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Ready to hand drill a back-up well

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by rlnjr57, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. rlnjr57

    rlnjr57 Monkey

    I've put together the classic pvc water drill and will be starting to drill in a day or so, but some loose ends.
    • My existing well is 24' deep and the pump is at 20' and static level is close to 10' in a 4" casing.
    • I plan on using a pitcher pump
    • I'm drilling with a 3" pipe (wanted to use 2", but needed room to slide the drive point, etc.) and using 1 1/4" pipe and hardware with a 36" well drive drive point.
    • I'm in SE Michigan, so need to prevent freeze.
    1. I would like to leave the 3" in as a casing so I have a shot at pulling the screen up for cleaning, etc. and protecting the riser, etc.
      1. If water is at the same levels as my existing well my thought was to drill to 24' (ish) and put the bottom of the screen about 20'? Any risk of the 3" getting plugged below the screen?
    2. I have a foot valve and check valve, but not sure I should use them with a risk of freezing.
      1. As an example - if I put the check valve at 10', I would maintain 10' of water from the screen and up the riser, but wouldn't the water above the check valve and at / above the frost line be trapped as well? I've seen suggestions for a weeping hole, but someone clarified that should only be done in deeper wells where the pump is submerged.
      2. With the well drive point I don't see a use for the foot valve?
    Any other advice / insight more than welcome.

    Thanks in advance
    chelloveck and snake6264 like this.
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor Site Supporter+

    I helped as a child, dig several urban wells in Ohio, just north of Dayton, 20 miles or so. This was farmland, turned to housing developments in the 50s. I observed much of this closely. They did a lot of site work to level things out a whole lot more than the more natural farmlands were. ............. Get to the point Tac! LOL, talking to myself. Okay here it is. You may have several feet of topsoil on the surface where you are at. We did. We also had tons and tons of Glacial rocks of varying sizes in layers under that top soil. Also layers of clay and flint rock. Most of the rock layers varied as well from pea sized to softball size and larger. There were boulders mixed in this layered strata as well. I have no 100% answers for what you have asked. I did want to stress some of the possible pitfalls of your neighbors to the south. I wanted to make sure you were aware of the many Glaciers that extended and retreated over the area to your south. It may or not be a problem where you are at. Mother nature tricks us and hides stuff from us. Some of the wells that we dug by hand below basements (that's 8 to 10 foot prestart on the well) were dug as a bucket brigade, hauling out those rocks by rope and bucket with a pre-tween in the hole (also with a rope around their torso below their arms). Hell this would probably be called child endangerment today. Most of the wells that failed started at grade outside the house, and a few were stopped by codes enforcement (it was being dug/pipe drove in the open). Often even starting in basement and hand digging (usually till we hit water at less than an additional 10 foot of depth), then the 2" galvanized steel pipe sections with a well point leading the way would be driven an additional 10 foot or more (rocks were such a problem that more than one well point was used before finally getting it done). I hope this doesn't discourage you too much, and I hope you an easier less frustrating success.
    These wells were dug by WW2 veterans who didn't need pencil pushing geeks telling them what they could and could not do on their own land. Many were former farm boys (now men) who had a can do spirit and didn't give up easily. Good luck to you, from an ex Buckeye to a damn Wolverine.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  3. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Unfortunately, you probably live in an area with a county health department. You are probably going to want to make sure that you don't run afoul of zoning restrictions / building codes.

    Because if you do, and they find out you have an unpermitted well and let's say something happens and the aquafer becomes compromised ... you are going to be footing the bill.

    Just make sure that you look at the codes and make sure that you are in compliance. There might be differences between a household supply well and an 'irrigation' well.

    I don't think you want to become the cash machine that is going to be used for the county health department Christmas office party.
  4. Tempstar

    Tempstar Praeclarum Site Supporter+

    I've seen pitcher pumps with long pump rods that had the pump leathers 3' below grade and the weep hole was in the casing above the leathers. With a submersible pump for something like irrigation it's pretty common to have a 1/4" hole in the riser pipe before it leaves the casing for drain back of the lines.
    We're in sandy soil here but about the same depths to the water strata. We commonly use forty thousandths slotted screen (5' or 10', depending on the draw down) in 4" PVC. I would do 4" so if later you wanted to drop a pump in, it would be there. We drill a 6" hole, drop the 4" casing and screen down, backfill the height of the static level with pea gravel, and grout the rest to stop surface contamination.
  5. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I know almost nothing about a hand dug/water flushed well...
    However I do own a Pump and Tank forum, and the experts there know a lot about hand dug & drill points pounded into the aquifer, out here where I live, I had a rotary rig drill my well, it's 100' they did it in just over a day, 6" casing all the way down. I have water in the small creek when it runs and if you dig with a backhoe water is about 5' down, however with the rocks there is no way I could ever hand pound in a well.
    Give pumpsandtanks.com a shout, ask for "speedbump" he's from Michigan, currently retired in Florida, he didn't want to keep the forum going so I adopted about 2 months ago.

    I hope blatantly advertising another site is not going to get me in hot water, and rlnjr57 please report back here to let all these Monkeys know what was suggested by speedbump.

  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    What ever you do around here means blowing a lot of rock dust while drilling, that includes "T" Post.

    Yes it takes a jack hammer and drill to put in T post. If you do not continually blow the dust out of the hole you will end up buying a new bit as the old one will be locked in the hole.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    No problem with cross fertilizing other sites, especially if they reciprocate.
  8. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Congrats, I think? :D (Finally decided to sell my forum, and did so this past February. Talk about a load off my mind.)
    Pumps & Tanks is a good forum, although a much different format from this one. Personally, I think they could compliment each other.

    Regarding pitcher pump wells, the only thing I know about them is, they have a limit of about 25 feet down, I think it is, to draw water from? @rlnjr57 , why not go with a solar or a mains powered pump, then go deeper with the well?
    Motomom34 likes this.
  9. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Correct on the 25 feet, I can explain that being from an Engineering background, basically what I tell people is that deeper than 25' (it's really about 33.9' at sea level at STP), that you start pulling water apart into vapor, they kind of understand that. If your high school Science teacher had a bell jar and a vacuum pump then he/she probably showed you that water can boil at room temperature if you pump all the air out of the bell jar. The 25' has to do with the air pressure at sea level, which if I remember correctly is 14.7 psi, so the weight of a column of water 25' high approaches that pressure, and if you are trying to suck it up it vaporizes. The solution in this case is to put the pump down in the water and connect it to the pitcher pump handle with a pump rod(s).

    3cyl, Asia-Off-Grid and Cruisin Sloth like this.
  10. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Basically I was told with a pitcher pump, you do not pull water out of the well, you create a partial vacuum and air pressure on the water pushes water out of the pump. Once the weight of the water column equals the air pressure, you are done with a simple pump that only sucks. Lots of old tricks, lower the pump cylinder into the well and push it out, use a jet and push it out, rotary pumps and again push it out, etc. My limited take on a well is that it takes a few things, depth to water table, quality of the water, recharge rate, etc once the well is in, and what you have to go thru, how big a hole you want and how deep it has to go, when you are putting it in. In more and more areas of the world, getting a legal right to put a well in, how much you can remove from the ground, and what you can do with the water may well limit you as much as the physical aspects. In my area, New Hampshire, I know of 10 foot driven wells that pump several gallons of high quality water per minute, and 16 miles away, a 5000 food deep well drilled thru granite that pumps 5 gallons a minute of iffy water. I would place a good reliable source of water at almost the top of the list in things needed for a survival location, and in many places, high desert areas in Utah, etc, perhaps at the top.
  11. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Here , WET Coast CDN / PNW I have 3 wells on the ranch 125' & 230' & 15' shallow , All are pushed from submersible style .
    my two deep wells are 6" steel casings & for freezing we use "Pitless adapters "
    These let the water come out way below the frost line of 2.5' . There is a check valve that is used at the bottom of the pitless adapter plus a one way check in the pump & another on the top of the pump , with 3 inline , I have never had a failure .[​IMG]
    I install with silicone grease for later removal after 30 years + ..

    The shallow well uses a boats bilge pump for irrigation & water storage during the wet season (Oct -May) . Check valves on them also after they made the 12 Feet up & are 2.5 feet under ground for no freezing .

    chelloveck likes this.
  12. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I do know that all the well guys that I have seen post about check valves will tell you that you have 2 too many check valves, more than one can cause problems... don't ask me how... but I've gotten along just fine will only the one in the submersible pump for 25 years, yes I have had pump failures but it wasn't the check valve.

    Good luck on that one, my dad did have a Berkley that lasted 28 years, but the average "good" submersible pump will last 7 years. Lowes pumps will last one month past the warranty period (3 or 4 years).

    Tempstar likes this.
  13. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Love the pit less adapters, if you look at a picture of it you you don't realize that it is an elbow and that the thread at the top is for a piece of pipe used to position it in the well. Around here, New Hampshire, they are usually positioned down about 6 feet in the well, to be below expected frost line, and I let some one with experience place it in the well. It is not as easy as you would like to think to install a pit less adapter on the well casing, install the correct pump at the desired location in the well with the right check valves, wire it correctly with the right lightning protection and correct operating voltage, have the right vibration dampers on the pipe from the pump to the pit less adapter, etc. Can be done, but doing it yourself once correctly will make you greatly respect a good well driller or pump installer. Getting done correctly the first time can be a work of art and hopefully not have it end up as a work in progress.
  14. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Don't know if it is true, as I have never had one. But, they say Windy Dankoff's pumps are top of the line and last for ages.
    azrancher likes this.
  15. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    my 125 ' DWP was installed in 1993 & still working well ;)
    25 years so far !
    The use of cheap "BRASS " valves over "Bronze" ones make the difference .
    The zinc in brass lets the valve break & cause the failure .
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
    azrancher and Tempstar like this.
  16. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Old plumbing stuff was much better, brass used to have some lead in it to make it better to machine, not allowed any more, and most pump parts were made with an alloy containing either tin or nickel, cost too much to make now, or bronze which uses tin rather than zinc. I find that the old air compressors,20 to 50 years old, have globe valves or 1/4 turn valves that work perfectly. The new ones, less than 2 years old in many cases, break when you try to close them or when opening them. Have seen water pump brass cylinders that have been in the water for a century in perfect shape and just replacing the leathers is all that is required to keep them running. The same with the run in oil windmill gears, can't remember one that was properly cared for failing. With the out sourcing and just in time manufacture, there is no real differences in most cases between US and imported. Same could be said for stainless steel and most electrical parts and bearings now. Real wild west out there when ever you need to buy anything from a hoe or axe to a house or truck.
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