Did I waste my time? Pumping from a pond

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by ETD66SS, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    I have some ponds located in Western New York. Starting in about May, the water in the ponds starts to drop due to evaporation, and probably some wicking into the banks, and also maybe due to the water table dropping. By about August, the ponds are generally 18-24 in below the normal level at springtime. I wanted to dig a well, to run a pump to keep the ponds topped off and as close to the springtime level as possible. The total surface area of the ponds at springtime is about 1.33 acres. When it is really dry out, I can lose about 1 in of pond level per day. So I decided that I needed a well that could supply (1.33 acres x 1 in deep = 8342611 in^2 * 1 in = 8342611 in^3 = 36,115 gallons/24 hrs = 1,505 gal/hr = 25 GPM)

    I did some reading and noticed that a single shallow well is probably not going to be able to supply that.

    I decided to go ahead and dig the well, and see what kind of flow rate I got.

    The well idea was one from a co-worker. 2 vertical 10 ft lengths of 4 in PVC with a T at the end, and 2 more 10 ft lengths of horizontal 4 in PVC with slots cut in the sides and caps on the ends.

    The idea was to dig a trench 18 ft deep, place the T in the bottom of the trench and cover with stone.

    It sounded like a good well plan, so I tried it.

    It was a disaster. Let me explain the strata. Since I dug the ponds, I know the layers of soil I was going to be dealing with.

    First 7.5 ft is sandy loam.

    Next 2.0 ft is red silt clay.

    Next 5.5 ft is blue-gray silt loam clay.

    At 15 ft, glacial till, which consists of extremely hard & dense red clay that crumbles like concrete, mixed with tailings sized rocks up to 3-4 ft diameter boulders. All these are rounded stones, as this was the bottom of the ancient Great Lakes.

    I've never been able to dig any farther than that, I can usually go to 18 ft with my excavator, but the glacial till is very hard to make any progress through it.

    I knew I'd hit water at about 12 ft.

    The nightmare was basically, the soil strata does not really allow for a trench that deep, the sides kept caving in on me, so I tried to step the trench a bit, even then, the sandy loam just kept giving-way and falling in the trench. I got the PVC T-assembly in the trench the first time, and as soon as I did, boom, a huge section of sandy loam caved in on one of the 10 ft sections of slotted pipe. So I yanked out the assembly, re-dug the trench, and in the process lost that one section of PVC. So I decided I'd cut the one 10 ft length in half, and make shorter handles on the "T". That was easier to manage. Had the trench cleared out, put in the PVC T-assembly, but before I could get any stone on it, about 3-4 ft of each end of the handles got covered in falling sandy loam, I was able to get stone on the rest of it.

    Here are some pictures:

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/

    So in the end, I ended up with a "T" well casing 17 ft below grade, and a water table 11 ft below grade, so basically 6 ft of water from the bottom of the 4 in PVC T-fitting.

    I bought some 1-1/4 in PVC and fittings, and a foot valve from Home Depot. I then purchased a cheapo Chinese hand pump from TSC. The foot valve has a short screen, the holes are maybe 1/16 in diameter. I only have the foot valve 14 ft deep, when I went to put in the 1-1/4 in PVC, the 4 in PVC was filled with sand about 3 ft high. All that sandy loam that caved in on my T-handles clogged the casing.

    I am able to pump water, but it is just muddy and so full of sand, I think I will destroy that Chinese hand pump soon... I don't really know how to measure GPM, but it seems like I can only hand pump about 2-3 GPM, if I go any faster, I can hear the foot valce sucking air.


    So, after all that crap, should I have just used a driven well point? I know there will be ZERO obstructions from grade down to 15 ft. I also know that the water table is currently at 11 ft, however, in August it is at its lowest, so not sure how much farther it can drop. In the spring, the water table is only about 5 ft below grade.

    So, I need 25 GPM, and knowing the strata I described, what is the best way to go? Multiple driven sandpoints? If I used multiple wellpoints, is there a minimum distance between them? Can I gang them together and run just one pump?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  2. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Good news, Have put in 7 wells so far. Please purchase waterhole by Bob Mellin. Inexpensive helpful Lil book. I can't say enough about My $300.00 Borzit boring system. Never used it for a well,Myself But will this summer. I recently doug 2 pits and drilled 30 ft. under a concrete slab. Replaced a rotted cast iron 2" drain line with PVC. Also the owner Jim sent Me a replacement part I broke at no charge. www.borzit.com Get the optional 5" Auger. Have fun. Boston!, P.S. Don't listen to the Nay sayers ! I use My timber wolf offset drill motor to power it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2012
  3. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    I don't understand You! You mentioned putting in a well. I give You a great Book, Great affordable tool, to drill it. Did You Check any of this out?
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,487
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    No matter how you drive, drill, or trench the well, a 15’ deep well with a water level at 11’ will be hard to get much water out of. And this is the good time of year. Doesn’t sound like it will be of much use during the dry time of year when you really need it.

    I don’t know if it is possible in your area, but it sounds like you need to go deeper and tap an aquifer to get the water you need. If the pond levels fall in the dry time of year, you can bet the shallow surface water does the same thing.
  5. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    I imagine the local Well professionals , Have it figured out. I'm guessing a deep well,drilled
  6. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    "dry time" of the year is only 1-2 months away for me, so it's close at hand. Up here, fall is kind of a rainy season, by Oct/Nov, the ponds are usually almost topped off again by runnoff. So May to Aug is when I really need to use this well, which is NOW, this time of year.

    And currently it is a 17' well with 11' water level. I'd expect the water table to drop no more than another foot by Aug/Sept.

    The local water conservationist for NYS is looking into the water table/well data for the area for me, but it takes a long time to hear back from them.

    I did buy a couple wellpoints that I will try to drive through the glacial till, I am unsure what is underneath that layer, the local water conservation dept cannot tell me, as soil maps do not have that information.

    So, you say I would "not get much water out of it" with 17' deep well at 11' water depth. So what is a good well depth if say in mid August, the water table is at 12'? How deep should the well be so that I ensure I "get water out of it"? Is there a rule of thumb for water depth over the wellpoint depth for "enough water"?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,487
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    6' of water in the well isn't much. And when you start pumping it should be even less. 6' of water will work if you have enough water coming into the well. And I guess you won't know that until you start pumping and see what happens.
  8. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    I pumped by hand, and contunied to do so until I could hear the foot valve sucking air. I decreased the rate until I could continually pump for 20-30 minutes without hearing the sucking noise. I then placed a 5 gallon bucket under the pitcher pump and continued at that rate. I got 3 gallons in a 1 minute timeframe.

    If 6 ft of water "isn't much" what is? 10 ft, 20 ft etc...
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,487
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    More is always better, but the water table thickness is what it is, depending on your area. If you are only getting 3 GPM from the point, then you need to tie 9 points together to get 25 GPM. the main point is that the water table will probably get worse when you start pumping on it, and the time of the year also comes into play.
  10. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    I talked to a local geotechnical firm that has records of core samples near my property. They tell me the glacial till layer stops between 18-20 ft and then there is shale rock.

    Would the driven wellpoints I try, be better suited in that shale layer as opposed to the silty clay above the glacial till? It sounds like water would flow nicely through shale.

    EDIT: I don't understand how the "pumping from a pond" got added to my thread title, lol... Forum weirdness.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Dig a 30' deep pond and since the water table is at 11' you should get a nice 19' deep water body with no pump..
  12. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    So I decided to try a driven well point this time. I figured since most of the driving would be through sandy loam soil it should go pretty easy.

    I bought the 2" well points form Northern Tool and Equip. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200321309_200321309

    Some drive couplings, and it took me forever to find 2" pipe in my area. I finally found a store with 5 10' sections of 2" SCH 40 galvanized pipe. $67 each, which I thought was way expensive...

    I started by using my post hole digger with 12" auger:

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1091.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1092.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1093.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1094.jpg

    I assembled the first length of pipe onto the well point with a drive coupling and pipe thread compound. Tightening until I no longer could.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1095.jpg

    Using my backhoe and a ratchet strap. I leveled the pipe and backed my tractor up to it so I could stand on the roof to start driving the well.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1096.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1097.jpg

    After driving the wellpoint into the ground only about 3 feet, things started to feel funny. I was tightening the drive cap as I went along to ensure the pipe threads were ok, but the actual connection in the ground felt loose, so I pulled the well back out.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1103.jpg

    The drive point tip of the well had folded over and broke off in the sandy loam soil, give me a break...

    Here is a "before and after" of the Chinese made well points:

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1104.jpg

    Here is the end of the galvanized pipe. As I was driving, the section of galvanized pipe extruded itself into the pipe of the well point, loosening up that joint. Eventhough I had the pipe ends meeting inside the coupling like you're supposed to, it still didn't work...

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1105.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Driven/DCP_1106.jpg

    Everything has CHINA stamped all over it. And I think that is the reason this well project is pretty much over. I'm going to return all the unused pipe, well point and couplings, and just forget about this well bullshit for now.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    +1

    Drilling is the way to go with a large enough casing to use a submersible. A sub is so much more energy efficient that it will pay for the cost of drilling over time.
  14. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    Local well drillers are like $3000-$4000.

    I just don't need a well that badly I guess.

    And NO, the person who is guessing "deep well drilled" is incorrect. I talked to the DEC and local geotechnical services. In my area, I don't need a deep well drilled, the water table never goes below 12 ft all year. And at 18' is when the shale rock water viens start. So no, I don't need a 100' deep well drilled for $1000's, a shallow well would suffice. It's just too bad everythgin is made in China these days. I can't find well points made in USA, or SCH 40 pipe in my area that isn't from China. I even took a 1.5 hour trip to a well drilling shop to get extra drive couplings, all of them were stamped with China, so was their pipe...
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    There are two alternative methods for putting down sandpoints. One is the washdown method whereby a special sandpoint with checkvalve is used. PVC casing with inside couplers are often used.

    http://www.campbellmfg.com/brady/faq.htm
    http://www.campbellmfg.com/brady/instructions.htm
    http://www.campbellmfg.com/brady/documents/wellinstallation.pdf

    The other method involves using a solid iron bar on a rope that drives against the point only, rather than driving against the top of of the casing.

    Decades ago, my father and I went down 120 feet using the washdown method with galvanized pipe and traditional outside coupler.
  16. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    The washdown method looks interesting, but not sure what I'd do when I want to penetrate the shale. Also, I do not have running water at my lot.

    The steel bar down the center of the casing and driving the well point directly seems like a great idea. However, I still don't trust the crappy Chinese well point that I bought to try this with.
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    When my father and I did his well, we hauled barrels of water up from a creek a half mile away. We also captured the waste water and reused it after we let the clay settle out of it. At the bottom of the clay layer, we ran into a hard layer that the locals called hardpan that was tough to bust through but once we were through it, the well took all the wash water so we knew we broke through into the aquifer.
  18. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    I decided to try and salvage the well screen from the Northern Tool well point, and use it in my existing 17' deep well to try to filter out the sand.

    Existing well is 17' deep 4" PVC casing, and a pitcher pump with a foot valve 14' deep.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Screen/DCP_1107.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Screen/DCP_1111.jpg

    I cut off the bad threads on the well screen, and installed a plug on the bottom end, and adapters on the end that I coupled to the PVC drop pipe.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Screen/DCP_1108.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Screen/DCP_1109.jpg
    http://www.infinity-universe.com/~dev/WhiteDwarf/Projects/Well/Screen/DCP_1110.jpg

    I measured the static water level, to my surprise it was 6.5 ft below grade, it had gone up a lot since the last time I fiddled with the well. Which is odd, because we have not had any rain.

    When I placed the screen down into the casing, I hit sand in the bottom of the well casing, it seems to be about 3 ft of fine sand in the bottom of the well. I massaged the screen into this sand all the way down. So the well is at full 17' deep, and the screen is about 30" long. So roughly, from the top of the screen to the static water level, there is about 8' of water "height"

    I primed the pitcher pump and started pumping, I pumped it dry rather quickly, and I waited and waited, and the well never recharged in the 30 minutes I was playing with it.

    I took a washer on a string and droped it in the casing. There is no water in the well at all...

    As stated before, I got 3 GPM with the foot valve, albeit sandy water. Now I get nothing...

    Does this mean even if I got the drive point to work, I would have had the same issue?

    Is my sand just too fine to allow any kind of flow?
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,053
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If there is no water in the casing, then whether or not the sand point is too fine or not is moot. Water in the casing would be before it goes through the sandpoint.
  20. ETD66SS

    ETD66SS New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY, USA
    Then why can I get 3 GPM with the small footvalve, and I get nothing with the sandpoint?

    I guess I don't understand why the casing replenishes with the footvalve, and not the sandpoint. I didn't expect that to happen...
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