CCGC has two option for water. The primary option is rainwater catchment off of the shed roofs. Our back-up is well water. information can be found here.

See Also:

Well Pumping ProtocolEdit

The well is our secondary source of water. It is the backup for when water catchment water is not available. The well replenishes in a 24 hour period enough to pump at least 150 gal. and produces an estimate 1050 gal./week. This takes approximately 20 minutes to pump. We have an informal agreement with the OCPYC garden to alternate well water pumping days.

Schedule for gardensEdit


    • Saturdays (1st and 3rd)
    • Mondays
    • Wednesday
    • Fridays


    • Saturdays (2nd and 4th)
    • Sundays
    • Tuesdays
    • Thursdays

Procedure for PumpingEdit

  1. Using the key, unlock the generator from the back of the shed, check that there is gas in it, and take it out to the well house.
    1. If there is no gas fill with regular unleaded
  2. On your way, turn valves at the shed side of the thick black line to the garden off AND have one valve at the garden open (to the storage tank, the garbage barrels, or an extension hose for direct bed watering).
  3. At the well, unlock the well house with the second key.
  4. Open the valve at top of well head (inside well house).
  5. Prime generator motor by pushing rubber bulb 2 times
  1. Make sure on-off switch on front of motor is turned to on position.
  1. Pull the starting rope to start the generator engine and allow to warm up for 5 minutes.
  2. Plug in the well pump power cord.
  3. If a full 24 hour period has elapsed since the last time pumping from the well happened, after 20 minutes of pumping, stand by and shut off when running dry. DO NOT LET WELL PUMP RUN DRY AS YOU MAY BURN THE PUMP OUT! It is helpful to have two people for this step, one to monitor flow and one to turn off the pump.
  4. When done pumping:
    1. Unplug cord from generator and store cord in well shed.
    2. Turn off generator by throwing switch on front of generator
    3. Close the valve on the pump/wellhead outlet and
    4. Lock the well house.
    5. Replace the generator in the shed and lock it in place with the chain.
    6. Replace the keys in their hiding place.
  5. Enter data (Name, date, time pump started and stopped, volume pumped (if known), any notes) on the log on the right hand side of the kiosk.

Town's Concerns (Historical when CCGC was seeking to save the well)Edit

Water sources at the MLK site community garden of the Carrboro Community Gardening Coalition were being investigated to justify to the town that filling the well with cement would be counter productive. Below is a record of some of the investigating we did in "Saving the Well."

Water quality concerns, liability fearsEdit


A: CCGC Assumes responsibility of vandalism to CCGC equipment and well house.

Existing lead casing?Edit


  1. We have consulted well experts and they have no experience with lead wells.
  2. CCGC will conduct test to assure that casing is not made of lead.
    1. Ordering of test kit was made placed on June 12, 2007.
    2. Kit delivery takes 2 weeks.
    3. After sample is sent to lab it takes four weks for the certified lab analysis.
  3. Lead has been known to come froom old well pumps (testing process has begun, results expected in three weeks)

Questions town has asked to know about by next meetingEdit

There were a few questions that the alderwomen wanted to know:

  1. What do other community gardens do for water.
  2. Liability question
    1. What is the county's well requirements re: health?
    2. Follow up on testing heavy metals.
    3. Design of System
  3. Cost of testing at Anderson not applicable.

What do other Community gardens do for water?Edit


Recently drilled a well worth $3,500 but were given a deal at cost ($2,800). They do not treat or test the water. Not only do they use the water for irrigation but they also use it for human consumption! As their Garden Manager puts it: "I trust well water more than city water!" Their liability is covered by the church that they are umbrelled under.

  • Guilford County, N.C Community Garden

Recently drilled a well

  • UNC Student Community Garden

Northside fills up their cistern using the neighboring building's water. Use of tap water is temporary until the cistern is linked to the downspouts on the building. A volunteer knowledgeable in such things would be helpful.

Use to use the creek water and hope for rain.


According to the examples that i have found, it appears that most community gardens get their water in whatever way that they can. Most seek out resource conservation sources such as rain water catchment, wells, storm water catchment, and finally municipal water. In many cases, when municipal water is used, the town or other government agencies provide the water for free. In more urban areas, rainwater catchment is utilized. In those locations there is ample roof coverage to provide a large quantity of water catchment.

The bottom line is that water is essential to a community garden. Many examples abound that prove that water restrictions due to draught are a major problem for community gardens from New York City to small villages in Africa. The well at MLK Jr Park is an ideal resource for water use at the community garden, as well as water source for any trees the town may plant there in the future. To waste a resource like this Well when community gardeners around the globe are continually scrambling to access water seems downright ridiculous. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT!

Below are examples of community gardens water sources.

Local Government Provides WaterEdit
  1. The Manhatten Kansas Community Garden- the city installed the meter, and spigots. the city pays for the water.
  2. Dowling Community Garden Minneapolis- runs hoses from city cschool to fill barrels.
  3. The city of Chicago provides a key and adaptor to hydrants for community gardeners.
  4. Bath, Maine- the fire dept. would bring in water to cisterns for free.
  5. Town in MA- the town provides water.
  6. Woodbury, NJ- town provides tilling and water.
  7. Noe Valley San Francisco- public works provides water and tools.
  8. Vandalia, IL- the town extended water lines.
  9. Ann Arbor, Mi -water provided by county parks dept.
  10. City of Eden Prairie, MN - park maintenance crew fills tanks. and provide said tanks.
  11. Marshall Co. Community Garden, Marshall County, MN -county pays for water
  12. Baltimore City, MD - provides fire hydrant use to 22 communitygardens
  13. New York City- rainwater catchment is encouraged as droughts restrict hydrant use.

The rainwater collection systems are paid for by the New York Restoration Project "Since most community gardens spring up in abandoned and deteriorated city lots, securing reliable access to water is one of the toughest and costliest challenges these plots face. This was never more apparent than in summer 2002, when a drought prompted the City of New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to suspend hydrant permits and restrict watering in community gardens. This crisis made it clear to local gardeners, city agencies, and greening groups that community gardens needed to be better prepared for future dry spells…and the search was on for a feasible alternative to city water." New York Restoration Project; A Solution to Municipal Water Drought Restrictions

Other Community Garden's sources for WaterEdit
  1. The Brooklyn, Queens Land Trust Hollenback Community Garden uses rainwater catchment
  2. Nofa/Mass, Massachusetts- collects rainwater to reduce municipal water needs.
  3. Fort Wayne, Indiana- people haul in the water.
  4. Yarmouth Community Garden - uses an old hand dug well.
  5. Jones Valley Urban Farm, Birmingham, AL. - They state that their largest expense is city water.
  6. White Center Heights Community Garden - uses storm water runoff and rain water collection

Liability questionEdit

Health Hazard Well RequirementsEdit

North Carolina (N.C. department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Christina Mason)Edit
  • The well at MLK is not a ‘Public Water System’ [G.S. 130A-313(10)]. Public water systems are systems for the provision to the public of piped water for human consumption if the system serves 15 or more service connections or which regularly serves 25 or more individuals 60 or more days out of the year. (risk measure based on exposure)
  • The definition of Public water system is based on public exposure and not on whose land it is that the well is owned by (I.e. municipality).
  • N.C. does not consider the irrigation well for the Community Garden at MLK a health hazard as this well will not provide piped water for human consumption regularly to 25 or more individuals 60 or more days out of the year.
  • Consequently, N.C. does not require compliance sampling for this well.

Furthermore, because water treatment is not required, an Operator in responsible Charge is not necessary.

  • For these reasons, Anderson Park, is not an appropriate precedent/standard for the gardening well at MLK.
Orange County (Orange County Health Department, Tom Konsler, Environmental Health Director)Edit
  • The county does not have health standards for wells that are to be used for irrigation purposes.
  • Consequently, there are no requirements for testing and/or treatment.
  • Furthermore, though the well is located on town property, no well operator is required.

Orange Groundwater

Health Hazard Well Requirements ConclusionEdit

  • Anderson Park well functions as a ‘Public Water System’, and the MLK Park Community Garden well will not function as a ‘Public Water System’
  • Though the MLK well is located on town property, the CCGC would not have to contract an operator (who is aware of state regulations associated with well operations) to conduct monthly tests, monitor the filtration system, and report test results to the state.
  • Even so, CCGC is willing to sample test, using state certified labs, (and treat if needed), once for nitrites, and annually for nitrates and coliform bacteria. We can forward these results to the town at the beginnig of the spring growing season.

CCGC Safeguards for mitigating an already negligible risk and exposureEdit

  1. The CCGC will minimize the possibility of public consumption of the water:
    1. Closed system for irrigation use only not accesible to the public.
    2. System labelled 'Not Potable Water'.
    3. If spigot is needed for the system, then it will be locked.
    4. Contingent on degree of testing and treating as required by the town CCGC will assume cost.
    5. CCGC is willing to provide for a source of drinking water during gardening workdays Either by:
      1. Bottled water housed in shed. (preferrable).
      2. Arranging and assuming the costs of a simple connection to the existing water line for water drinking and hand rinsing purposes. This water access would be unlocked for public use during scheduled.
  2. After many years of not using the well, on June 4th, 2007, after a heavy rain, a sample was taken from the well. The UNC School of Public Health Environmental Microbiology (Another donation by the community!) tested for E. coli and coliforms:
    1. The results for E. coli look good! E. coli = 0.1 CFU/100mL (1 E. coli colony was found in the 0.93-liter sample) total coliforms = 2.84 x10^4 CFU/100mL (total coliforms are less representative of fecal pollution as E. coli) (CFU = colony-forming units )
    2. According to an article published by Iowa State, late Spring/early Summer is the best time to take a sample because contaminants are most likely to be present during frequent rainfall or post-rainfall as they would leak through well defects if any defects were present. The sampling time was therefore a good choice for this particular type of testing. results available by time of alderman meeting.
  3. The CCGC can also have all gardeners sign a waiver relieving the town and the CCGC from liability associated from the possibility of an accidental public consumption of the water.

Follow up on testing heavy metals.Edit

    1. Ordering of test kit for lead, copper and arsenic was made placed on June 12, 2007.
    2. Kit delivery takes 2 weeks.
    3. After sample is sent to lab it takes four weeks for the certified lab analysis.

Design of SystemEdit

Dave Delvechio diagrams

Plan for Pumping well using SolarEdit

  1. A well 24 volt d.c. pump, will fill a 500 gal. cistern that is close to the garden.
  2. The pump is powered by a solar panel, located high on a pole.
  3. The pump will be switched off by
    1. A float switch in the well, located immediately above the pump.
    2. A Float switch in the cistern at its capacity
  4. Because the system will automatically shut itself off, there is no danger of burning out the pump.
  5. A simple bilge pump will be located in the cistern to move the pressurized water to the garden.
  6. The bilge pump system will also be used to move water from water catchment to garden cistern.


  • March Parks and Rec is moving along with the contract with Parrish Brothers to have the well filled and the well house removed. They are estimated to get around to filling the well in in mid June. Parrish Brother contract fulfilment deadline in July.
  • Without complete information at the public Board of Alderman meeting of May 22, the Board of Alderman decided the well filling could go ahead.
  • June 5 Board of Alderman requests that discussion of the matter be placed on the agenda for June 19th meeting.

Well SpecsEdit

  • Depth: 168 ft., Standing Water @ 15-50 ft.
  • The Well is in a well house that will be locked.
  • Water Rate: 1050 gal. /week

Why the well?Edit

Some of the answers below are hard to quantify monetarily ... but they are effectively credits!!!

Working exampleEdit

By utilizing the well, coupled with water catchment, we are effectively a working example of how municipal water recipients can drastically reduce water consumption on lawns, flowers, and gardens, thus setting a new standard for stewardship to the precious resource of water. Many people in the community will be visiting the community garden and will see in action solutions to the problem of municipal water management. Hopefully inspiring others to begin rainwater catchment, producing a net loss on the use of our drinking supply for outdoor use.


  • It provides at least 1,050 gal. a week!!! Enough for irrigation of the full garden once it is active.
  • Does not detract from municipal water system.

Pre-existant resourceEdit

The town should value pre-existant resources that can be used by the community.

Water is THE main issue, next to land, that all community gardens have to deal with. To have an ample and appropriate source of water on site is a remarkable resource. Many community gardens have been maintained by literally hauling water in on their backs. Let's not make a mistake that would lead to this. Let's utilize this amazing resource that resides 100 feet away from the garden.

Value of Existing WellEdit

  • $12.50/foot x 168ft. = $2,100 (This cost does not include encasement) Anathoth Community Garden recently dug a well and 'at cost' cost $2,800.
  • Most community gardens struggle with accessing water. To have a well on site is of tremendous value beyond dollars to the community garden.

Encourages CommunityEdit

  • All of the equipment and knowledge to implment the use of the well is from the commmunity itself.
    • The solar powered well is another example of how the commuity garden is serving as an empowernmnet space.
  • Succesful engagement with our government increases participation in democratic processes.

Mitigates energy issuesEdit

  • The use of the well and a solar panel pump will serve as an example in action of an alternative technology for the larger community to learn from as we prepare to mitigate Global Climate Change and deal with its effects.
  • Pilot project for the town to also gain experience from.
  • Cuts down on energy use:
    • Energy usage: Transporting water from OWASA vs. from the well:

1 gallon (gal). =. 8.34 pounds.

1050 gal/week = 8,757 pounds or 4.4 tons/week

Distance of well to extreme corner of garden: 400ft . Distance of University Lake to MLK: 15,840ft.


Well: 150 ft.

OWASA: Lake to top of pressurizing tank.

Energy also goes into OWASA water treatment and reclamation.

  • Source of energy: Renewable on site vs. Sharon Harris or coal


Water transportation and Energy

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