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Letter to the editor – Water for all our domestic needs.

It seems to me no matter how much it rains or where ever else the island procures its water there are always going to be shortages.

I moved here in 2005 and bought a newly constructed villa with its own private water well. The villa is 400m from the sea on the islands west coast. There was also a government supply to the property and being so cheap by UK standards I used the government supply for a number of years whilst the well was used to water the garden or top up the swimming pool. Over recent times we have seen serious water shortages on the island and even though water now comes from the mainland it remains little more than a brackish trickle during times of high demand.

Therefore, I decided to use our well as our primary source for domestic and drinking water. The first thing I noticed was the lack of information available locally. The main advertiser claiming to be an expert on deep wells dose not answer their website Emails and puts the phone down on foreigners. I did eventually find locals who could clean out the well and sanitise it but their charges were frankly outrageous for the work involved. So I decided to do the work myself and share my experience with others, just about everything you need can be bought on the island and all the information required is freely available on the Internet, particularly YouTube.

My particular well is 75mm diameter blue PVC pipe 10M deep with 6M depth of water, the first thing I had to do was remove a metre or more of bottom vegetation and debris which had accumulated over the years. With a lance made from ordinary PVC blue water pipe sufficiently long enough to reach the bottom I fashioned a grappling hook from wire to one end and soon cleared out the main rubbish. Using the same 40mm blue pipe, I introduced a small diameter (5mm ID) air pipe at the lower end and taped it to the main pipe with duct tape to form and basic simple air lift and connected it to my small air compressor. With a 10M deep well I required a little over 1 bar or 15psi in order to overcome the water pressure at the bottom of the well and very little air volume is necessary. The idea is by intruding air into the bottom of the 40mm pipe it will return to the surface reducing the density of the water and carry the debris with it. With the 40mm pipe at the bottom of the well and an elbow at the surface plus a short length of extra pipe to discharge to waste, I switched on my 7cfm compressor and in a little over two hours I had clean water discharged at the surface. The next problem was to rid the water of the “Rotten Egg” smell (Hydrogen Sulfide) created by a harmless water borne bacteria. To do this simply calculate the volume of water in the well (Pie X D x H). Then add sufficient domestic bleach to raise the chlorine level in the well water to 200ppm to “Shock It “and then leave overnight, I used Haiter Blue Bleach which contains no perfume agent. This didn’t work for me the first time so I worked on the bases that you cannot “Over Shock” your swimming pool and therefore the same would apply to water in the well and I actually added 10L or four blue containers of Haiter bleach. I ran the well pump for about an hour with a hose pipe into the well to mix the bleach evenly and sanitise the well walls at the same time. After 24 hours I ran the water to waste (do not discharge into your septic tank), until I could no longer smell bleach and then double checked using the swimming pool chlorine tester. The water ran crystal clear and sweet, pumped from the well head to a spin down pre-sediment water filter to remove any sand or grit followed by a 20 x 4.5inch 5 micron spun polyester sediment filter to feed two 750L above ground storage tanks. Water enters the first tank which is linked to the second tank by a balance pipe 30cm from the bottom to allow any remaining sediment missed by the primary filters to settle out. Water is the drawn from the second storage tank by a continuous flow domestic pump through two 20 x 4.5inch 1 micron spun polyester filters in series and enters the villa. A water level switch starts the well head pump when the storage tanks are half full and a water level float gauge confirms all is well. I have also installed a drinking water filter system with block carbon to resin to ceramic to a further block carbon and final UV lamp to destroy any remaining bacteria. We consume around 1,000L per day which the system has handled for the past two years without a problem. Hope you find this article helpful, you can contact me by Email gingermarks66@yahoo.com for additional help if required.

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