.

A large lake with only a single pollution source may protect you better.

I guess the ill effects of lead in the water take the longest to detect.
 

Guzzle

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I had neighbors coming from all sides screaming that I was going to ruin their wells. It was a year later the first neighbor came over and said he was sorry he had run out of water every summer for 40 years and this was the first summer his well stayed full. Little by little the rest told me the same story. That was almost 40 years ago and the well is still doing great. :coffee:
So they had no evidence. I guess they assumed with a large well you would also be using thousands of gals/day. The two of us use 200/day.
How did you placate them?

BTW, IIRC, a 1200' well can cost 25 kilobucks.
 
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swimmer_spe

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I live in central Illinois. My rural home was on a well when I bought it. The people we bought it from told us they did not drink the water from the well. We hauled drinking water from town for about 5 years. Walmart has an RO system where we could buy bulk water by the 5-gallon jug. The well, by the way, is about 23' deep, hand dug, brick lined and God knows how old.

To get the water to a place where we could drink it, we installed a water softener, a UV light and then only drank water that had gone through an RO filter (Reverse Osmosis). The sample I had tested before those installations showed biological contamination and nitrates among other things. We used those systems, which require constant monitoring and maintenance, until we got water from the local water co-op a year ago. We still use the RO system just because it takes the chlorine out of the water and improves the taste.

Our health department provided water test kits and no cost water testing.

My point is that until you have a water test, you don't know what you are getting. We have nitrates because of fertilizer and animal feed lots. Biologicals because of who knows what in the ground. I know that in years past there was a cattle/hog lot just north of my house around the barn. When they rehabbed my pond, I could smell the cattle when they got down to the original pond bottom. You probably have none of these causes, but who knows what is getting in the lake somewhere. I had a friend who got very sick before she realized that the well she was drinking from at work had arsenic in the water.

Test your water and see what's there even before the flood. In this case ignorance is not bliss.
We test our water regularly and it is safe. I am more thinking of if floodwaters hit it will it still be safe.
 

Guzzle

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It is recommended to test a GFCI once/month because its makers know how reliable it is. IMO they are made to last 10 years.

Possibly very few people really know how often to check the lake water unless some pollution event is made public.
Public policy governing this cannot think about one person in particular & the polluter may have a lot of pull.

Keep testing. :(
 

swimmer_spe

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It is recommended to test a GFCI once/month because its makers know how reliable it is. IMO they are made to last 10 years.

Possibly very few people really know how often to check the lake water unless some pollution event is made public.
Public policy governing this cannot think about one person in particular & the polluter may have a lot of pull.

Keep testing. :(
I have been told to test in spring and fall as that is when the most changes happen to our lake. Our lake does freeze over; over 2 feet some years.
 

Guzzle

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I have been told to test in spring and fall as that is when the most changes happen to our lake. Our lake does freeze over; over 2 feet some years.
The seasonal changes are predictable, dumping toxins may not be. I don't have a good sense for how often industrial accidents occur upslope of your lake.

Ideally you'd have a device that continually monitors incoming water for common toxins, Rich people probably have them. :)

Maybe someday GFCIs will alarm when they detect their own failure after they do their own self-test.

"Patent US9015003B2
An Anti-Terrorism water quality monitoring system for continuously monitoring a potable water treatment system and related potable water distribution network that provides potable water to a municipality, city, housing development or other potable water consumer. The system includes the collection of data from the water distribution system and from the water treatment facility and from advanced separation processes which are integrated into analytical instruments. The data collected are stored in a remote database on a remote server computer or bank of computers and accessible by Homeland Security or its designated agency. Preferred parameters of monitoring include the turbidity and disinfectant such as chlorine, hypochlorous acid, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, ozone, chlorine dioxide, chloramines, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid."

In this case the "domestic terrorist" is a careless factory.
 
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tomtheelder2020

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Then Dixit & Nalebuff are also delusional. And Wikipedia.
So, you seem to be saying that because Wikipedia has an article describing game theory (the study of mathematical models of strategic interactions among rational agents), every application of game theory, even if delusional, must be accurate? I don’t think it works that way. Similarly with Dixit & Hall.

Please explain how, for the transaction of a lab receiving a well water sample, game theory predicts a likely outcome of the lab proactively approaching a county employee to attempt extraction of a “small bribe.” Please include your mathematical model and explanations of:

  • Why a lab would risk their certification for a small bribe, particularly considering the civil and potentially criminal liability for issuing a fraudulent report.
  • Why a County employee would risk their employment, and potential civil and criminal liability, to hide information that a private well was contaminated.
  • Whether you imagine some reason that the bribe would be from the County employee personally, or would the bribe require criminal conspiracy for misappropriation of county funds, or do your county offices have cash on hand. appropriated for the occasional bribe?
 

Guzzle

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The last few years taught me that I cannot predict what people will do & perhaps no one can.
And they are still doing it.

Please ignore my post.
 
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