First chlorination; How do I open my well?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by novas, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. novas

    novas New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    NC
    Hi everyone,

    I need to do chlorination of my well, I read the instructions, and everything seems clear except a tiny thing - how do I actually open the well???

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    As you can see One of the screws is right below the water pipe; also there was a plastic PVC seal on top of an air pipe (???) which fell off... Can I put bleach through that pipe?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    Location:
    Maine
    Spin the sillcock off and dump it on down
  3. novas

    novas New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    NC
    you mean I need to remove the sillcock, and leave the well seal with the connecting pipe as is??? Sorry :confused::eek:
  4. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Do not remove the hose bib. You would be pouring chlorine into the well outlet pipe, which should be impossible due to the check valve.

    You are all set for chlorinating and recirculating. The recirc part is the most important.

    Add the correct amount of chlorine liquid through the broken off poly pipe fitting threaded hole, into which you will place a nipple riser and a hose thread adapter.

    Connect the hose bib outlet to a washing machine hose on one end and the other end on the new riser where you poured the chlorine. You could even add another hose bib on the new pipe riser as your closeable "inlet" port.

    Run water down the well for perhaps a half hour or more. shut it off.

    Now run water at all taps until you smell chlorine. Shut it down and let it sit 24 hours. Likely repeat. Flush it out good after each process.

    You dont need to fool with the cap, but you need to get that cap SEALED and covered.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Land of Cheese
    Ballvalve is right, there is no need to fool with the well seal. Work through the vent fitting.

    Unless you normally have a doghouse over the well, that electrical junction box should be replaced with one approved for wet use.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  6. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    3,309
    Location:
    Maine
    sorry guys I had a major brain cramp there, indeed filling it through the sillcock opening would not work Duh..... yes, use the vent.
  7. novas

    novas New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    NC
    Thank you everyone! Especially ballvalve - thank you for the detailed answer.
  8. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

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    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Ballvalve said it best. Lastly, replace the broken off poly pipe fitting with a new vent pipe. The well needs to be vented.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    When chlorine is used to disinfect water there is a reduction in the ability of the chlorine to disinfect; call it chlorine demand. Let's say there is 200 ppm total chlorine at the beginning of the disinfection process, the end of running the water back down the well. Let's say there is 1 ppm of iron, that takes 4-5 ppm to oxidize the iron, 200-5 = Free chlorine of 195 ppm. Any manganese uses part of the total chlorine as all the killed bacteria does also.

    Disinfection does not work well or at all if the water is dirty. Oxidizing iron, manganese, H2S etc. etc. and killing bacteria all have a chlorine demand that also causes dirty discolored water.

    To get rid of the dirty water you must flush it out of the plumbing or you're wasting your time and probably will find you still have a bacteria problem after shocking and retesting. Flushing the dirty used chlorinated water out of the plumbing draws in fresh chlorinated water from the well and if you do that for like 10 seconds at cold water fauctes only every 15-30 minutes over a few hours, you eventually find clear water with a strong smell of chlorine in it being used in the plumbing instead of dirty water. That accomplishes a true complete disinfection of the system.

    Drawing chlorinated water into the plumbing and letting it sit stagnant for many hours, like 24, and then running off all the chlorinated water (not into a septic system) does not.
  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The health dept around here suggests 24 hours. If I had a lot of old steel pipe I would do a lot less time.

    I one time got a house to pass coli that had pumped dirty crud water for years. But it loosened up the insides of the old pipe so much that I finally repiped the place with pex. Would have needed it anyway however.

    I have my doubt about that amount of 'spent' chlorine hurting septics. I think 20 gallons of pool chlorine would not begin to kill off the bugs in the average tank and field. And it would never make it to the field anyway.
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yeah and the government is wrong on a lot of other things too. For years I did a lot of shocking of wells for the VA and FHA per "government" suggestions. Many showed contamination after shocking so I decided to come up with a better way and came up with what I described above by experimentation. I found it works best by doing follow up testing up to 2-3 weeks later and rarely found any problems as I used to with the "government" and others' suggested way. It works on galvanized too.

    The water in the well has free chlorine in it and that can harm a septic or it should be assumed that it might, so I advise not putting it in a septic system. And some guys use way too much bleach by a number of gallons.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  12. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

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    Location:
    Northwood NH
    This arrangement would be much nicer with a pitless adaptor and a well cap. I see that it's in NC so the line would not have to be buried but having the cap and the pump support independent of each other is more service-friendly.
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The well is already open. Any bug or animal that finds its way to the top of that broken fitting in the well seal will be sucked down into your water. This is probably WHY you should chlorinate the well. After you get the well and pipe disinfected, make sure you put two elbows together so that open fitting points down. Then use a good screen over the inlet to the first elbow to keep out the critters.
  14. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Nobody vents wells around here - whats the deal?
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    My well cap is not airtight and I doubt the OP's is either.
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you don’t vent the well, when the water level drops, the vacuum can actually collapse the casing. At the very least the vacuum can draw contamination into the well, through even the smallest crack in the casing. Even just not quite enough glue on a casing connection can be a place where surface water, and everything that goes with that, can get into the well. I will bet it is venting somewhere. It is probably not sealed good and is drawing in rain water and little bugs around the drop pipe and wire entry. I have also seen copper wires in the control box turn green when the well is venting through the conduit.
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    We dont use pitless around here, and none of the drillers use vents. Dont have any codes in place about that either.

    Most of the so called well seals dont seal much, and they dont really give enough holes in the cap to do it right. And the rubber is so hard and the sizing variable due to what the driller used for casing, its all quite slipshod.

    And the lousy cast iron caps seize up the bolts in a year if you didnt take them apart and use pipe dope or anti seize compound on the bolts and threads.

    I started using the plastic or ABS seals, not split, made for double drop pipe jet pumps to give a good port to chlorinate and vent with. Probably yes, the electrical is the vent path on most, as the old tires they use on the 'seal' never seems to close up.

    Is there a sintered bronze sort of vent fitting made for wells? Seems like silicone is the best backup.
  18. Dorrough

    Dorrough New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Southern Indiana
    I've been struggling with contaminated well water for a while. Problem is, we live in karst topology, so there are many sinkholes and caves. In fact, my well had to be cased through a couple of cave spaces during drilling. People dump garbage, dead animals, and all kinds of stuff down sinkholes, plus there is a native sulfide bacteria. Thankfully, no iron. I recommend you contact a reputable well driller and have them disinfect the well. Here's why: the well hole isn't some kind of impervious jar that just holds water. What you have down there is rock. Porous rock, otherwise the water wouldn't get to the well space/aquifer. If a well has been contaminated for a long time, the bacteria don't stay in the well cavity - they colonize the surrounding rock. It can take high levels of disinfectant and maybe pressure to force the disinfectant back into the pores and fractures of the rock. Otherwise, you can treat the well by dumping chlorine, circulating, waiting, flushing - and your water will be clean for a while until the bacteria work their way back out of the rock and into the well. Can't tell you how many disinfection cycles we tried. Well drillers are often the source of contamination - they drill through all kinds of dirt, rock, water, picking up germs and the equipment isn't sterilized before they drill your well. A good driller will have the knowledge and equipment to at least give you a good shot at disinfection. If the well is old, the pump or hydrant might need replacing also - at least need to get that broken pipe fixed so you don't keep contaminating the well with bugs, spiders, dirt, etc.

    Here's a link to an excellent downloadable PDF about it. Read about all the stuff my well driller didn't do. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-wb-dwehs-wcu-disinfectmanual_221334_7.pdf
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Add that to the stickie!
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
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