Thursday, June 14, 2012

Considering the Drilling of a Supplemental Well

This is a well drilling truck   (Berg welldrilling)
This post was intended to appear prior to the last one.  For some reason, for a time, it disappeared from Blogger.

    With each passing day we hear more and more about a potential economic collapse in Europe, and how this would ultimately impact the United States, and the few decent jobs we have remaining here.  Here in the country, people are spooked.  We are also noting that a failure in the in the maintenance of the infrastructure means that we are without power here, at least weekly.   Of course, we do have back-up generators, but what happens when we are temporarily or even permanently out of diesel ?  How will we pump water from 300 plus foot wells, for which even the newest of hand pumps will not work ?  There is no municipal water out here.   There isn't yet mail delivery here !
               One of our neighbors is very concerned about this.  Our original strategy here when we built this farm was to throw our money into one really good deep well, and then work to keep that one pumping, and we do have plans for that.  I did promise though this week to them, that I would look into pricing a well or even two which could allow us to hand pump water through dug wells rather than drilled, which could make our journey with the animals in outlying areas of the farm somewhat easier. This is likely to be an expensive task.
               In Virginia,  1.4 million people continue to receive their water through privately owned wells. Wells are constructed through four methods, these are boring, drilling, jetting and digging.   Which one of these is chosen depends upon the geology of your property, and how much you can afford to spend.  Our primary well, which was expensive was obtained by hiring a licensed well driller to drill some 300 feet deep into the rock to create a path to abundant clean water, much the way someone would seek the remaining soda in a tall drink with a lot of ice in it.  Our farm necessitated a drilled well, the most expensive variety.  A large hydraulic well drilling truck arrives, and drills, and upon completion, tubes are placed in the path all the way to the water. The water comes up to the surface, through the work of a pump, and a cap on the top helps to prevent contamination.  All wells depend upon our being careful with pesticides, poisons, and animal feces etc. and keeping these away from soil so as not to have contaminants find their way into the well water supply.
             Sometimes, a bored well is possible.  Bored wells are the most common variety in our region. An earth auger is used to remove earth and a concrete casing is used to line the shaft to the water. Of course, these are also capped, but these are more vulnerable to contamination than deeper drilled wells.  A jetted well uses a high velocity stream of water in order to expose a location with water.  This of course, requires some type of a pump forcing the water to jet in this way.  This can be useful for certain soils, but is almost never done here.    A dug well is what was done here when the area was first settled.  In our area, improperly dug wells which were not sealed correctly were a cause of child deaths from shigella as a groundwater contaminant.   Our home in Canada has a drilled well which is more than safe and appropriate for the region.      Remember that what you may do in your state or in your nation may be very different from what is done here, because we all have differing geology and also because our climates and soil elements make contamination by different elements an issue.  For this reason, the prices of wells differ very broadly from place to place.

This is a dug well which us being lined in accordance with local laws.                 ( Photo: )

          Interestingly, the law here allows individuals to drill their own wells which is what the Mennonite and Amish population do.   This is not something my electrical engineer husband and myself know how to do, and so, we will likely need to hire a professional.   Of course, I would rather hire a Mennonite for less money !   When one hires someone to drill a well, you should check his license with the state, his reputation with your neighbors, and try to ascertain that if you have a well emergency, that he and his company will be available to repair your issue.  The references I am using to create this post also say that we should have a written Contract, but I have built several homes, and used a well contractor several times, and I never did.  I suppose I counted on the recommendation of my builder and the reputation of the well driller, and fortunately, these went well.

When a new well is installed, it is usually bleached to kill any of the contaminants which entered during the drilling process. This chlorine diminishes completely when the chlorine is allowed to complete its job, and then the chlorinated water is flushed out before actual use.
          Anytime you have a well drilled, the water needs to be tested for contamination afterward at a lab.

Please also see our companion post:

Extra well information:

UPDATE:   From July, 2012   On how we chose to operate our well during protracted power outages:


Mark Martin said...

Hello there! Glad to have a chance to drop by and learn additional information about this particular topic from your blog. Keep up the good work! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about hydrofracturing. You have an interesting and very informative page. I'll be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well.
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JaneofVirginia said...

Mark, Thanks for visiting. Please read our other posts on well drilling and water and please let me know if there is something else that should be the topic of some research and a blog post. In preparedness, water is absolutely essential, even before food supplies.