Silt-free water-intake solutions

By Ray Ford

How these cottagers keep their foot valves above the ooze

Silt-free water-intake

Photo by Terry Cumpstone

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It’s the name for the check valve at the foot of your water-intake system. Check valves let fluid flow one way only, so that pipes stay full of water and the pump maintains its prime. Foot valves must be -suspended above the bottom of the lake to stay free of silt and ensure a proper seal.

This quartet of inventive cottagers rose to the challenge of keeping their water intakes out of the ooze:

Tired of changing the sediment filter at his Adams Lake, BC, cottage, Terry Cumpstone fits his submersible pump to the arm of this stand made from 4″ PVC drain pipe, two T-fittings, and 45° and 90° elbows. Water flows in through the “head” of the stand while silt and sand settle in the T forming the base. When Cumpstone retrieves the stand in the fall, he pulls off the caps on the base and rinses the silt out. “I used to change my filter cartridge at least three times a season. Now it’s only once a year. ”




Severn Bridge, Ont., cottager Ken Elsey used drain pipe, four elbows, a T- and a Y-fitting, and glue to build this intake cradle. “It probably cost less than $20, and took about 20 minutes to make,” he says, adding he filled the base with sand and gravel to weigh the cradle down.



Robot or foot valve? (And, come to think of it, R2-D2 or Dalek?)It’s hard to tell with the space-age unit Art Ferguson built for his Fairbank Lake cottage, near Sudbury.Ferguson cut a hole in the side of a five-gallon pail,installed a 90° ABS plumbing elbow, and sliced holes at the pail’s base for stabilizing legs made from aluminum pipe. The water intake connects to the bottom of the elbow, while the foot valve screws on top and juts through a hole in the lid. The contraption is weighed down by ready-mix concrete poured around the elbow, and crowned with a colander fastened to the pail’s lid. Sediment problems? Just chant “Ex-ter-min-ate.”

Every spring, Ron Jung and his neighbour Frank Chisholm struggled to uncoil their intakes in the icy water at their off-grid camps near Manitouwadge, Ont. “We kept looking at each other getting cold and wet and thought there’s got to be a better way,” Jung says. The solution is this cart, welded from 1″ steel tubing and equipped with wheels from a lawn mower. (Chisholm made a similar contraption from lightweight metal conduit.) Now, come spring, Jung simply rolls the hose into the water with the cart’s 20′-long handle. “We don’t need to get wet at all, and the strainer stays off the bottom.”

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Sumit Patellio

Sep. 5, 2013

12:37 am

Going green is the latest fad and everyone shows its concerns towards preserving and conserving the environment. And more interestingly, you can think of going for such energy-efficient solutions as well that will show your commitment towards environmental protection. Such a solution will prove effective in reducing your energy costs and will also maintain the hygienic features of your home's atmosphere as well. Ask your plumber if he could offer such solutions to you. Tom Plumb

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