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Private Water Supplies in Devon

(11 Posts)
Dig4Victory Tue 08-Mar-16 12:14:44

Hello everyone. I had to ask Mumsnet as you can tell me the unvarnished truth. This is aimed at anyone who lives in Devon who can tell me about boreholes, springs, wells etc as a source of domestic water. We are hoping to move to Devon this summer, my partner is happy with not being on mains gas and drains, but isn't keen on being off the mains water supply, but I think it is a positive advantage. The really nice places that are off the beaten track are on private water. Can anybody who actually lives/has lived in Devon with private water supply give me some information so I can persuade him it isn't the problem he imagines. Treatment costs etc. I have been told the mains water can also be a problem occasionally (?) Any replies gratefully received.

marmiteloversunite Tue 08-Mar-16 12:30:03

I can't imagine there are many places in Devon without mains water. We have a septic tank and a fresh water spring in the garden but we use mains water in the house. Why do you want to use bore holes etc?

Cathpot Tue 08-Mar-16 12:42:35

Hi- im not quite what you need- I'm generally in the SW - not Devon though, and not on private yet , but we are just about to have our well linked to the house system so we have been looking into it. I wasn't convinced and my DH was hugely excited so I've made him do lots of research! It seems to be a good deal in that the treatment systems are straightforward and ensure its safe and you can obviously save a lot of money, our water is on a meter and the bills are high. We are not disconnecting our mains completely irreversibly - there will be a switch put in so we can switch back onto mains if we need to. The water company came and did an analysis of the water for heavy metals and microbes, and a well company came and pumped it out to measure flow rate, and check we can actually run the whole house off it. They will install the pump, cap the well, lay the pipes, and put the treatment stuff in the shed and link is up. I think if you are looking at places to buy who already run off grid for water you need a chat with the homeowner - ask what the flow rate is, if they tested the water, what they treat it for, what the mains pressure is like in the house . I would want to test the water myself or get an up to date test from the owners as there are issues in ex mining areas with metal contamination . My understanding is the treatment equipment comes in sections and you assemble the bits you need depending on what is in the water. It does feel odd stepping off the grid but having been against it for no good reason I can't now come up with any reason not to do it. I would be more daunted by having to sort out a septic tank (although through lack of knowledge again as haven't had one!) and not being able to cook on gas ( or having the faff of constant gas bottle changes which I have had overseas.) . We have a friend who has a little swimming pool which is heated by solar , disinfected by salt system and filled from a well and that's great and would be very expensive if not on private water.

Hopefully someone who actually already uses private water will be along in a bit.

Dig4Victory Tue 08-Mar-16 16:20:03

Thanks for the replies. We've been looking for nearly 6 months for a smallholding type place with a few acres, most of which are in remote locations. Even some of the 'up-market' places in villages have proved to be on private water. Partner has refused to look at about 10 lovely houses because of this, even with virtually new purification systems installed. Oddly once he thought about it, he had no problem with not being on mains gas or sewerage, just got a thing about water. I thought if I could talk him through the pros and cons I might change his mind on this subject too, and we might get to Devon by the end of this summer.

Cathpot Tue 08-Mar-16 16:26:45

That is odd! Could you at least get him to agree to hear out the details of the water situation on a property before it gets written off?!

specialsubject Tue 08-Mar-16 17:17:33

off-grid water is a lot more hassle than using a septic tank or running heating from oil/LPG, so I can see his point.

septic tank use is just the same as correct use of mains drainage. Nothing down toilets except body waste and bog roll, and no chucking bleach down. If the tank needs emptying, not a big deal.

oil is currently the cheapest form of heating although that can change of course.

BTW if you are off mains gas, do what 90% of us do and install an LPG hob (unrelated to your main heating system). A 19kg bottle lasts us 10 months and we are home a lot. Not exactly 'constant' changes.

Bitofeverything Wed 09-Mar-16 00:10:43

My parents' house in middle of nowhere in Dartmoor is off the grid. Their water comes off a spring and there has never been a problem, even at height of summer. Some of the neighbours have boreholes. It is pretty normal for a lot of houses on the moor...

Dig4Victory Wed 09-Mar-16 11:24:02

Thanks for the replies. Googling around I found various reports of Cryptosporidium and E.Coli even being found in mains tap water (very rarely). I know if you have children under 10yrs (we don't) spring/borehole water isn't recommended unless you have filters and UV lights, but provided you have it tested regularly I can't see it being a problem.

Cathpot Wed 09-Mar-16 11:37:29

Chatting to the man who tested our well water about bacteria he said its all a bit irrelevant as if you put a UV filter module on as standard, then whatever I find in the well will be removed before it gets to you anyway. I personally wouldn't be happy to just test at intervals, and the uv treatment will be the thing that gives me the confidence to drink it - but again that's just my opinion.

CrossfireHurricane Wed 09-Mar-16 11:44:03

My grandparents had a well unee their house and it only went dry once.
The cleanest, coolest water I have ever tasted.
I can understand some reluctance on depending on your own water supply but in lots of rural areas you are off grid for mains services.All part of the fun!

Dig4Victory Wed 09-Mar-16 12:02:51

Absolutely, would have a filtration and UV station if not already fitted, just for peace of mind. Testing only legally needs to be done every 5 years for domestic use, unless you are running a B & B/restaurant, which we are not. So, I can't see a problem, I will try and broach the subject with him again as it seems ridiculous to pass up suitable places when he perceives a problem that is not insurmountable anyway. Thanks ladies.

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