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Water Usage Question

Post in 'The Green Room' started by ChrisN, May 31, 2006.

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  1. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    Here's a question my wife asked me that stopped me in my tracks, and I'm hoping someone here might have some insight. We are on a well and septic system here, and were discussing water conservation practices for our vegetable garden. I was thinking of burying perforated coffee cans next to each of the tomato plants and filling the cans to water the tomatoes instead of willy-nilly watering the whole garden area. Our well is pretty deep, about 400' and we have never had any water flow problems. Anyway, my wife asked what happens to the excess water we might happen to use in the garden. We agreed that in this case most of that excess water is lost to evaporation. But, that got me thinking, what about our septic system water? That is lots of waste water that is leached out through the leach field and is it lost to us, or does it eventually refill our aquifer? I'm sure that the local geological formations have lots to do with things, but it would sure make me feel better when my teenage sons are taking their "water therapy' sessions in the shower, if I knew that water would eventually find it's way back into our well.

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The town next to mine is on sewer. their sewer is piped a couple of towns away to a sewer treatment facility. What no one figured out that all that water leaves the town and is not re charging their acquifers. they are in direr straits with their water situation and want to purchase water from our town. Re refused as that water will not recharge us To answer your question around about but your water does re charge the acqufier and eventually will make it back to your well. I'm on a well and for years set up rain barrells to collect water for my garden then, I place a pump in them and water the garden
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Top watering is not the best for the vegetable garden. It can encourage mildew, etc. and a lot of the water is lost to evaporation. We're on a water system with expensive water, yet have extensive gardens. If you want to conserve water and are lazy like me, install drip irrigation. It's easy and works. We tried lots of schemes like soaker hoses (don't work, after a year algae clogs the pores), sprinklers etc. Then finally switched to drip irrigation about 8 years ago. Much of the original systems are still in place. We love it and are about to expand the system. A good place to shop is:
    http://www.dripworksusa.com/
  4. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    "top watering" loses a large fraction to evaporation - much of it while in the air on the way down. And BeGreen's point about mildew is relevant. WRT your septic, most of the water from the septic goes back into a groundwater system, but if your well is 400 ft deep, it's likely not the same acquifer you're drawing from. Not necessarily a bad thing, recycling water too quickly isn't a great idea. But a significant fraction (up to 30%) of the water is also lost to ET from whatever vegetation is over the leach field. Like the saying goes "The grass is always greener over the septic tank" but for two reasons: 1) nutrients, and 2) water.

    Personally I'm partial to 'flood irrigation,' meaning I plant such that the plants have a small berm a couple inches high around them to retain water. every 3 or 4 dry days in the summer I go out and fill the depressions. They drain pretty quick, but do basically the same thing your coffee can idea would do.

    Steve
  5. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i used the same thing for my garden at the last house. i had (2) 60 gal barrels and watered every other day. or after a rain i'd skip a day worked well had the best garden in the hood. 10 foot tall cherry tomato plants
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I may find another use for the rain barrels. Containers for Veggie oil. Right now I am looking into obtaining a Diesel engine to fit into my 1998 Izzsu PK. Back in the 80's Izzsu made one of the best small diesel engines I do not mind if I have to rebuild it. but I also have to figure out parts availability. and how much works is required to retro fit into my current truck. Which is really a Chevy S10 It may not be able to fit or interface with the current setup. One thing that hints it would work, is the same gas 2.2 engine was also in the 80's Pks. I have a little research to do but thinking about it
  7. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    If you're willing to row your own gears, you can fit pretty much any carburettor based engine short of a bigblock into an S10.

    The really expensive part could be the electricals and controls - might have been EFI.

    Steve
  8. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    well......most groundwater has a much stronger horizontal flow component than a vertical flow component, although you can have some osmotic flow in any direction, but thats mostly ionic and chemical flow....which is why it usually isnt a good idea to use herbicide/pesticide right near a well. Your water is deep, so its unlikely that your sons "water therapy" showers are going to end up in the tap anytime soon, but if a neighbor has a shallow well, might be another matter. There is a much stronger vertical flow component to surface water (shallow wells), than artesian wells (deep). Have you ever had your water tested? We tested many smaples in college, and it was quite interesting what was in some of our drinking water (used a spectrometer).
  9. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Elkimmeg, your conversion can be done! I happened to run into a gent while camping. He was going by my campsite in a Chevy s-10. I heard the engine as he passed by. He saw me looking, then noticed my Dodge diesel. He stopped, hopped out and said, "it's got an Isuzu diesel in it!" I guess he noticed the look on my face that said "he either has a diesel in that thing or he is about to throw a rod".

    He popped the hood, it was naturally aspirated and claimed mileage in the 40's. We talked a little about fitting a turbo in it, but otherwise, it was a nice clean install. Sorry, we did not discuss computers and such, but, I believe there are aftermarket computers to use for the idiot lights and such. You could always just go with mechanical gauges, and if you run a stick, your golden. If an auto, then stick with a pure hydraulic controlled tranny, or once again, there are after market computors to provide electronic control for the auto trans. It can be rough on torque convertor as the diesel does not generate allot of RPM's, so pressures in the trany run a little low, and most of your smaller autos just can't handle the torque that a diesel puts out (at least a stock auto can't).

    He used custom motor mounts, but nothing fancy, I think it was mounts from the donor vehicle welded to the original s-10 mounts (slight mod to it).

    Suspension should be OK, as these engines are not all that heavy, and I think the s-10 was able to have a v-6 in it.

    The engine control is simple. A starter, and a fuel solenoid. The fuel solenoid is the only way a diesel will run or shut off. To shut down a diesel, you stop the fuel going to it. No other way as they don't use electricity or spark plugs. The solenoid is incorporated in the starting circuit, it opens flow of fuel at cranking, stays open during run circuit, closes when turning the key off. So piece of cake there.

    The isuzu engine is an excellent engine. Parts are not that tough to get especially with the internet making the world smaller. I like your choice. The early VW engines just don't have the power, and the newer ones have too much electrics-big hassle. The only other engine I might consider besides the isuzu is a perkins, and that is making the project even tougher. Cummins has a nice 4bt engine, but that one is gonna be heavy, but still might work. Not sure, but worth a look.

    This sounds like a fun project and I hope you pursue it further. I was considering something similiar in maybe a Jeep. Wish you the best of luck with it. Sure would like to hear about your progress from time to time. KD
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Part of the decision has to be weighed is down time. This is my everyday work truck though, I do have a 1992 GMC x/x 3/4 ton pk but milage in that sucks like 9 mpgs with loaded tool boxes.
    My Isuzu is a 1998 Decent shape only 80k on it. Best to start on a decent platform and cost wise one has to get atleast 3 more years use. The down side its an Automatic. I wonder about converting to a stick. First step, will be finding an Isuzu 4 cyl desiel
    engine then posibly a standard Trans. This is not going to go over big with the wife. I mean she was dead against my purchasing the truck 2.5 years ago I paid $3000. The price of gas if still using the 3/4/ ton pk everyday has already paid for the Isuzu

    What do you think about using a late 80's automatic trans the hydrolic type and eliiminate the computer controls.
    I noticed most desiels have a larger diameter exhaust systems. Is this back pressure issue. In keeping in the theme of thinge Can I reduce the cross-sectional area of the exhaust. I will not need the cat in a desiel? Maybe I should do it and have the truck detailed
    coming fron the green room Hearth.com. A project truck. Got to locate an engine and posibly rebuild if need be. Got to convince my wife about the truck and processing Veggie oil. When it becomes vogue she will bragg about how she and I saw it comming and how enviormently friendly we are. that's the hardest obsticle, Mechanics I can handle
  11. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Hey Elk, here's a different angle - drop an american diesel into the 3/4 ton. Look at it this way - if you assume 10K/yr (you're splitting use between the vehicles) the GMC @ 9mpg takes about 1100 gallons of gas (at $3/gal!!!). upgrade that to a readily available american diesel or turbo diesel and 1) probably double your mileage, cutting gas cost by 50% (savings on fuel of 1650 or so per year.)

    Do the same thing in the S10, bump that from 20 to 40mpg, and save yourself 250 gal/yr, or about $750.

    The GMC is probably a better candidate too because it already has the saddle tanks - one for veggie, one for petro. Just got to run some soft copper to patch one tank into the heat from the rad.

    Steve
  12. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    Steve, Thanks for the berm suggestion. I did that yesterday and it seems to work pretty well, at least it concentrates the water where I need it with a very low-tech input. Begreen, I may invest in a modified drip system next year for portions of the garden, ( beans, cukes, squashes, garlic, potatoes herbs). Harry thanks for the quick primer on groundwater transport. I took one class in college on this combined with chemical transport in groundwater. Extremely complicated science to say the least. the good news for my well is that there are several hundred homes within about a mile of me at a higher elevation. All of them have a well / septic system, so I hoping I am reusing their water at my place. When I first drilled my well 5 years ago it actually overflowed for the first year. The overflow pipe is tied into my house curtain drain system, it was cool to have a spring in my yard. Lately I only get overflow in the spring, after the snow melt, or after several inches of rain in a short period. I'm pretty sure this runoff is coming from the curtain drain and not from the well.

    Regards, Chris
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Chris sorry to hyjack your thread But septic water does return to your ground but not directly into your well This is good eventually some will get into the sub terainian deeper water supply.

    Why not just buy a used desiel 3/4/ 4x4 pk truck probably cheaper than retro fitting I haver replaced about everything possible in this 1992 Trans twice fuel tank Front end p starters you name it all but the actual motor has been replaced It is worth this much only to me It owns me the other smaller truck was to extend this one usable life and to get better gas milage. I plow with this truck it has seen some real use ie 2 transmissions and front ends.

    Tthe appealing idea is to get a light truck desiel which is not offered in USA boost 27 mpgs to 40 and use biodeisel. Forget the other truck it is used for heavy hauling staginge fire wood and plowing I drive short distances once a week. My biggest expense staring me down, is a new oil burner. That will probably uses up any funds to play desiel games with trucks But I could get an engine rebuild it and piece things together over a period of time. I have to think all things threw and factor in the differculties and monies. I saw a 1989 Izusu diesel pk just sold in RI for $1800 only 94 k miles. My biggest concern is the wife factor. $1800 my price, buys a Uitica or Burnham boiler
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good plan Don. Isuzu diesels are legendary for durability and longevity.
  15. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Elkimmeg, I understand your plan with slowly easing into the diesel thing.

    In the meantime, learn how to make bio and use it in the furnace.

    Here are a few links that will probably lead you to others on the conversion idea:

    http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/ISUZUTD/

    http://www.isuzupup.com/forum/

    http://www.dieseltrooper.blogspot.com/

    http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/frm/f/869108403

    As far as the conversion, a stick would keep it simple, but I see no reason why a hydraulic only auto trans would not work, other than mentioned earlier. The exhaust systems on diesels are larger because they move allot more air (remember an engine is really just a pump).

    Also consider that diesels have higher compression when compared to a gasser. This higher compression means the engine needs to be built more robust. An engine that is built more robust, lasts longer. So when shopping for an engine, do not shy away from one that has higher miles on it. 100,000 is not allot for a diesel. As a matter of fact, my Cummins is rated for a service life of 500,000 miles (rated by Cummins). But I need to add that the 5.9 Cummins in the Dodge is rated as a "medium Duty Diesel" where most pick up truck diesel engines like ford and chevy are rated as "Light Duty Diesel" engine. (sorry all you ford and chevy guys) and I think the service life for them is 200,000. Not sure about the ratings for the Isuzu, or for the smaller 4 bangers.

    Elininating the computor controls can be done, but, your on board computor does more than control the engine and tranny. They are integrated with all the engine sensors, the idiot lights, the climate control, power locks, seats, etc. Depends on the make and model of the vehicle. Heck, I can control at what speed my door locks activate from the same computor that controls the engine. Everything, right down to the temperature of the trans fluid, to the temperature of the interior is controlled by that computor, so be aware of that (this is based on a 2005 VWTDI Passat).

    Hopefully those links will provide you with the needed info. KD
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