02 Nov 2012

What is the well drilling process? PART 1

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Getting a well drilled is a huge deal. Let’s face it, drilling a well is the largest part of your home or business’ working water system. The very source of your water as well as your water pressure. There are good wells, ok wells and bad wells.

So, what does the process of drilling a well look like? What all goes into the preparation for and the drilling of a water well?

It really all begins with the selection of a place to drill. Some of the things that go into this choice are the proximity to the home or business’ mechanical room, the levelness of the site, the presence of trees or other obstructions that would hinder being able to set the mast of the drill rig up. Finally, we should consider the presence of any contaminants that could get into your water well. These would include (but not be limited to) septic, sewer, buried fuel oil tanks, streams, creeks or ponds that could overflow or any other thing that COULD get into your water well. We need to drill in a place that is somewhat level, clear of overhead obstructions and within code when it comes to potential contaminates (the most common one we need to watch for is the septic system. In Indiana you must be at least 50′ from any part of any septic for a home).

Now we didn’t cover whether or not there was water present in the location of the desired spot for a reason. That reason is simple…until we drill in the most logical place for the positioning of a well, we should NOT move the placement of the well from that spot unless a dry hole is incurred. In other words, since we can’t see through the earth we should not assume that there is NOT water in the most convenient place to drill. And convesly we should not assume that there IS water in another spot on the property either. It can be an embarrassing thing to lead someone to a spot to drill 300-500 ft from the home and hit a dry hole and then end up drilling in a convenient place and making a gusher. Not a pretty picture.

You may ask “don’t you hit alot of dry holes that way?”. We really don’t. We average a good well on the first attempt on about 85% of the lots that we drill on. The other 15% of the properties we usually hit on the second attempt by using an age old process for finding water. We look at the lay of the land when determining this location and have found it to be very successful, but you may not want to drill 300-500 ft from the home until you know there is a problem finding water in the most logical place (by the home or business) to drill.

What about witching or dowsing? Well, we hold a bit of an unpopular belief about that. We have just not found witching to be a reliable way of finding hidden aquifers. We wish there was a foolproof way of finding underground water sources, but the only dependable way is to drill and look for it.

What about maps that the state keeps on such aquifers? These are not a detailed map showing water on properties that have not been drilled on. These maps have been constructed by real live well logs (a form that has to be filled out for each well that is drilled by a licensed contractor showing depth and formations etc) and kind of connecting the dots to show where certain large aquifers travel. They don’t help when it comes to your property if you haven’t had a well drilled yet unless you lie in between a couple of dots. These maps are a good rule of thumb. In fact even cities and towns use exploratory drilling to determine where the best place to drill larger production wells should be located.

I hope this is helpful as you consider drilling a new well. There is a bit of risk involved with drilling a new well, but it is not too hateful. It’s wonderful to be the self sufficient owner of a high quality, long lasting, water well that doesn’t need to be injected with carcinogens (chlorine) in order to make it palatable and safe to drink. Cold and clean well water ready for a pump system of your choice and a little water treatment (both of which we will be talking about in future blogs).

This concludes part 1 of drilling a water well. Next week we will discuss the art of well drilling, a craft as ancient as some our oldest pieces of literature.