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Anyone Here Ever "drive" A Well?


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#1 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 06:51 AM

We have city water here where I'm at in suburbia, and I don't like to water the garden for money and chlorine reasons.

When they were putting in our town's septic system, a few feet down the road, they hit water at 12 feet and couldn't pump it fast enough to work. Delayed the project for a couple of days until they got some bigger pumps.

Now to tie those two thoughts together...
I'd like to drive a well on my property and use it to water with. I'm ok with a hand pump for all the bigger the garden is and with the terrain, I think the water would be about 20 feet down for me. Has anyone ever driven a well, and do you have any suggestions?

#2 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 07:13 AM

When I was young we did some dowsing and some well digging. The dowsing consisted of taking two peices of coat hanger wire, bending it into an "L" shape, then sliding one end of the "L" into a short piece of pipe which we held in our hands. You walked back and forth over the area where you wanted to dig the well and watched for the wires to cross. It was remarkably consistant, it felt like using a stud finder, "X" marks the spot. Success rate was about 50%, though it is possible that we were actually finding water that was just too deep to access. I know we drove at least 3 successful wells on the farm, though I don't think one should count, as we drove it more or less as a test near a creek floodplain where we truly expected the water table to be high. However, we dug two more, one for the house and one for the church, which worked for a number of years, and may still be producing water for all I know.
The wells themselves were hand dug, probably 3 feet in diameter, and cased. I don't think we had to go deeper than 30 feet. OSHA would throw a fit at the way it was done, looking back I'm rather shocked myself. I also dealt with a well at the last house my father bought. It was also a shallow well. Mostly, I remember that someone who was renting it tried to water shrubs and lawn during a very hot dry summer, and the well also supplied water to the house. They ended up calling me to complain that they had no house water, and we had to point out that they just couldn't water everything else plus the house. That ended the problem and I don't think the well ever went dry. I know that a few years after Dad moved back in, he spent some time hooking up the well to a pump to water his garden (The city had come through and the house was on city water.). I never saw him use the set-up, though. I don't remember if it lacked the capacity, or if there was some other problem.

Edited by HowardsMF155, July 10, 2012 - 07:16 AM.


#3 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 08:06 AM

The only dug wells I've seen here are made with concrete well crocks about 3ft in diameter. I don't think you could dig a 20ft pit by hand for those. Wells can get expensive in a hurry. Ours is drilled and is only 100ft and we have at least 10g/minute flow. Just across the street the wells tend to be 250-300ft and water quality is not good. Even for ground water you can find big differences in the depth of the water table over a short distance. Have you thought of installing some sort of cistern system to capture roof runoff? This could be an easier solution.

#4 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 08:31 AM

I think Alan is refering to driving a well in which is typically a steel pipe with a "well point" driven down into the ground.

#5 bhts OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 08:32 AM

The only dug wells I've seen here are made with concrete well crocks about 3ft in diameter. I don't think you could dig a 20ft pit by hand for those. Wells can get expensive in a hurry. Ours is drilled and is only 100ft and we have at least 10g/minute flow. Just across the street the wells tend to be 250-300ft and water quality is not good. Even for ground water you can find big differences in the depth of the water table over a short distance. Have you thought of installing some sort of cistern system to capture roof runoff? This could be an easier solution.


:ditto:

Our area is the same way. We have ours at around 75 feet but a buddy down the road had to go 300 feet before he hit water. Have you ever thought about getting one of the big 300 gal plastic totes and setting it up to collect the water off your roof? You could sit it high enough to run a garden hose to the garden and water that way. Would not be great pressure but would beat lugging those buckets.
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#6 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 08:35 AM

Mine is 220' and piss poor. House on city water now. The one for our parlor is almost 1/2 mile away at my son's house. It's 80' and can run water forever it seems. Another neighbor up the road 1/4 mile past my son's house is also 80', but sulfur water. He was VERY happy when city water made it out here.
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#7 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:14 AM

We have a lot of iron in the water in Nova Scotia and also arsenic in some areas. We have a small amount of iron in our well but not enough to cause a big problem. A few hundred feet up the road they have 30X as much and it's an expensive fix for that much iron. It's a big ? for anyone building a new house here and can cost you big$ to fix. I use a few of the 50gal plastic drums in the back of the house to catch water from the roof. It helps a lot for our small gardens. A few miles from me in the neighbourhood of our church some people have cisterns that they get filled with water from a truck. The water quality is so bad that it is nearly impossible to treat it. We have spent thousands at the church and can't find a system that can deal with all the problems long term.
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#8 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:26 AM

About 15 years ago I help one of our neighbors drive several wells. He used an old hit and miss engine and a 20' or so tripod with a pulley on the top. A rope was used to pick up a weight that weighed around 75 pounds. a trip mechanism was tripped which caused the weight to be released driving the drive point and casing into the ground. When the pipe being driven into the ground was flush with the ground a coupling and another 10' length of pipe was added. Every 5 feet or so a suction pump was hooked to the pipe to check for water flow.

We could usually drove 25 to 30' per day and drove a couple of wells over a hundred feet. Tedious process but it worked.

Bill

Edited by GTTinkerer, July 10, 2012 - 10:28 AM.

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#9 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:33 AM

Never have done it, but have seen it done. And like you have been considering it to water the garden.
Last year I had 3 springs on my place that ran water all year long. This year thy are dry, but I think a Sandpoint would bring water pretty easily?. In Iowa you can pump up to 5000 gal per day without having to get an irrigation permit. We are on County Water and it is not cheap. We are very fortunate in this area to have very good water.. The Jordan Aquifier(one of the largest underground rivers on the continent) is about 10 miles from town.
Howard mentions Dowsing, my brother Dan is very good at it. My family is Very devote Fundamentalist Christian and it really irks my Dad when he calls it witching for water. I've tried it and it flat does not work for me? But if you know someone with the knack it's worth a try.
Like has been said the water table varies greatly, I once lived on a place that had an artesian well 11 ft deep (I've been told the only time it went dry was the drought of 1936) and a half mile away the wifes uncle had a well 200 ft deep.

It does not have to cost a lot to try driving a well if water is close to the surface. And there are articles on the net that explain how to do it.
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#10 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:36 AM

Alan I Have driven many wells here over the years. If you don't have to many rocks in the soil it is not to bad.

I usually cut the pipe in 5' lengths so it is easier to work with.

You also need to get what are called drive couplings, a well point and a drive cap. If you use regular pipe couplings you can wind up crushing them as you are driving the sections into the ground, and that is not good as you want no leaks on this, other wise you will loose your prime constantly ( if you can even get it to prime).

It goes better if you have 2 people also. I set up a plank across the back end of a pick up truck (on top of the bed) this gets me high enough to lift the driver for the pipe.

You can buy or make the driver. I haven't googled it yet but I am sure there are some good pictures and or plans for one.

Then you take your 1st section of pipe and screw on the well point on one end and the drive cap onto the other end. Now just lift the driver over the pipe and let it go, It is weighted so in turn it starts driving the pipe into the ground. You can use a sledge hammer but depending on your soil, it can be a pain ( literally lol)

When you get the 1st section driven just above the ground then you couple another section of pipe to it.

After you get to the depth you want, put a pitcher pump on the end and try priming it with water, if you get water then you know you are at a good depth. It is best if you are going to use an electric water pump when you are done to take a garden hose hooked to a different water source, and feed it down the new pipe. Turn the water one and let it run for a few minutes, You will have sand and water coming out the top of the pipe with the hose in it. This helps to form a cavity, so you won't be sucking sand and silt constantly into your water pump.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions just ask.

Good luck :thumbs:
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#11 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 01:48 PM

:ditto:

Our area is the same way. We have ours at around 75 feet but a buddy down the road had to go 300 feet before he hit water. Have you ever thought about getting one of the big 300 gal plastic totes and setting it up to collect the water off your roof? You could sit it high enough to run a garden hose to the garden and water that way. Would not be great pressure but would beat lugging those buckets.


Here in Utah, the Legislature figures they're higher than God... it's against the law to collect runoff water from your roof... but they're also trying to require you to keep your runoff water from going down the gutter or storm drain... go figure.

My dad and neighbors drove several wells when I was younger. As others have said,there is a lot of variability in the water you get within short distances. My cousin drove a 200' well and got salt water. He moved west 50 feet and got good water with hardly any mineral or gas...a problem for most of the wells in that area.

Heck the mineral from our well was so strong I hardly had any cavities until I left home and joined the service... now I have a mouth full of gold. Water was strong-tasting, though.

My dad drove a well in a mining camp by taking the tire off the back wheel of a truck, and using it for a capstan to pull a rope up and down. He set up an improvised derrick about 20 high with a big pulley at the top. He started by driving a 2" casing into the ground using a concrete weight.

He wrapped the rope around the bare wheel a couple times, put the truck in low and blocked the other wheels. He'd pull on the rope to tighten it up and let the wheel pull the weight up, then release the rope so it would fall and drive the casing in. After he got the pipe started, he hooked a garden hose to a piece of pipe and put it in at the top of the casing so it would slide to the bottom. He pumped water through the hose which softened the dirt and made it easier to drive the casing in.

He'd alternate driving in the casing with running the hose up and down until he got the well dug. When the top of the casing was a foot or so out of the ground, he took off the adapter that the weight hit, and screwed another casing onto it, then started again.

I think that well was 50 feet or so...

FWIW,
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#12 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 06:37 PM

Great story Smitty! I love to hear how people take what's on hand and make it work to get the job done!
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#13 Cat385B ONLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 08:39 PM

I have hand driven well points before, what Chris M posted is what I did. Worked well, we hit a course sand and rock vein that was good for about 4 gallons a minute.

Another option is a drill rig. Not from a well outfit, but a construction outfit. An old outfit that does sewer and water, or someone that does gravel mining. They might have a small truck mounted drill rig capable of doing 25-30 feet in 3-4 inch diameter. I shoved lots of well points in behind one of those.

B2596.JPG
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#14 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:42 PM

Great story Smitty! I love to hear how people take what's on hand and make it work to get the job done!


Thanks...

My dad could do just about anything--overhaul an engine, build a house, blast ore out of a mine and tell stories like noboby's business. I have pictures of him in wooly chaps and a Tom Mix hat when he was wrangling cattle in Nebraska for Kit Carson's granddaughter.

I miss him--he's been gone since '84.
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#15 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2012 - 10:57 PM

My son seems to have the knack to water witch, but my Mom has a different talent.
She uses a brass button, string, & well or rain water.

She holds the button on the string over the surface of a half full glass, the button starts swinging and the number of times it taps the side is how many feet down to water.

She is actually very accurate... Little spooky ;)

I seem to have neither talent.




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