Windmill for pumping water

Q. We are interested in building our own windmill but find very little material on the subject. We have 34 acres and an excellent well. Would you suggest some source for a do-it-yourself windmill for pumping water? Orville John Roseburg, Oregon

A. Local newspapers and libraries are good sources of information about windmills in particular localities. Also check the Yellow Pages under "windmills" for nearby firms.

We found a dandy book in our local library called "Windcatchers," written by Volta Torrey of Brattleboro, Vermont (Greene Press, 1976). In its Appendix II, Pages 217-218, are the names and addresses of eight American windmill manufacturers and four sources for windmill plans.

Two of the eight US manufacturers are Wind Power System, Inc., PO Box 17323, San Diego, CA 92117, and North Wind Power Company, Warren, VT 05674. Two of the four sources of windmill plans are VITA (Volunteers for Technical Assistance), 3706 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 20822, and Windworks, PO Box 329, Route 3, Mukwonago, WI 53149. The latter firm also has a bibliography on windmills.

Many firms are affiliated with the American Wind Energy Association, 1621 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009. The director is Ben Wolff and the phone number is (202) 667-9137. have data on windmills. Get in touch with the Oregon State College at Corvallis and the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Federal and state agriculture departments have bulletins or folders on windmills.

As a boy I lived on a ranch near the little town of Ramona, California, where we had a windmill that pumped water some 900 feet with a lift of about 70 feet. When a strong east wind toppled the old mill, we quickly got up to date and installed an electric water pumping system.

Now it may be almost time to abandon the electric pump and return to the windmill.

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