Preventative Maintenance Increases Utility Pump Reliability

Label on back of pump.

Label on back of pump.

UPDATE: 7/29/2022

If you bought a Pacific Hydrostar Portable Utility Pump – Model 65836 – from Harbor Freight you may have noticed extra parts in the box and a label on the pump that says “Check brushes after every 100 hours of use and replace as needed.

What does this label mean and why should you care? The motor has something called ‘Carbon Brushes’ inside which help to ‘excite’ the motor to make it spin. These will wear down over time and cleaning them every now and then can keep your pump running smoothly. Read on to find how to perform preventative maintenance on your utility water pump to ensure its reliability in the future.

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Saving Rain Water at Home

Rainwater tank in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia. Photo taken February 2018

After spending three summers hauling recycled water, the drought of 2014 to 2017 opened my eyes to the world of rainwater harvesting. Why? Because rain that falls for free at my house is much cheaper to capture and store than gas and vehicle maintenance costs of hauling recycled water from a local treatment plant.

In February of 2018, I went on a trip to Australia. We visited the tropics in Carnes, the dry-lands of Alice Springs and Lighting Ridge, as well as Sydney and Perth.

Most of Australia doesn’t get much rainwater, just like California has experienced in the last few years. But what Australia does really well is capture every last drop of rainwater and puts it to use at home in gardens, kitchens, bathrooms, you get the point.

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State of Recycled Water Fill Stations

Its been over a year since I last posted.

Most agencies have altered their service for fill stations while many of the major players are still in the game. There are 17 of 28 agencies open.

As of my last update, I have removed tracking of fill station hours but still maintain which agencies are providing free recycled water to their rate payers. Given the fact that California Governor has not declared the state to be in a drought situation is the main reason why many agencies who closed their costly fill stations have not re-opened them.

Plus, there are plenty of programs available to encourage residents to remove their water hungry landscapes and replace them with more drought tolerant plantings.

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Regional San to Re-Open Recycled Water Fill Station for 2017

Offering free recycled water – A smart and sustainable choice for residential and commercial users

Elk Grove, CA – On May 22, 2017, Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) will re-open its Recycled Water Fill Station for the 2017 season. The fill station is located at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. Recycled water offers residential and commercial users a free, safe and sustainable choice to irrigate lawns, gardens and landscaping or for dust control or other permitted uses.  Continue reading

Dublin Honored for Recycled Water Use

Dublin Mayor David Haubert accepts the Recycled Water Customer of the Year Award, which recognizes the city’s extensive use and strong support of recycled water, from WateReuse California on March 20, 2017.

DUBLIN, CA – Water recycling experts and advocates from across California honored the City of Dublin today for using recycled water in nearly all city parks and street medians and for partnering with Dublin San Ramon Services District in requiring land developers to install recycled water irrigation. DSRSD, which provides water service in Dublin, nominated the city as Recycled Water Customer of the Year, an award given annually by WateReuse California to organizations that significantly advance the use of recycled water. Mayor David Haubert accepted the award at a ceremony in San Diego. Continue reading

Planting Rain

Rain garden in use. Credit:

It has been a wet winter. Over 40″ of rain has fallen at my home since October 1, 2016. On my quarter acre lot, that accounts for approximately 268,000 gallons of water, or enough to sustain my needs for 3-6 years (daily use averaging between 118 and 213 gallons per day). Note: one inch of water on a square foot of land is 0.623 gallons.

By installing a swale and a rainwater infiltration trench in my front yard, I am planting rain.

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Catch Every Drop to end CA Drought

“Groundwater, the supply of water in underground aquifers that serves as a savings account of sorts during dry years, is still low and getting lower due to overpumping.” – Peter Gleick, chief scientist and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute

Poster from WWD’13 – India

Take it from the experts, despite epic rainfalls with feet of water falling from “Atmospheric Rivers” the west coasts’ equivalent to a hurricane, parts of California will still have to conserve water.

What? How?

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Building an infiltration trench – a complete guide

Credit: Rainwater Harvesting

In short, an infiltration trench is a trough in the ground for water to flow into for the purpose of recharging the water table and to provide precious moisture to plants and trees in the area. It is with a built with a passive overflow to reduce ponding and flooding on the property. Depending on available space and proximity to building structures can determine the size and available free volume for the infiltration trench to hold.

In our complete guide to building an infiltration trench, we’ll show you a thorough 6-step process of how to design an infiltration trench, where to build it, how to build it and what to fill it with. Finally we’ll show you a way to make it pretty in the landscape.

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Beautifying an infiltration trench

River rock overlay.

We get it, one of the biggest reasons most people don’t install rainwater harvesting systems is they can be ugly. Who wants a blue barrel or a caged plastic cubed tank in their yard? I wouldn’t mind it, but my wife would go ballistic. This is why putting in an underground rainwater harvesting system like an infiltration basin is so easy because you can put whatever you want on top of it. Win win! 

For the last installment for this series, I’ll show you how easy it is to “beautify” an infiltration trench.

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Installing AquaBlox into an Infiltration Trench

AquaBlox installed in trench.

The installation part of my infiltration trench took about an hour. Compared to the testing, designing, researching, site preparation and digging phase of the project, installing the AquaBlox was the easiest and quickest part of the entire project.

This is the second to last article in this “infiltration trench” series but it is the most important. Read on to see how to install two large AquaBlox and get the most out of the rainwater that falls on your roof.

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