It is helpful, when you are trying to drill your own well by hand, to understand how the pros do it. They have huge powerful machines but the basic process is extrememely similar. The nice folks at Johnson Well Drilling in Foley, Alabama were kind enough to permit us to video record their process and post it here.
In their drilling process, a drillbit is turned into the ground as water is pumped down the center of the drill stem. The cuttings from the bottom of the hole are washed up to the top in the annular space between the drill stem and the side of the hole. The cuttings come up and are dumped into a portable mud pit that is continuiously shoveled (emptied) during the drilling process.
Bentonite is added to the drilling fluid during drilling to keep the sandy sides of the hole from collapsing on the drill stem.
The process we will be using is almost identical but we will have to be a lot more patient!
In this video, Driller Mac Johnson, assisted by twin brothers Dalton and Dillon Moore, drill a couple of 250 foot holes for the purpose of installing geothermal loops of HDPE pipe. The loops are part of an HVAC system that uses the earth to sink and return heat for a heat pump. The drilling process used in drilling water wells is identical. As you proceed to drill your own well, you will no doubt gain a little respect for both the professional drillers and their incredibly powerful machines. I certainly have.