View Full Version : how do i harness a natural spring?

Jul. 16, 2010, 07:49 PM
seems as if it should be simple, but i'm afraid of screwing it up. the water just bubbles out of the ground a few feet from the front of the run-in. it's off to the side just a bit, and i'd like to use it rather than just let it stay a muddy mess.
i'm going to ask my excavator how to manage it so i have a year round clean water source.
any tips for me? tia, s.

Jul. 16, 2010, 09:09 PM
I don't have any tips but if you find out would you please post the information. I'd love to know the answer as I also have a natural spring or two around here.. Thanks

Jul. 16, 2010, 09:53 PM
Your first order of business is determining the source, which means digging. The water could be coming out of a crack in solid rock or from a bunch of gravel or sand.

Once you've dug down a bit and know what you have, you can build containment and drainage. Around here, old springs have walls of dressed stone. Laying up cement block walls instead works fine and is much cheaper.

A decent contractor can do it all for you: clean out and identify your source, build containment to bring it to the surface, and fashion some kind of safe trough/overflow system for the horses. Unless the containment is very shallow, you'll probably want it closed off so a horse doesn't get stuck or injured in it.

My dad uses a spring for the water in his house. The water comes out of a crack in a rock. He used cement block and morter to collect the water at the crack and divert it into a pipe that then flows downhill to fill a big cistern. There's a pump in the cistern that supplies water to the house. For horse water, it could all be done with gravity and probably fairly cheaply.

Jul. 16, 2010, 11:11 PM
excellent reply, thank you! this water came bubbling out of the ground after the garden was terraced, and the hill there is rather sandy. it's somewhat of a pain that it now bubbles up just ten feet from the run-in entrance, but if we can contain it and use it for year round water safely than we will try. my excavator will be here in a day or two, now i have a better idea of whatt to ask for.
p.s. my house is also fed from a spring which originates out of a rock crevice on the steep slope across the street and up 200 yards. it's caught in an oaken box and piped downhill into the house. tastes great, too.

Jul. 17, 2010, 07:21 AM
Good luck! I don't think anything tastes quite so good as spring water.

Jul. 17, 2010, 04:17 PM
Article here; http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/publicat/wqwm/ag473-15.html

Tom King
Jul. 17, 2010, 04:38 PM
Have it tested first, and if it turns out to be okay, build a "spring house" (usually all masonry) around it to keep any surface contaminants, including bugs, out of it, and pump it where you want water. Google "spring house" and you should find plenty. A lot of times spring water will be very good, but sometimes it might be very high in one mineral, like sulfur or iron, and it will need treatment.

Jul. 17, 2010, 05:02 PM
We have a spring and spring house. It served the entire farm's needs from about 1919 (the earliest "provenance" I can get) until about three years ago when we "decomissioned" it for a full rework. The going has been slow. ;)

First, check with your county agent. I'll bet they've got publications detailing any local rules you must follow. They may also have designs for construction.

Second, get an idea of the flow rate. If you're only getting a few gallons per minute it may not be worthwhile to spend any money developing the spring.

You should probably get a water test, too, before you commit a bunch of funds to the project. If the water quality has an issue you may find treatment will be expensive.

If the flow and quality are decent then you'll need to clean the source to get maximum flow, bank it to prevent contamination from ground water (rain, snow melt, etc.), and establish a "catch basin" in which you can put a pump. Sometimes a spring house will cover both the source and basin, sometimes it won't (depending upon local circumstances).

So far there's a bunch you don't know. I'd get some answers before I did much more.

Good luck in your project.