pumping water from creek

bberna4March 9, 2009

hello all,

having no previous experience with either pumps or irrigation systems i was hoping to get some info about the system that was once viable on a piece of land that i have purchased. unfortunately the previous owner died years ago and his son who sold the place was not around to know the in and outs of the system. here are a few things that i do know however: the water source is a creek that is 75' below a jet pump that is hooked up to a 30-40 gallon pressure tank; the pipes coming from the creek are two 2" pvc schedule 40 with what appears to be some sort of awkward looking filter perhaps; in a note that i found it said that a foot valve should be installed in the creek. for this type of application what would be the correct way to get this system running again? should there be a filter in the creek or one that that leaves the pump? does the foot valve connect to the 2" pipe in the creek? will the pressure tank automatically "take" once the pump is primed? i know these must be sophomoric questions but i'm somewhat lost. thanks in advance for any and all help, benton

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bberna4, I am almost certain that you could not 'lift' water more than 34ft. using a pump, under perfect conditions. You could certainly 'push' it. This would require a submersible pump.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:11PM
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Hibberna4 & Ron,

I would assume you are seventy-five feet away from the creek. We need to know the vertical difference (ft) between the pump outlet and the tank's average water level which would be about 3 feet above the bottom of the tank for a hot water heater sized tank. You will need a backflow preventer(check valve) at the pump outlet to keep from draining the tank and one at the creek to keep the pump primed with water(foot valve). Some sort of pressure gauge to know when to shut off the pump and a pressure relief valve to bleed off pressure at the tank if you leave the pump on too long. The pressure in the tank should be around 40 to 60 psi. You can automate the system with float switches in the tank or pressure switches in relation to your controller irrigating. This type of system needs absolute air tightness which will be hard to do with an old system. Ron is correct change it to a submersible system and you will be much happier with less maintenance (Cost).

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:34PM
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It is correct that single stage sucking type pumt can handle up to 10.13 meters (or approx. 34 feet), because the power source is air pressure - 1013 milibar. )

However, properly designed jetpump can lift up several hundred feet of water with no problems. I am not sure how it does, but it could be multi stage design.

In any case, jet pump is unique and has its own merits, but much less efficient than submersible push-up type pump. It is important to install filter to use submnersible pumpt, because silt, sand, algae and other contaminants can shorten the pump life.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:39AM
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thanks for the info guys. i'd love to be able to upgrade at this time but i just can't do it right now; hopefully next spring but time will tell. i have read a good bit on the inefficiency of the jet pump but i'll just have to make it work for now. through your help and some more research i'm starting to understand the valve components. however, just a few more questions: if i have two pipes running up from the creek, which by the way is about 65 vertical feet to the pump, do i need two foot valves or does one accomplish what is needed and should i have a filter at the creek or one installed just past the pump before reaching the irrigation system? thanks again for all the help, benton

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 1:14PM
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Hi bberna,
A jet pump is a double impulse pump that uses a venturi acceleration of the water to deliver more power to the second impulse, which then pushes the water up. This should be why that pump is using 2 tubes from the creek to the pump jacket housing.
The many seals of a double impulse pump are where problems can occur. I don't like them because trouble shooting is always hard to sort out where to look & often end up re-doing installation bit by bit.
The 65 foot distance of pump to creek is not suited for a standard centrifugal pump because they can't lift that column of water. Your jet pump range is quite a bit deeper still. Submersibles are expensive to change over to.
Any pipe in the creek sucking water better have a filter to keep debris from reaching the pump housing, but your vertical check valve usually has a filter on it's tip.
It doesn't sound like you've inspected the below water arrangement yet. Have you have tried to operate it as is, or tried to prime it ?
Putting a filter after the pump, in line with your irrigation system, should use a filter rated to allow enough water flowing through that it avoids back pressure into the pump.
Check to make sure your electrical wire is adequate for the pump installation. Using thin gauge wire &/or loose connections is one way to progressively overheat the motor coils.
You probably have an older pump & they don't make 'em like they used to, so
keep working with it. Pump motors can be rewound too.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 6:18PM
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Did you fix your problem? I just discovered this thread. My system is configured almost the same as yours, except there is one galvanized pipe instead of two pvc pipes coming up from the creek. Also, I have a 2 hp pump (just replaced the old 15-20 yo one this summer). It was full of iron. I don't know the vertical height, but the pipe is at least 80' long to the checkvalve. The irrigation system was installed when I bought the place so didn't know what was down there in that creek. Anyway, the system worked great until pipes came apart on discharge side of the pump, probably because the pressure valve got wrecked and the pump started running continuously and blew the pipes. Local irrigation companies have been pushing me to replace the big galvanized tank with a bladder one. But I determined it's may be an issue with a blocked checkvalve in the creek as the pump is not keeping its prime and the water in the priming pipe goes down, indicating back flow.. Anyway it's a hassle to dig up that checkvalve. 8 years ago the ex and I found a footvalve, but cannot find it again to save my life--just the checkvalve and some well screen at the intake. Anyway, it should "take" once the pump is primed no problem even at that height.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:39PM
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