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If you have a pump, a well, a septic system, or an outhouse ...
If you winterize your water system or use it year round ...
Or if you simply care about the quality of the water your drink,
Cottage Water Systems will save you time, money, and headaches
Cottage Water Systems is written specifically with cottages -- and cottage problems -- in mind. It explains in a clear, easy-to-understand style how each component of the water system works, with dozens of tips on installation and repair, as well as troubleshooting guides to help you diagnose what's wrong with your system. Each chapter is accompanied by explanatory diagrams and illustrations.
Cottage Water Systems includes:
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Max Burns is a regular contributor to Cottage Life magazine, and how won several National Magazine Awards for his work. He specializes in how-to journalism, and the subjects he writes about are as varied as his interests -- everything from docks to butter tarts. He is currently building a passive solar home within shouting distance of his cottage in northern-Ontario. Cottage Water Systems is his second book.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1: Overview
The cottage, the world, and this book
The practice of trooping off to the cottage doesn't go back generations in my family, as it does in some cottage dynasties I know. My folks started making the trek about the time Dad bought his '49 Ford. Initially, it was to Treasure Island on the shores of Lake Ontario near Kingston. By the time Dad bought a '56 Ford, we'd moved westward and were now cottaging on the Bruce Peninsula, Lake Huron side. About two years after he traded the '56 in on a '58 Ford, we'd moved to Montreal, spending summers by Lake St. Louis or down in the Eastern Townships. By '65, we were back in Ontario but, despite his having bought another new Ford, Dad's interest in cottaging waned. Looking back now, I think he was more of a Ford man than a cottager. I was hooked, however, and I now live full-time in cottage country. You couldn't drag me away, even with a new Ford.
Historically, this thing we call a cottage, cabin, camp, or chalet has been a vacation home, at one time nothing more than a rustic building to keep most (or at least some) of the rain and bugs away whenever we weren't frolicking outside. For many, this minimalist vision of the cottage remains. Yet for others, the cottage has slowly edged towards becoming a second home, complete with most of the conveniences of life back in the city. What binds these apparent opposites together is the object -- outdoor fun. The cottage is permission to break out of one's role in life, if just for the weekend. It is a place where good relations with neighbors and families are not only still possible, but also encouraged. It is also the closest connection many of us have to Mother Nature.
THE ADVANTAGES OF DOING IT YOURSELF
The most obvious connection to nature is via the cottage water system. This system is whatever means we use to obtain water and whatever means we use to expel it (including the water that has been run through the human digestive system) after use. It includes all manner of conventional cottage connections such as a water pump to an intake line, and a toilet to a septic tank -- as well as more traditional alternatives such as a rain barrel and an outhouse.
The cottage water system is a private system; we are the owner/operators, totally responsible for all its strengths and failings. It can be a serious pain when it ceases to function -- because as the owner/operators, it's our job to fix it.
Granted, there's genuine pleasure to be derived from do-it-yourself projects, particularly at the cottage where part of the fun is in the fixing. Repairs, construction work, landscaping -- nothing seems beyond the cottage handyperson equipped with a $10 tool box (tools included).
The other neat thing about doing it yourself is the control it affords. You're not waiting for a tradesperson who might be out wind-surfing because the wind's up, instead of fixing your broken pump or pipe. (Can't understand this lackadaisical lifestyle cottage country seems to foster.) By doing it yourself, you get the work done to your schedule -- running water, no waiting. And, of course, the money you save ends up in your new-boat fund instead of the plumber's.
Even if we don't do the work ourselves, it sure saves money to know why it's being done a certain way. (Or maybe why it shouldn't be done a certain way.) Because when the trades-person does find time to visit, nine times out of 10 we're standing over the poor guy, paying out umpteen dollars an hour for the privilege of interrupting to ask dumb questions.
So Cottage Water Systems is not just a how-to book, it's also a "why?" book. It has always been my belief that given the reasons why, folks are more likely to do the job right than if they're simply told how to go about some esoteric task. Knowledge converts the drudgery of work into understanding. Understanding puts you in control, which is where you should be as the owner/operator of your own water and sewage system.
Books on basic plumbing abound (some are even worth reading), but plumbing as it pertains to cottaging has been largely overlooked. What makes cottage plumbing different from that serving other rural residences is that cottages are used on a part-time basis, they're sometimes more remote and on more rugged terrain, and cottagers are willing to entertain alternative approaches to water and waste management. System oddities are often viewed by cottagers not as hardships, but as part of the cottage experience. Cottage Water Systems emphasizes those components and processes that pertain specifically to cottages, giving them links to mainstream plumbing.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL ARGUMENT
The most important link, however, remains that direct connection to Mother Nature. Regrettably, it hasn't always been a good one. In the introduction to Bungalows, Camps and Mountain Houses, a book first published in 1908, author William T. Comstock wrote, "Often the lake or stream which has been the most attractive feature of a site has been rendered noxious by the drainage from the dwellings on its shore. Whereas, this matter, if properly considered at the start, could have been so handled as to maintain the original purity of the adjacent waters." Writing styles may have changed since 1908 but the facts haven't -- the connection between cottage and nature can be good or bad.
While it is true that agriculture and industry are the principal villains in the degradation of cottage water resources, cottagers themselves are certainly not innocent bystanders. But can one faulty septic system really ruin an entire lake?
Although I don't normally stoop to advancing the theories of economists, one member of this profession did have a good idea. During the '60s, Alfred Kahn came up with a concept he called the tyranny of small decisions. This catchy phrase describes the cumulative effect of a series of small decisions. For example, adding "just" the overflow from my septic system after a long weekend admittedly won't seriously pollute a large body of water. But add to that the effect of similar contributions from my neighbors and gradually the water becomes unfit to swim in, let alone drink. As every little bit helps, so too can it hurt, another reason to know the "whys" of our actions.
As part of the research for this book, I contacted 48 states, 10 provinces, and several federal agencies for information pertaining to regulations governing private water and sewage systems. (Alaska and the Canadian territories were left off the mailing list because they don't have enough summer; Hawaii, because it doesn't have enough winter.) The response was overwhelming, to the point that I might even take back some of those disparaging remarks I've made on occasion regarding the work ethics of government bureaucrats. Or at least say thanks.
The common theme to this amassed collection of regulatory paperwork is diversity of approaches and policies. I have on file about 60 different ways of "doing it right". In some jurisdictions a cottager is darn-near free to follow the whims of conscience, while in others it's easier to get a divorce than to put up an outhouse. (In my jurisdiction, friend Dave was recently threatened with divorce if he didn't soon provide a suitable indoor replacement for the outdoor loo.)
Out from under this mound of jurisdictional divergence of opinion come the obligatory caveats. Do not purchase any specialized piece of plumbing equipment or make any alterations to the cottage water system without getting prior approval regarding use and installation, preferably in writing. It may be necessary to get this approval from several government agencies and levels of government, such as those responsible for the environment; natural resources; conservation; public health; navigation of waterways; the welfare of fish; building, plumbing, and electrical codes; and local bylaws.
Hard to believe that many people could
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Book Description Cottage Life Books, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M096969220X
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