Sunday, September 1, 2013

...and not a drop to drink

I've spent the last couple days messing about with water. More exactly, I'm trying to come up with a solution to the problem of not having an easy way to get more water without having to hook up to the TT and haul it into town. The fresh water tank is only 20 gallons, enough to last me 2 weeks if I'm very careful but with the recent heat wave I've wanted to shower more often which means the tank runs out faster.

I'm set up on the acreage I own in southwest Minnesota, and there is a well here but the water is nasty. I had it tested when I first bought the place in 1999 and they said it was safe to drink, but I never have, although I did use it for cooking. It tests at 90 grains of hardness or higher and it's so loaded with iron that the water is orange. When I was still living in the house I ran all the water through the water softener, then through 2 woven filters and 2 charcoal filters. Often you could still smell/taste it, and I never owned any white clothes because washing them once caused them to come out light orange in color.

 Fast forward to this summer. The fresh tank is completely separate from the city water hookup and has a gravity fill on the other side of the camper. I'm thinking if I hook up to the well using the city water inlet and use that for showering, toilet flushing, dish washing etc I won't have to worry about filling the fresh water tank and possibly staining it orange. I drink bottled water anyway, so obtaining drinking quality water is not an issue right now. So I set out to build a water filter system for the well water, with the idea that whatever I build would eventually find a home in the Caboose. This is the mostly finished product:

There's a Rusco Spin Down Sand / Sediment Filter first which will allow me to open the ball valve at the bottom and flush the worst of the sediment out, hopefully extending the life of the other filters.
From there the water passes through 3 GE Clear Whole House Filters , right now there are 2 woven filters and 1 charcoal filter, all rated at 5 microns. Eventually there will be a woven filter, a kdf filter and a charcoal filter. Any or all of the filter housings can be bypassed except for the spin down filter, and the whole assembly can be added or removed using quick-connect fittings. I plan to mount the assembly on a 1x6 and build legs using PVC so it's up off the ground and can be moved easily to keep it in the shade. If it works well it may even be mounted inside the Caboose somewhere to eliminate the sun issue.

Here's the point I'm stuck at tonight. I can't find QC fittings that are rated for potable water. I bought some plastic ones and they leaked like crazy. I replaced them with some metal ones I had on hand that are intended for use with a garden hose and they contain lead so there's no way I would drink the water. Does anyone have an idea where to find potable water quick connects?? If so PLEASE comment and let me know!

In the meantime I'm using regular garden hoses which should be fine for everything other than drinking. Just using the current setup as it is has cleaned up the water immensely. Here's a before pic of the well water, it's actually pretty clean right now. There are periods of very high turbidity where putting this much water in a pail would make it impossible to see the bottom.

And here's after the filters. I'd shower in that.

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