Well Project 2013

WoodChuck'r

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Jan 8, 2012
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Finally got this project goin' with the little warm spell we've had. I've been hauling water since 2008 and it's finally time to do up a well.

Simple enough project really - dig a 4ft by 4ft by 8ft deep hole, toss in a 10' piece of 24" culvert vertically, back fill the hole with pea stone, and let'er fill.

I wanted to dig the whole thing by hand. I had my buddy Branden help me out with the project. On Thursday we got the first 4' no problem (took a full day of digging). The first foot was topsoil, the next 3ft was a brown colored hardpacked clay (heavy as hell but it stayed in tact and didn't collapse or break apart). The next 4ft was a different story. It's a grey colored clay, and when it gets saturated it turns practically into soupy quicksand. Water started to gather in the hole and almost instantly that stuff was really hard to scoop out. I tried and tried to shovel/scoop it out by hand but it continually kept filling in from the sides. The walls wouldn't stay up like the 3ft of brown clay above it, it was literally like pancake batter. I had a huge desire to do the whole thing by hand but I wasn't able to scoop it out faster than it would flow back in, so I bugged my neighbor down the road who has a backhoe. He shoveled it out in about 30 minutes and we got the pipe in.


Starting the dig.






Dan (the westspartan) givin' me a hand.




MuddChuck'r



That was the first day. We got down to a little over 4ft deep (but we got the center hole to about 6ft deep with the post hole diggers). The hole didn't fill with water right away like I had expected, so there were some doubts that this part of the yard was even going to work. But by Friday morning, there was over 6' of standing water in that hole. :)

Covered it up the night before, it was supposed to rain. If only a tiny bit of water got in the hole, I wanted to be sure it was ground water and not have rain water get in there to skew the results. Didn't matter though as it was full of water the next morning.





Unloading pea stone.


Didn't get much done with the actual hole on Friday, I did a lot of running around to get a ton of stuff for getting the pipe in. Got muh culvert and muh lumber. At this point I hadn't dealt with that grey quicksand/clay. I planned on building a 4-sided wall out of 2x3's and OSB to keep the walls from collapsing in on me as I dug deeper. It was a decent design idea and theoretically the wall would travel down with me as I removed more material.





Saturday, 9:00am. Rented a 2" sump pump, ready to rock with getting this wall built and down in the hole.










Throwin' the wall together.


It fits!


 
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WoodChuck'r

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Disastrous mess. At this point, after 3hrs of digging, the wall was not going down any further and that soupy clay/quicksand was getting harder and harder to scoop out and stand in. The sump pump didn't have the ass to push the mucky water out so it was filling up quick with not much of a way for me to get the water out. And standing and working in it just made a slurry of thick mud that became nearly impossible to manage.


I was about to call it a day and look into renting a mini excavator next week to finish this up. But Dan and I went to our neighbor who owns a backhoe. He was more than happy to come over and do some digging. He came right over - but I hadn't drilled holes in the grooves of the pipe yet. So we had to scramble to get hundreds and hundreds of holes drilled in that pipe - as soon as the digging was done we had to get that pipe in the hole before the walls started to cave in.

Dan and Branden drilling a thousand holes a minute.


The big guns. Yanked out the wall brace and went to work.




Like I said, I tried to dig this stuff out for 3hrs. There was absolutely no chance of me digging this stuff out by hand. No chance at all, not when it was this sopping wet....


















Blurry as hell, he hopped on it to get it straight. The bottom was kinda wet so it needed a touch of persuasion.


Pea stone ready.


I didn't have much pea stone, but we raced to get as much in there as we could before the walls caved in.


Only had so much stone, so we tossed the wall brace back in the hole and backfilled with the pea stone about as high as the bottom edge of the wall. Now when the walls cave in they won't smash up against the pipe.




Gotta get more gravel on Monday. Should be completely backfilled by then. Once that's done I'll have my neighbor come back with his backhoe and we'll chain onto the wall brace and yank it outta there.

So far so good. Just checked on the pipe a little while ago, and the water level is currently at 4ft or more. :thumbsup:




I really wanted to do the whole thing by hand. Little bummed about it, but sometimes ya can't win'em all...!!
 
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jrepairsk70e

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why dont ya just drink out of the pond that ya pumped the mud water into ?? where I come from ..thats not a well its a cistern ,gathers surface and rain water ,,,good for watering the lawn an washin cars an flushin toilets [I know ...yours doesnt flush ] :cool!::lol:mine is 490 ft deep ,comes up cold n clean
 

WoodChuck'r

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Yeah it's essentially a "cistern well". But I can guarantee you it will NOT be collecting rain or surface water - the little bit that gets in will be filtered by the ground, I guarantee this water will test perfect.

This culvert collects solely spring water. I'm nowhere close to being done, I gotta pour a slab over the pea stone to keep any surface and/or rain water from getting in. But before I do that I'm gonna spread a heavy layer of that clay over the stone once it's done being backfilled. Gotta do everything I can to keep anything from seeping in from the top. The last thing I want in my well is surface water...!
 

jrepairsk70e

any name [cept shithead]
Jan 10, 2012
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no more wizzin in the back yard jason [unless youre into recycling your liquids] . if there is a spring nearby ,why wouldnt you just build a resevoir an roof over it ??seems like you are doing alot of work for a questionable volumn and source :eek:
 
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PB

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Looks good Jason. Did you have the water tested before you went through all the trouble though? At 8' down you are certainly going to be getting surface water and run off especially with that creek so close. How high did you drill your holes? I would check your water regularly for the first year, and especially after hard rains. Last thing you want to drink is arsenic. Well, knowing you, maybe not. :)
 
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the westspartan

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Nice pics! I am glad you didn't post the ones of me frolicking in mud with my top off!

To all the doubters:
I got the exact same setup not 150 yards from where Jason put his and we have all the water we need even in the driest months. Ours is eight feet deep and yields over 300 gallons at a time if you pump it dry real quick with a high volume sump pump, and it only takes an hour or so to completely recover. We run our washing machine, our sinks, our bath/shower, water the chickens and some of our gardens off it and have never had a problem. We have a 5 micron filter on it and a UV filter. Water is crystal clear and tasteless/odorless when it comes out. Had it tested before the baby was born and it checked out totally clean and soft with the only minerals being a small amount of calcium! The road Jason and I live on is called Spring Road for a reason. There is a lot of water on this hill. The little stream that you can see in some of his pictures runs year round and only fluctuates about and inch or two weather there is a drought or a monsoon. I've only seen it go dry once, and that was for about two days right at the tail end of this summer's drought. Our well was still producing all though it.

Now if we can keep the damn oil and gas companies out of and off of our nice clean water we'll be all set!
 
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PB

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Nice pics! I am glad you didn't post the ones of me frolicking in mud with my top off!

To all the doubters:
I got the exact same setup not 150 yards from where Jason put his and we have all the water we need even in the driest months. Ours is eight feet deep and yields over 300 gallons at a time if you pump it dry real quick with a high volume sump pump, and it only takes an hour or so to completely recover. We run our washing machine, our sinks, our bath/shower, water the chickens and some of our gardens off it and have never had a problem. We have a 5 micron filter on it and a UV filter. Water is crystal clear and tasteless/odorless when it comes out. Had it tested before the baby was born and it checked out totally clean and soft with the only minerals being a small amount of calcium! The road Jason and I live on is called Spring Road for a reason. There is a lot of water on this hill. The little stream that you can see in some of his pictures runs year round and only fluctuates about and inch or two weather there is a drought or a monsoon. I've only seen it go dry once, and that was for about two days right at the tail end of this summer's drought. Our well was still producing all though it.

Now if we can keep the damn oil and gas companies out of and off of our nice clean water we'll be all set!

I have no doubt that he will get enough water, but I am 100% certain he will be getting rain/surface water at 4-8'. :) Have you checked your water seasonally? Soil and chemical decomposition is cyclic. If it is clean year round I think it is a great setup. If you guys are above shale, downstream from farms, etc., then I would be more concerned. Filters and UV light will take care of most stuff, but for arsenic, pesticides, anything smaller than 5um, you will need a reverse osmosis system. If this was for non-potable purposes I wouldn't bat an eye, but drinking water is not something to be taken lightly (I am not implying that you guys are). I just want you to drink lots of clean water! :cheers:
 

PB

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The water in wine and beer is more pure than tap water here. I'll stick to that! :beer: I mean, it is a good way to get your daily intake of water right?
Our city water here is brew ready. :) About as close to perfect as you can get for good tasting beer. :cheers:
 
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