Advice from a Real Well Driller
I get lots of emails -
five to 10 per day - comments and questions mostly. I post the questions
that I think might be helpful to others. I occasionally hear from real
well drillers. Most are not too happy with the site. They point out
that wells drilled by genuine well drillers with rotary bit equipment and large
drilling fluid recirculation systems are superior to wells washed using the
technique that I have posted. And, of course, they are right.
I am certainly no
real well driller. I obviously have an interest but have never
worked on a well drilling rig. I just stumbled on some information
about a very inexpensive way to sink a well that I thought might be useful
to others so I posted it.
So, you can imagine
how thrilled I was when this email came in. It is from Bob Tabor
who has been a driller all his life. He doesn't resent our
using the inexpensive technique and he has some great insight that can
be useful to us.
He also has a great
site on pumps at
http://www.pumpsandtanks.com/ This is particularly
fortunate as I regularly get questions I can't answer about pumps.
Take a look at his site when you can.
I have been
browsing your website today. You have some nice videos and a lot
of helpful advice.
I have been in
the Well Drilling business since I was a kid and am 65 now. I have
a Website and Forum and today a poster put up a link to your site.
He is going to try a well according to your instructions. I only
had a few things to tell him which were: First, going a certain
depth not knowing what your going to encounter is not the
preferred method. You are looking for that nice clean sand that
can be one of many different colors. The way to tell when you get
there is that it just keeps washing up without you doing anything.
It is also very easy to wash into unless it is gravel. This is
where you want to put the screen from the point you
encounter this clean soft sand to at least three feet down below that.
Secondly, not to use anything that comes from big box stores. The
screens they sell do not allow much water flow. And the pumps they
sell are not that much cheaper than a quality pump sold by
a reputable driller or pump guy like myself.
that is missing is a good description on just how to find the nice clean
sand or small gravel that actually gives the water your looking for.
I think most people think that by putting a pipe in the ground they will
obtain water. Another thing that is usually misinterpreted is the
fact that they can dig a hole two feet deep and get water. Yes you
can, but this is not a well and it won't produce enough water to feed
Another piece of good advice is telling
them to look for a good quality screen. The big box stores PVC
screens are junk.
A good slotted stainless steel screen made by a few manufacturers is
best. Johnson has been around the longest. The more slots,
the more water. And you can beat on the SS screens.
He continues in another email:
I haven't done a shallow well in several years. And there are so many
different ways to do one. When I was a kid we knocked them in with a
home made hammer. It weighed about 60 pounds, had two handles on the
side and a stem that went inside the 1-1/4" pipe. About 100 whacks and
it was time to take a break. They all went about 20 to 30 feet deep.
That was in Michigan. Here in Florida, most of the shallow wells are
washed in similar to what you do. The difference is, you use 2" pipe
as the casing, and 3/4" as drill rod. Cut in on a 45° angle, push the
water down the 3/4" pipe and the cuttings come up the 2". The 2"
follows the hole as you drill.
I asked Bob to give us some more tips on how to tell when we hit
water bearing sand. He responds:
As for finding that sweet spot in the ground where the water comes from.
There are a few things I can think of that might help.
1. Sometimes when you start into a water vein, you will lose
circulation or your water flow will slow down. This means that the
material you are in will take water. Sand that will take water will
usually give water. The very top of these veins, generally don't
give much water, but as you get a foot or so into them, it gets
better. If your water flow slows down or stops all together, your
there. Now just get 3 to 10 feet of screen into that vein and you
will probably have a well.
2. When you're driving or washing a pipe into the ground, you will
encounter different types of soil. Dry sand, clay (blue, gray,
white or red), top soil, hard pan etc. Generally the hardpan is
just above your water vein. So it will be hard for a few feet then
hopefully get real easy. The real easy part should be the vein.
3. When you think your in water and you have put in the screen with the
washing method, try pumping the well with a Pitcher Pump. While
driving a well, try the pump after each 5' section. Pour water into
the spout with your hand over the opening while pumping the handle.
If the handle goes down hard and wants to pop back up, you're not
there. If it goes down easily and stays down so that you have to
pull it back up. You're in water.
4. All pumps hate air. All joints must be tight and leak proof.
NEXT: Another Home Driller!