Cottage Well Water Systems and your Water Supply

The properties that you look at will have different cottage well water systems. Year round properties may have a drilled well, or an older dug well is a possibility. Many use a lake source water supply for everyday use.

If you want a property that has a well and a septic system, it is important to do a detailed inspection of the systems prior to completing the purchase.

Cottage by the Lake

Your offer to purchase should contain a clause for an acceptable water test, or testing for the water potability. Bacteriological testing of the water is collected by the local health unit to be sent away for testing to a certified lab. All samples should be refrigerated immediately and transported to the lab within 24 hours.

You should understand the differences and the maintenance required on the system. If you are used to being on a municipal supply, your cottage water will be provided from somewhere in your surrounding environment.

As the proud new owner of a rural cottage water system you are now responsible for the maintenance and repair.

A malfunctioning system can not only pose an inconvenience but can be extremely costly to repair.

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Well Water Systems in cottage country

There are three common types dug, drilled and bored.

Dug and Bored wells are shallow well water systems that have a water source or water table (aquifer) that is near to the surface.

The most common form of supplying water from the well to the cottage is by a jet pump. The jet pump can be mounted in the cottage or home or in a pump house.

Very simply, they perform similar to the action of a straw. When you suck on a straw the negative pressure above the liquid pulls the liquid up, the air pressure, or atmospheric pressure continues pushing the water up the straw.

These pumps draw water with water, in the pumping action. This therefore requires the lines to be 'primed', or filled with water before they will work. If a pump loses it's 'prime' it will not pump anymore water until this is addressed. To stop the water from flowing back down into the well a one-way check valve is installed on the feeder line.

Dug and Bored wells are usually less than 50 feet in depth and can become contaminated from ground water. In dry summers they can also be susceptible to water shortages.

Drilled Wells

These well water systems are used to connect to deep water supplies, sometimes over 200' in depth. They cost more to construct but generally provide a much more reliable and safe supply of drinking water. Water is usually pumped by a submersible pump but may be by a jet pump or centrifugal pump as above.

The following are the basic components of a drilled well:

Well Casing- usually a steel walled liner into the well hole, a well cap 12-6' above the ground.

The Pumping System-the submersible pump will be inside the well casing. This system pushes the water up to the property rather that the drawing methods of the jet pump. The water in this system is held by a foot valve rather than the one-way check valve. Water supply piping to the cottage or home maybe buried below the frost line to ensure no winter freezing.

A pressure tank will be located inside the cottage or home, its purpose is to create and maintain water pressure.

Lake Source Water

A Older Boathouse

Many cottage properties use Lake Source water for their everyday supplies. This should not be used as drinking water.

The water may look and taste clean but it may contain microorganisms which may make you sick. The most common problem is called "Beaver Fever" , from animal or human feces, this creates a pathogen which causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and other fun stuff.

It is possible to treat the water to take care of this though several methods.

Boiling- grandpas remedy, if he bothered to do it at all!

Some others include iodine( yuck), filters, ultraviolet light, chlorine dioxide and chlorine tablets.

The most common water treatment systems you will find in cottage country include home water filtration systems or home water purification systems and ultraviolet water systems.

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Water supplied to the property like this will be on a jet pump system with a long feeder line into the lake. These systems will have to be drained in the fall, but there are heating systems to extend the use of the season.

You defiantly should consider having the all of the well water systems thoroughly inspected during your due diligence of the property.

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