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Old 09-21-2010, 10:21 AM
9,807 posts, read 12,698,587 times
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Not as simple as it sounds.( message to the OP )

I lived my first 32 years on the home farm where we had a hand pump.

The well was 30 ft deep ( about 16 ft dug with curbing and 14 ft more pounded)

Excellent tasting water, but the neighbor who bought the place from me could not get any type of loan to build a house unless there was a drilled well at least 40 ft deep.

I also got a water witcher and pounded a 14 ft " sand point" for drinking water for the cows.

Pounding a point is not easy !

I had the advantage of our farm being in a valley and having black sand as soil------no rocks.

On the dairy farm I am on now, we had to get a new well drilled.
It is 67 ft deep and provides water for the house and over 100 head of cattle.

While drilling it, at about 40 ft, the drilling machine appeared to vibrate. The well driller said they were drilling thru a huge rock.

What in the world would you do poundin a point if you hit a rock at 40 ft with many hours( days even) of already pounding.

The deeper you go the harder the pounding gets.

Same principal as a pile driver.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:38 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
29,427 posts, read 46,789,172 times
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Originally Posted by marmac View Post
... I lived my first 32 years on the home farm where we had a hand pump.

Sir, did you, your family or your livestock ever get sick due to drinking water from a shallow well?

I suspect not, but it was brought up, thus my question.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:03 AM
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Our water on our well was so good tasting all the neighbors complimented us.

We lived right next to a RR that ran thru our farm .
When the section crew was heading north for the day, they stopped at our farm and hand pumped their 8 gallon insulated water container every morning. They stated we had the best water of anyone living along that track including the city water at the depot where they left from at 7:30 every morning.

But rules change and my pride was hurt when the new owner told me our well would not meet the rules in order for him to get a loan.

Since his dad was the one who bought the farm from me and had no intention of ever using our old farm house----------the well rule didn't affect me nor prevent the sale of the farm.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:25 PM
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 2,705,200 times
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Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Sir, did you, your family or your livestock ever get sick due to drinking water from a shallow well?

I suspect not, but it was brought up, thus my question.
What F.B. says is the crux of the decision to drill a shallow well fed by surface waters that are easily contaminated. Our well water on the farm was, unfortunately, not the pristine quality Marmac enjoyed, since the taste was tainted by iron and sulfur and arsenic levels were problematic. Also, it ran dry every summer. So, while we were able to drink it after treatment, it was not the optimum solution.

So I did a little research about shallow wells in my area (northwest Washington) and found this:

Since shallow wells penetrate into aquifers that are near the ground surface, they can become contaminated by barnyards, pastures, sewers, chemicals, or septic tank systems. Both rainfall and surface water runoff can carry pollutants down into shallow aquifers and well water. Since a hole penetrating an aquifer provides a direct route for contamination, wells must be designed to prevent pollution from entering and contaminating ground water.

A poorly protected well carries the following characteristics:
  • Is located within 100 feet of pollution sources, and is not sloped to divert surface water runoff away.
  • Does not have a sanitary well seal.
  • The annular space around the well casing is not properly sealed with cement grout or bentonite clay.
  • Does not have a pump house to protect the well-head, storage tank, and other equipment.
  • Has a well pit to house the pumping equipment or to permit access to the top of the well.
  • The wellhead protection area is not under the control of the operator or purveyor.
Shallow wells

With proper maintenance and operation procedures, including water testing and disinfection, I see no reason why a shallow well would not be an option IF it can be drilled. (It would be just my luck to hit that huge boulder 40 feet down...)
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:26 PM
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
9,645 posts, read 9,716,097 times
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Here is the video that I referred to earlier:


It's in two parts. You can find the second in the video links. As you can see, it's labor intensive. But it's done with relatively simple and inexpensive/improvised hand tools. It proves that if you are willing to put in the effort, you don't need to spend a mint or rely on mechanized everthing or high-tech solutions. It can be simple. Personally, I'd prefer to go through this process, rather than spending $10,000. But then... the moneygrubbers ain't gonna let that happen. Soon we'll be required to hire a "professional" to come in and wipe our butts for our own "safety."
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:54 PM
Location: Cody, WY
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It seems that those of us who actually have wells are in agreement. The well should be driven. It should be deep enough to filter any water seeping down. Handpumps are fine as far as safety is concerned. The main concern is to block contaminants from entering the water supply.

Have a contractor do the work. Hire a dowser (water witch) to pick a good spot. Did I cover it all?
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:01 PM
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Wells that are capable of producing a continuous flow of good quality drinking water are far different from those irrigation type shallow wells that are subject to a greater degree of surface water contamination. Most wells today that are in any but the most sparsely populated areas are subject to some contamination, valley wells that have higher ground housing developments in the area are often found to have a higher degree of pollutants in their water. Although our national water supplies on the municipal level are also questionable, I don't think I'd risk the cost of developing a less than top quality well.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:28 PM
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,271,260 times
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Driving a sandpoint well is hard work, especially if you hit rock (or permafrost!) but it can be done. You can drive a large bore snadpoint deep enough that you're not just getting surface water, but good ground water instead. A narrow sandpoint is only good up to 20 feet because that's the depth that your standard cistern hand pump is effective. But a large bore pipe acts as a casing that you can put a larger/deeper hand pump in... and it protects from contamination.

It definitely pays to know the water in your area. You can normally find drilling logs for all the wells in your area at the municpal registrar that should give you an idea how deep the good water is. Keep in mind that a lot of drillers will drill extra, just in case the water table lowers seasonally. There will also be "tried and dry" notes in the drilling records, which will give you an indication whether it's easy or hard to find water in your area. Even with all the fancy equipment, professions can miss the water in a hard-to-find area; and even without all the fancy equipment, the average person can find water in an easy-to-find area.

Now, where you'd get really lucky is if you drive a large bore sandpoint into an artesian spring. Praise the Lord, Hallelujah! Now you don't even need a pump, you just need a cap

Shallow dug wells can be, and have been, perfectly safe for humans. Surface water and shallow water is not automatically BLACK water. It's pretty simple to filter it of most "stuff", especially if you're pumping into a holding tank. Then you only have to purify your potable water by boiling, chlorine, what have you. The majority of water that we humans use is NOT potable water, and the water we use for other things certainly doesn't have to perfect... reasonably clean is good enough.

But, in the end, even crap water is better than NO water!
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:30 PM
5,062 posts, read 4,257,792 times
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There's an professional well driller known by the handle of Driller1 who posts on the Michigan board. While the OP is looking to side-step the cost of a professional, it might be beneficial to send a direct message to Driller1 and ask her to offer her opinion on your plan.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:10 PM
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Where to start........

Can you install your own water well......maybe.
The ground changes place to place.

Let us say you hit water...how will you grout this???

The first thing you need to do is contract your county for permits. This is to protect the aquifer. It is not all just about you.

Then do to the nearest ditch and try the water, it will be the same water.

Was this done in "the old days"???
Sure, many things were done before we knew better.
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