Water wells

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We just moved to a house with a water well that is 165' deep. I checked into a hand pump but was told that a length of galvanized pipe would need to be inserted and if the submersible pump ever went out, we would need a truck to come and pull this pipe out to repair/replace the submersible pump. Very expensive proposition per the expert. Therefore, would appreciate advice on options:

1) Use generator to operate submersible and worry about adequate supply of fuel (we do have propane and could get a propane generator but I guess these are less efficient and don't last as long. 2) Get a solar system. Would I have to replace the submersible pump? Or could I hook the present pump up to an inverter? 3) Dig a new well and place a hand pump on it. Again, 165' deep.

Since water will be a major need if y2k happens, I trust others out there would appreciate this information.


-- lparks (lparks@eurekanet.com), December 09, 1998


Go to http://www.inntec.com/watersource/index.html Call the number on the bottom of the page, and ask for Bob. He helped me out on my well last week. Very professional.

-- J.C. Anderson (cufkms@aol.com), December 09, 1998.

There is awindmill company, whose name, like his brochure, escapes me now, try a good search engine and talk to some of the windmill people. the brochure was very impressive in the capabilities of the windmill pumps.


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 09, 1998.

He happens to be in south central (I think?) Ohio and since my bride and I have decided to square out our rooms this weekend (currently round rooms with talus slopes, i understand there are a few chairs and a couch in one of them....Wee'll see.....) If I find the brochure, I'll post his address and number.


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 09, 1998.


Be aware that with options 1 and 2, a single-point-of-failure still exists "down the hole": the well pump itself. A backup submersible pump and/or hand pump would be wise regardless of your chosen option.

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), December 09, 1998.

I'm still trying to solve the water issue too.

Current well is 215ft deep, a 6-inch casing and the pump is at 200ft. No pit (has pitless unit). Sand all the way down to the bedrock at 215ft. Been looking at options that seem to be few and far between. Have spoken to 5 local water well professionals who all think I'm nuts. I don't talk to them about Y2K -- I just say that I'm looking to assure myself an emergency water supply. 3 of these people have said they'd call me back and none have (that's my first clue I should not be doing business with them). 1 flat out said he's not interested. The last one said that getting past the pitless unit would be just about impossible but that he would have to know what my static level is (the level to which water rises withing the casing).

Rates for a drilled well in my area are $15/foot.

This weekend, after a couple of unsucessful tries, I was able to measure that the water begins just 65 feet down. This sorta makes since considering the geology here. We are about half a mile away from a medium-sized river and approx. 60-70 feet above the level of the river. Between my house and the river are a couple of houses and the a large wetland/marsh area.

This would seem to be good news to me. I'm thinking that a second well would not necessarily need to be 215 feet, if I had a 110 foot well with a hand pump located at say, 100 feet, I'm still roughly 30ft under the static level.

I've also been considering a driven well that I might attempt to do myself - since it is sand all the way down. I understand they are practical down to about 100 feet.

Any thoughts here?

Also, because the river is typically fairly low this time of year, I'm think (maybe incorrectly) that the water table should not drop much below its current level (at least not by 30 feet). I suspect our property sits on top of an ancient channel of the river.

BTW, I measured the static level by taking some 10-lb fishing line, attaching a few split-shot sinkers and a small bobber just above the sinkers. I floated it in a 5 gallon bucket (filled with water and about a cup of bleach to make sure I wouldn't inadvertently contaminate the well) first to make sure that the sinkers didn't pull the bobber underwater. The pitless unit (about 6-8 feet down the casing) was a problem -- the first couple of bobbers would not slip past it so I kept switching to a smaller bobber and fewer split-shot sinkers until I had something that would slip past the pitless unit - but still float once it hit the water.

The next problem was that this rig was so light that the line kept sticking to the damp sides of the well as I lowered it. I got around this first taking the slack out of the line then giving the rig a sharp (but not dramatic) jerk upwards. As the bobber and sinkers fell, they pulled the line away from the side of the casing long enough to make some downward progress (5-6 feet per drop). When it hit bottom, we heard the "ker-plunk" -- we jerked up and repeated several times just to make sure we were at the bottom. We listened closely and could hear the splash as well.

We then removed the line from the well and measured how much line we had fed out -- 65 feet. Don't know if this technique might work on a deeper well but it seemed to work on ours.

Any comments on our options would be appreciated.


-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), December 10, 1998.

We have been looking into the same issue, for a 160' well. All my sources say it is physically impossible to pump by hand unless is it less than 25-30'deep. So far the info on solar is that you can use the existing pump if you get a lot of batteries and an inverter and construct a cistern somewhere (between the well and the pressure tank). In my area (NE) the whole deal would cost at least $4000, more likely $5000. And that is just to power the well, nothing else. Best source of info on this stuff is www.realgoods.com. They have an 800 # for technical advice (I hope it is well staffed!) Please let me know if you find out anything about whether or not you need a new pump if you go solar; my sources disagree on this.

-- jharan (wednesdayschild@hotmail.com), December 10, 1998.

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