Borehole Water Supply

Our customers are often seeking ways to lower business water bills and reduce the environmental impacts of their business activities. The treatment and transportation of freshwater to commercial properties come at a high economic and ecological cost.

A borehole freshwater system allows you to reduce both by extracting clean water directly from the ground beneath your property.

This article looks at what a borehole water supply is and how your business can benefit by using one as your primary water source

What is a borehole water supply?

Beneath the surface, water often flows through permeable chalk and rock, which acts as a filter to create a natural, high-quality water source. A borehole water supply is a deep well that accesses this underground water with a high-efficiency pump.

A borehole provides a private water supply to your business that is often purer than the water supplied by your local wholesaler. However, you will have to go through a vigorous quality testing process with a borehole supply to ensure the water is safe to use.

What are the benefits of having a borehole water supply for my business?

Here are the benefits of using a borehole as a water source for your business. The most common one is to save money; however, there are more underlying benefits for your business and the environment.

The question asked often is, “why would a business choose to invest in their water source, rather than using a mains water supplier?”.

Here’s why:

  • To save money – after the initial outlay for installation, you can use the water supply free of charge, only incurring costs for having to apply for a license if you use over 200 cubic meters per day, you will only incur this if you have over ten boreholes installed.
  • It’s better for the environment – Although this won’t reduce your consumption, remember that 60% of all mains water is recycled wastewater. Water treatment uses a lot of energy, and there is a cost to the environment with the chemicals used. Water coming straight out of the borehole requires only limited treatment.
  • It allows you to be self-sufficient as a business – There is no need to worry about supply problems, burst supply pipes, faulty valves and low flow rates during peak times (Something incredibly inconvenient for businesses who use a large quantity of water).

How much water can a borehole produce for my business?

A single borehole for your business can produce your business up to 20,000 litres (20 cubic meters) of water every day.

If you currently use a substantial amount of water per day as a business, have you considered switching business water suppliers? The benefits include saving money, improving customer service by having dedicated account managers, consolidated billing and a more tailored experience.

How does a borehole water supply work?

For businesses looking to manage their water supply and become self-sufficient, a borehole is one of the obvious propositions.

It enables savings on annual water bills compared to the mains business water supply. A borehole is an excellent investment for businesses consuming large quantities of water regularly.

Here’s how the process of implementing a borehole supply works:

The pre-drilling survey:

Before drilling takes place – a pre-drilling survey must be undertaken. The survey is carried out to cover the following aspects:

  • Review the composition of the ground
  • Check the ground can be drilled through
  • Check if water is present in the ground
  • Review the waters depth, quantity, and quality of the water
  • Review the possibilities drilling and lining

If the survey is successful, the next step is the drilling and lining process.

Drilling and lining

The drilling and lining stage consists of the following steps:

  • A local check for underground utilities.
  • Drilling an eight-inch borehole down to the water table.
  • Depending on the ground composition, you will need to install a temporary steel casing to prevent collapse during drilling. Then five-inch plastic or steel casing will be slotted to the bottom of the hole.
  • Now, you will backfill the gap between the screen you’ve put in place and the borehole walls with recycled glass gravel.
  • Finally, you will cement the gap between the pump chamber and walls at the top of the borehole.

Once the initial drilling and lining have taken place, it’s time to test the water quality.

Testing the water quality.

Testing determines your requirements for both the water quality and the correct pump setup. This is done by using a submersible pump to test the flow of water.

The checks include the natural water level, the recharge rate and the quantity of water. It enables you to work out the correct pump size you will need to ensure water is pumped efficiently into your property.

Ensuring the water is tested adequately at this stage is essential. The water from boreholes is usually safe to drink; there are, however, sometimes dissolved minerals and impurities in the water.

To test the water, samples are sent to a UKAS laboratory to establish the purity and existence of minerals and other substances present in the water. After the results from the lab – you will begin to look at the water treatment systems to ensure you comply with UK water regulations allowing you to provide a pure potable water supply.

Once this is achieved, you can move on to designing and testing the water pump system.

Design and test the pump system.

This is a critical element of ensuring that your borehole functions correctly – it is what brings the water to the surface and needs to run efficiently and reliably.

Pumps for boreholes generally range from four to six-inch submersible stainless-steel pumps. Or, high powered circulation pumps and pressure sets can also be used, depending on your circumstances.

An underground well chamber will then be installed above the borehole to protect the equipment – this is a requirement of the private water supply regulations. The submersible well pump is installed into your borehole, deep down into the water chamber.

Depending on your current setup on your premises, there may be a need to install another water tank, with the sizing based on the estimate of daily water usage. These tanks can range up to 20,000 litres.

The treatment of water

Finally, you will need to consider the treatment of the water supplied by the borehole. Usually, the water extracted is perfectly safe to drink; as mentioned above, you need to comply with the UK’s national drinking water regulations – therefore, a water treatment system is required.

Based on the sample received and tested by the UKAS laboratory, a water treatment system will be developed to deal with any irregularities in water content to ensure you have a potable water supply for your business.

The water treatment system will generally include the following:

  • UV sterilisers
  • Iron and manganese filtration units.
  • Reverse osmosis filters

What are the costs to consider when using a borehole as your primary source of water?

The initial costs for a water borehole depend on numerous factors, including the size of the borehole, the quantity, the quality of the ground, and the daily water supply limit.

In setting up a borehole supply source, your business will incur initial costs for:

  • Survey – the cost is dependent on the size and quantity of water required.
  • Drilling – the cost of a groundwater well is based on a per meterage charge for drilling. These are dependent on:
    • Diameter to be drilled
    • Depth to be drilled to
    • Ground conditions
  • Lining and packing the water well – The charge per metre for the supply and installation of the well casing, screen and filter pack is determined by the diameter and materials used for the borehole.
  • Wellhead – It’s a requirement for the private water supply regulations, and for a commercial water system, the cost of a wellhead is around £1250.
  • Pump system – The cost of your pump system essentially depends on the following:
    • Depth of the borehole
      Flow of water
    • The pressure requirements
    • The distance the water has to travel to reach the property.
  • Labour – the labour cost depends on the size of the borehole project and how many people you need, and specialists to implement.
  • Water analysis – Water analysis testing costs vary depending on requirements.
  • Water treatment – depending on what the water analysis comes back with, you will then alter and build a specific system to manage and filter any impurities in your water supply.

Is a borehole right for my business?

Not all businesses will benefit from having a borehole – businesses that only consume a small amount of water will not benefit in the long term or the short term from having a borehole.

Industries that benefit from using a borehole as their primary source of water are as follows:

  • Food production
  • Manufacturing
  • Clothes production
  • Distilleries
  • Holiday parks
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Farming
  • Construction
  • Soft drink production
  • Paper mills

The disadvantages of using a borehole

There are plenty of benefits to using a borehole as your primary source of water; however, as with everything, there are a couple of disadvantages to take into account. These are as follows:

  • Issues with the immediate environment surrounding your plot. Suppose there is a reasonably high level of contamination in the surrounding area. In that case, you will be advised not to have a borehole created, or you will have to go through a stringent testing process. The filtration process’s complexity will nullify the benefits of having a borehole installed, both economically and environmentally.
  • The high initial costs. Boreholes cost money upfront. This is more of a disadvantage to the businesses consuming small amounts of water.
  • The number of boreholes in a given area. If there are a significant amount of boreholes in your area, it can deplete groundwater levels. This can cause considerable supply issues in the future and is something to take note of. It will cause the reduction of water in streams and lakes nearby, causing the loss of wildlife and habitat.
  • A stringent treatment process is needed. Borehole water cannot be used directly for all forms of consumption (food and drink production, for example). You will need to ensure that water is tested and a water purification system is installed, ultimately increasing costs.