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digging a well

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by dragon0351, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. dragon0351

    dragon0351 Monkey+++

    I'm looking to dig a well myself. I don't have 15,000 to buy a huge rig. does anyone know of a smaller "homeowner" level rig?
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I don't know of anything offhand. I think the big rigs replaced the shovel system.
    My average wells in TN run about 250-400 feet deep. But, we dig them wherever we want to where before the shallow "hand dug" wells were placed a little more smartly.

    I have a hand held auger. I have rented much more powerful handheld agers and it would be nothing to fabricate extension rods to continue deeper... to a point. I'd say that if you need to drill a hole much deeper than 5 feet, you will have problems with that type setup.

    Problem is that you need to remove that dirt and rock. My driller charges me $5 a foot and $8 per foot of casing. (I average 80' of 8" casing).

    Now, if you have a spring or underground creek, it's a lot easier. We are working on a system like that for a woman right now. Pump from the fairly slow spring into a 1000 to 1500 gallon storage tank and pump to a pressure tank from that point.
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    There are a few meathods that can be used. One way for a shallow well is a driven well which is basicly a piece of pipe pipe with a point on the bottom end and has holes in the side near the bottom and you drive it into the ground like a fence post adding extentions as needed.

    Another meathod a guy mentioned he had done was kind of like Melbo mentioned with the auger. He had pparently done one with a Bobcat and you can mount augers on them that come have bits for up to an 18" diameter hole. Then he got several shafts and made up extensions for it and drilled it down that way. Not sure what he did to get the stuff out but I guess drilled it down about 30' or so. I suppose you could just set up something along the lines of the scoops kind of like the old hay grabbers where its open and you drop it down into the loose dirt then pulling on the rope closes the scoop around a load of dirt to be hauled up.

    Then, while the most dangerous and least desirable, theres the old fashiond way of grabbing a shovel and a rock bar and 'just do it' by hand.
  4. <exile>

    <exile> Padawan Learner

    This is a subject that I haven't researched in awhile since we've gone the rainwater path, but here is one company I'm read some good things about. http://www.deeprock.com/
    Also check the web for used ones.

    Here's another:

    Added: There are other companies that I recall coming across that manufacture do-it-yourself equipment as well however depth was a requirement that affected whether the DIY kit was sufficient for the landowners needs.

    What is the average depth of wells in your area?
    What are you monthly requirements for water (gallons)?
    How many inches of rainfall do you get a year?

    Another tip is to call some missionary organizations that provide well drilling resources and ask them. Some of these groups are familiar with doing it on a budget.

  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I just read a report about Missionaries in Rawanda that can dig a well for $3000 that waters a village of 750. That's just drinking water but still pretty impressive

  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Excelent links! That could be an awesome thing to have. I checked out the sites and the one that had more info on priceing and so on, you could drill up to a 6" hole 100' with the stuf included for just under $3k and can get the extentions to go deper for about $300/100' and drill up to 450' deep. Then you just get your mud, caseing, pump, screen and if desired the pea gravel and cement for each well you want to drill.

    In my area the comercial drillers normaly drill the well (chargeing by the foot) to around 400-500' BUT there is also shallow water filtered through sandstone generaly at 50' or less (have been told by old timers in the area there is water at about 20' on my place). So if I had a well drilled it would run me around $7k at least with no guarantee on price or sucess and once they are done I just have the hole. If I got one of those for $3k and maybe another $1k when could to get extention for full depth it can drill, then I could drill the main well and if needed/wanted a back up or 2 AND have the machine to drill for others if I wanted to now.

    What I could see being an even bigger deal on it would be as a prep. If TSHTF and you had one of those and some caseing, mud and fuel set back you could drill wells for folks who HAD been on county water or whatever and needed a well with the new situation, thus giveing you the oprotunity to be in an EXCELENT position for bartering your skill/equiptment for whatever you might need.

    I think this is something I may have to SERIOUSLY consider investing in.
  7. poacher

    poacher Monkey+++ Founding Member

    My cousin drilled wells for awhile and bought his setup. Now it wasn't cheap but he did drill for others so he was able to pay off the equipment fairly quickly. He converted his whole rig to propane because it was cheaper at that time and he had the hoses to fill from any standard house prop tank. You might look at what a rig costs and how you could drill cheaper than the competition.
    You drill yours for free and get a business out of it.

    Take care Be safe Poacher.
  8. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I have 2 well drillers as clients and I know the equipment is very expensive to acquire and to maintain. In CT, drillers need licenses from several agencies (they all cost +/- $100/yr) and have mandated drug and alcohol testing 4 times a year. In CT, it's difficult to cross the street without a pedestrian license but I imagine most states have some requirements if you are drilling for someone other than yourself.
  9. <exile>

    <exile> Padawan Learner

    Curious what the requirements would be if you rented your equipment to the person wanting to dig a well on their property and served as an adviser.
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It might have to be that you would just hire on to dog them a 'really deeep post hole' rather than drilling wells to work for others but the small rigs linked to would actualy cost a little less than half of what I was told by several local drillers to expect to pay to have them drill a single well for us of a similar depth to what these will drill.

    I was told to expect to pay at LEAST $5k and probably closer to $10k for it to be drilled and cased to 450-500' the one rig with the extentions to go to 450' (which it says it can do) would run about $5k, but if it only had to be 100' or less it would be about $3k for the equiptment. Figure add $500 for caseing and such to finish it and even if its 450' it costs about the same as the lower end of haveing it drilled and you can drill more holes if desired/needed for just the price of fuel and caseing.
  11. Joe Dan

    Joe Dan Monkey+++

    That's what I did.
    Helps to have a partner up top to pull up the full buckets of dirt/rock
  12. 410

    410 Guest

    I've been looking in to different ways of doing this myself as well the past couple of weeks. I haven't decided the best route yet, but will definitely check out those links and keep an eye on this thread.
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