We need one.

A Spring box is, basically, a settling pond-in-a-man-made-box. It’s designed so that the naturally occurring sediment in a stream used for your potable water source is as sediment free as possible.

Water bearing sediment enters the pickup vent in a collection bucket and then goes to the pipe leading to the Springbox lower down the hill. After passing through some coarse filters, it then flows cleanly out the top end of the Spring box. The reason the filters are coarse is because sediment, if allowed to, will, in less-fast-moving current, drop to the bottom naturally. The upper and lower, multi-holed filters are primarily used to slow the current down and act as a bit of an extra barrier to help the sediment stop halfway up and drift back down to the bottom of the box. Gravel (optional) at the bottom of the box can be a crude additional filter. The REAL filter (100 microns) is used only at the higher, last stage when the water should already be clean and ready to exit the box down to our place.

A Springbox should cut our trips up the creek to one or two a year. That is the theory, anyway.

1 1/2″ input line

I have the right box. Heavy damn thing. Thick black plastic, 2 feet by 2 feet by four feet. Perfect. Thanks to Non-con, I also have the right, coarse-screen filter. I already made the fine filter using 100 micron s/s mesh. I will need to plumb the Springbox to the ‘pick-up’ collector bucket set further up the stream. The pickup itself is a bit of a filter, too. Then: from pick-up into pipe. Pipe downstream to Springbox.

I will put the Springbox out of the way of the actual current…..off to the side. If I do not move the box well out of the current, it will be caught up and swept away in the occasional roaring deluge that is part of the streams winter character. The optional gravel mentioned acts like a preliminary crude filter but it (and the water when it is filled) also serves to weigh the box down from an occasional extra stream flow.

clean out valve

All this (the Springbox, filters and the feed-lines) is being made from ‘crap and junk’ saved under the house from previous projects. And from the neighbour’s accumulation, too. AND, of course, Non-con. Together we can cobble up all sorts of stuff. Well, we can make the box, anyway. Making it work properly is always a question. The hard part is getting the whole damn thing up the hill…through the bush, over the fallen trees, etc.

1″ outlet fitting

coarse filter courtesy of Noncon

And then there is Murphy to deal with. Doesn’t matter how well I design and implement this thing, it will inevitably require a hacksaw or a different fitting or something that I did not anticipate. And it is that part that is the most daunting. Forget the right screwdriver and someone has to go back to the shop (downhill, into boat, uphill and then back to boat and then back uphill)and return trip taking at least 40 minutes if you are lucky.

That’s OK, there are usually plenty of mosquitoes to keep one busy!

fine mesh wrapped canister filter

Obviously the right thing to do is to assemble all the tools and parts you need and then add a bunch more tools and materials for insurance and then a lot of duct tape, baling wire and chewing gum. And then hope for only one or two trips back to the shop. The problem with that technique is the stream is steep and impassible. Carrying an unnecessary tool up and down it is like Olympic training. It’s natural to try to ‘get it right the first time’.

That has never happened.

Fine filter attached to outlet fitting

The good news is that this project is waiting on every neighbour and guest we can get for this one-day project. Ideally, I could just ‘talk them all through it’ on a walkie-talkie from home while sipping mint juleps but I am not kidding myself. I will be there swatting at the mosquitoes of adversity. But, in the meantime, the box and stuff needs designing and assembling and then disassembling and transporting to the base of the stream. That and getting in the firewood and I have my work cut out for awhile.

#1 of 2 coarse filters with handles

And I am not even 1/4 of the way through making the solar oven.

I wrote this blog because, as usually happens at least once a year, a city-friend asks (incredulously), “Geez, man, what the hell do you DO all day in the damn forest? I mean, seen one tree, seen ’em all, right?”

“True”, I say, (while jamming my tongue firmly in my cheek), “but every squirrel is different and they just keep us on our toes all the damn time. Crazy squirrels, eh? We are just really busy a lot with the squirrels, ya know? And then there are the ravens. Don’t get me started on the ravens! Just ask Sal about those attention-getters!”

14 thoughts on “Springbox

  1. A spring box with an inlet and an outlet to allow the sediment to collect. How often does the Spring Box need to be cleaned?


    • There is a flushing outlet that, if opened now and then should take out most of the collected sediment but the gauge will be the 100 micron filter at the outlet. If that starts to gather sediment, then the box is not working. So, it is the uppermost, finest filter on the outlet that I will monitor most. If it remains clean for say a year, then good maintenance requires a flush out every year anyway.
      This little cobble-together Springbox project is sorta back to ‘OTG’ stuff. Did you find it interesting?


      • Nice project and well engineered I must say. Now fingers crossed that theory and practice match! I just hope the coarse filters do not clog too fast. Thanks for sharing!


  2. It is an interesting and resourceful solution to an intermittent blocked water pipe Issue from the water source. Resilience and self reliance been two of the keys for living OTG successfully.


  3. Hey,

    Completely off topic, but what do you guys use for mushrooms in your recipes in the winter im trying to stock my pantry need an idea for dehydrated mushrooms[

    Thanks, me


    • We got a couple of large containers of dried mushrooms from Costco which we’re working our way through when we don’t have fresh. Unfortunately I haven’t seen them in the store for at least six months or more. We now get fresh in our community grocery delivery once a week (we’ve never had it so good!). Other than that we did try to grow them, and in theory this should work well, but we weren’t successful. So not much help, I’m afraid! –Sally


  4. You know that your think outside the box and my box work differently, so I think why are you carrying all that smat up the hill to clean the water when the water will come to you for cleaning. Install 2″ line down the big hill, springbox cleaner at bottom of hill.


    • Can’t. Water pressure lost at non-pressurized spring box. If box is placed at low end, the water can’t climb up to house. No head. Intake at 120 foot level, house at 75′ level. Bottom is at sea level. Spring box needs to be above 75.


      • Well yes to that section (brain fart) but no to up the hill plan. Install bypass screen up the hill, put filterbox above your water tanks 2″ is cheap, secondary 1″ feed back to J ‘s tanks after cleaning. Advantage is the ease of maintenance and the sediment/sand will enrich your somewhat barren rock outcrop.😊
        I win!


  5. You do win…..but, but, but…..the clog is always up the hill. At the top. And a few times we get sediment buildup at the lowest point as a bonus challenge. The at-the-tanks location will definitely clean mine and J’s water but only if it gets this far….and it won’t. To save the hill climb the water has to be filtered at the top and so i will super filter it up there and keep the whole system clean and STILL have to clean the filters now and then. The goal is to minimize the number of times. But cleaning somewhere is a given and a big filter up there at least keeps the whole rest of the system clean. But you are right in theory and for me. If the feed line was say, 2″ we could all filter at our tanks. There are 4 on the system and it is a very long system.


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