anything get oil out of well water?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by moparcolt, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. moparcolt

    moparcolt New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    ohio
    Had a small accident the other day and a small amount of oil got into the pit where my well casing is. The seal was bad on the top of the casing and some oil got into the ground water and thus into the well. It was a small amount but it tainted the water. It smells like motor oil!

    Is there anything I can do to get the oil out?

    Will it dissipate over time?

    How long will it take?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Chris
  2. TJanak

    TJanak New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    South TX
    Pump the well wide open until the smell is gone.
  3. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    Pumping the well will do no good. Oil is lighter than water, and will float on top of the water. When pumping a well the water will come in from the bottom.
    To get oil out of a well, it must be bailed out. It is very time consuming.
    Trying to use air to blow it out will be a waste of time as well, the oil will stick to the side of the casing.
  4. moparcolt

    moparcolt New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    ohio
    Isnt there something that will break it down?
  5. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    There is nothing that will break it down that I would want in my water. Anything that is put in the well will not only
    be in your well, but could also go into the water strata, and contaminate it, and render it polluted and unusable.
    Adding a contaminate to combat a contaminate is never a good thing.
  6. moparcolt

    moparcolt New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    ohio
    How would you go about bailing it out?
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    If the oil spilled onto the ground in the bottom of the pit and the well casing extends farther on down into the ground where water is then drawn from the lower end of the casing, I would think the oil slick should/would not have ever made it into the casing. So, are you sure the oil did not also go directly into the well? But to clean any small amount of oil from wherever, you might try adding some dish soap inside the casing and then running a garden hose with recirculating water from the well back in at the top of the casing until the oil is broken down, and then pumping the well out and away until all the suds are gone.
  8. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    NEVER put soap in a water well. If this water is for drinking, you would be in the bathroom for a very long time. If a small child were to drink this water, it could put them in the hospital.
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    What suggestion *do* you have, eh?! ;)

    If neither had been completely flushed out after a simple recirculation-treatment, any remaining bleach typically used for sanitizing a well would likely be far more potentially-harmful to a human than would a bit of soap used for removing a bit of oil ... and that kind of thing is commonly done by homeowners and professionals alike.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,383
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Oil floats on water. So I would think it best to skim it off the top instead of mixing it up in any way. Maybe just a bucket and a rope would be best. There are some very sophisticated ways of skimming oil out of wells. There is an entire industry dedicated to Ground Water Remediation. I have seen a cloth conveyor belt that skims the oil off the water. Maybe even dropping a rag on a rope would soak it up, since it is a small amount.

    The most important thing is to set up the wellhead where this cannot happen. Counter sunk wellheads or pits are not even legal in most states, and shouldn’t be in others. If you don’t have proper wellhead protection, anything that is on the ground can get in your well. And that is not a good thing.
  11. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    Go back and read my first post.
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,074
    Location:
    Maine
  13. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I had seen that, but the OP had mentioned the problem having originated outside the well ... and at that point, and without knowing exactly how the oil actually got into the well in the first place, an overall "sanitation" (scrubbing) type of approach would seem to address all possible issues. However, I freely admit that might only be my own DIYer approach.

    Peace!
  14. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,815
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I would drop a air line down and let the air bring the top part of the water and oil to the top.

    Or a Cotton rope may/could work.

    Then dish soap and then rinse.

    Then shoot whoever put the oil in there.
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    A single air line down the well that relies on the casing to carry the water up out of the well, would simply coat the inside of the casing as was mentioned. A second pipe with a packer seal to the casing could mitigate that.

    A submersible could be worked up and down at the water level to skim the surface but it would be abusive to the pump.
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,815
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Guess I would have screwed it up then.

    You would have to lower something down with the air hose, Cotton Yarn or Blue Jean Cloth.

    You can make a Swab from Blue Jean Cloth to clean the Casing if it does get oil on it.

    I never would have let Oil near my water well in the first place.

    Some people do not have Any smarts. Me included at times.
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Dish soap and lots of compressed air would emulsify the oil and allow it to be pumped for a few days. Then the oil is bound to the water. It would not come out of solution and coat anything.

    Lecithin blended with the soap would be a good idea, the ultimate emulsifier.

    Then a chlorine flush.

    Since he ALREADY smells oil in the water, it IS at the pump level for some reason. So forget the cotton swaps, guys.

    One way to emulsify this without compressed air is to set up a recirculation loop where you can add the pre blended soap-water-lecithin solution at the well head and send it back down for recirc. A submersible pump is also a good blender, especially if you added a micronizer valve at the surface to send air into the line. But you need some knowledge to make this "art" work.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    We will likely never get to hear the entire story here, but there had to be a significant amount of oil involved to leach down far enough into the ground to somehow end up inside the well ... and I will refrain from speculating about that lest I even inadvertently insult the OP ...
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    He said the sanitary seal allowed the oil down the well.

    That means the oil has already coated the inside of the casing by running down to the water level.

    I think Dawn dish detergent and running a hose back down the casing to wash it down and then running the well off is about the only solution to this problem. Oil will be in the drop pipe too or he wouldn't be smelling/tasting oil in his water.

    Pumps are set off the bottom of a well and bleach being heavier than water, it settles to the bottom in a rock bore well. In a screened well with screening at the bottom it gets out into the area around the well and can migrate.

    Air lifting would be about the only way to get rid of the detergent.
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