Replacing Well Seal

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by seprintz, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    I have a split top 6" cast iron well seal that is rusted all to heck.

    I need to chlorinate my well, which is 505' deep, pump is hanging at 100' per the paperwork at the county. I went to chlorinate, and notice the above mentioned rustyness, the 4 bolts on the top don't even hardly resemble bolts anymore! Also, the 1/2" vent hole I was told to pour the chlorine down didn't even have a vent cap installed, how rude! I am guessing this is the source of my ecoli and fecal coliform bacteria (optimistically). Thus I want to sanitize everything, seal the well back up, and hope that the bacteria doesn't show back up.

    I have decided I need to replace the well seal at the same time as chlorination because the only way to get the chlorine that far down is to put in solid di/tri-chlor tablet right? If I pour in a solution it won't reach the bottom, is what the county health department told me.

    I have a pretty solid understanding of how the seal works, and what is going on down pipe, I need to loosen the seal, and pull the pipe up, clamp it to keep it from falling down. Now for my question, in order to replace the seal, I will have to cut the grey pipe, correct, where should I cut it? The down pipe? which will require me to re-attach some sort of solid connector for the pump to hang on. Or should I cut it north (towards the pressure tank) of the elbow that is already installed? I am asking because I want to be sure that whatever I do, it is strong enough to hold after installing the new seal.

    I am not wanting to pull the pump all the way out of I don't have to, because I am not having any trouble with the pump.

    I am also a novice with wells, but enjoy torturing myself with new DIY projects.

    Thank you,

    Sean
  2. VAWellDriller

    VAWellDriller New Member

    Messages:
    170
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    You can "split" the split well seal....by this I mean, cut through the rubber one side of the seal. You can then twist the seal and install it without cutting the drop pipe. We do it all the time with large pumps and lots of weight....it's perfectly safe.
  3. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    A couple of things
    Well seals are a pain in the a$$.
    Pumps, pipe and wire can be really heavy

    I seriously doubt the well is 500' with a pump at 100' unless they hit a ton of water down deep and didnt need to set the pump deeper.

    You do NOT want to cut the drop pipe, either cut the pipe "north" of the well or unscrew the adapter out of the T at the top of the well.

    Now, you have to get the seal loose. We use a socket designed to grip rounded off bolts, it has flutes on the inside that will bite into the bolt heads. Use a 1/2" breaker bar to loosen the bolts. Do Not remove the bolts just loosen them. Now take a hook type wrecking bar and drive the claw in between the seal flange and the casing, wiggle, pry and twist until the seal comes up out of the casing. Yep, it's a pain in the ass. Be careful of the drop pipe, it might be shitty sch 40 PVC and could break, we have an old pipe wrench with a hole drilled in the beam that we tie the wire through so that if the pipe does break, the wire will hopefully prevent everything from dropping to the bottom. After you get the seal out, you have to hold the pipe so you can put a new seal on. Some guys use clamps for clamping wood, I use a foot jack or third hand.

    Sure you want to do this?
  4. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    Yeah I want to do it, sounds like a pain in the a$$.

    Tonight I pulled back on the insulation and it was all wet, so I guess I have a leak, also might explain the rust.

    I also noticed it looks like everything is being held up by a hose clamp, is this kosher?

    So if I need to re-plumb some stuff to fix the leak, I guess I won't have to cut the new seal, so long as the hose clamp method is OK.

    According to the paperwork that the county has, they got 60gpm at 500'. The county inspector acted like this information was consistent with putting the pump at 100'.

    Thank you guys for the replies.

    Sorry for the blurry picture my phone usually takes better shots.

    [​IMG]
  5. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    Another shot, you can see things a little better, but still fuzzy.

    [​IMG]
  6. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    Oh that isn't bad....at least it isn't in a pit full of muddy water...
  7. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    NC
    I would not replace the seal unless I was replacing the pump. It doesn’t look that bad to me either. Do not use tablet type chlorine! It will take forever to dissolve. (Stabilized chlorine tablets or hypochlorite products containing fungicides, algaecides, or other disinfectants shall not be used.) You could use granular chlorine. You might want to try unscented liquid bleach first. It is easier but granular will go all the way to the bottom. It is a good idea to rig up a hose to circulate water into the top of the well. I would not loosen or remove the seal, just put it into the small vent hole. I use chlorine test strips to make sure I get the strength up to 100 parts per million chlorine.

    http://stores.baileysteststripsandthermometers.com/Detail.bok?no=33
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    In order to properly chlorinate a well you have to chlorinate the entire borehole. We use chlorine pellets designed for water wells, they are small enough to drop through the vent hole or they can be crushed, mixed with water and poured in.

    Be sure to pull the chlorine through each and every fixture, faucet, toilet, out door spigot, washing machine, dish washer etc or you will chase this forever.
  9. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    OK, so now the general consensus in the thread is not to replace.

    I noticed yesterday that there are gaps in the seal where the electrical goes through, should I just seal that up with silicone? Do I need to worry about the silicone adhering to the rust? Also, how will I get the vent pipe back in? It won't currently thread because of the rust.

    Smooky, what good will rigging the hose up be if I can't get the recirculated water to run down the walls of the casing? I am asking in all honesty since I have never done this before. Do I need an adapter to go down to the 1/2" hole in the top of the well seal?

    Thanks again for the replies.
  10. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    Also, after thinking about it, how long would it take for the chlorine to sink down 500'? After I add it through the vent hole, how long should I wait before re-circulating/circulating it into my pipes?

    Thanks again.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Run a hose into the 1/2" hole in the top of the well seal to recirculate the chlorine.
  12. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    NC
    Sometimes you can pour a gallon or two of bleach in let it sit then run it out and it will be good. Most of the time that just does not work. So I like to do it right the first time. Putting it in the top and letting it circulate at least gets some chlorine on the drop pipe and some on the walls. Also you get a good mix from the top of the water column down to the pump. You don’t have to do it, but I always recommend doing it.

    Brush off the top of the well seal with a wire brush. Seal any openings. Try to install a vent but if you can't don't worry about it. A lot of wells do not have a vent. If the water is coming in as fast as you say, you don't need a vent.

    If you do liquid bleach or granular, it doesn't take to long. There are stronger liquid bleaches now such as 8.25 % Sodium hypochlorite. If it says it can be used as a sanitizer it should be good. I think that big box hardware stores are selling. I use granular chlorine because it is stronger and goes all the way to the bottom. It can be mixed with water but you must follow instructions on how to do that, it can be dangerous.

    Here is a section from the well rules:

    15A NCAC 02C .0111 DISINFECTION OF WATER SUPPLY WELLS
    (a) Any person constructing, repairing, testing, or performing maintenance, or installing a pump in a
    water supply well shall disinfect the well upon completion of construction, repairs, testing,
    maintenance, or pump installation.
    (b) Any person disinfecting a well shall perform disinfection in accordance with the following
    procedures:
    (1) Chlorination.
    (A) Hypochlorite shall be placed in the well in sufficient quantities to produce a
    chlorine residual of at least 100 parts per million (ppm) in the well.
    Stabilized chlorine tablets or hypochlorite products containing fungicides,
    algaecides, or other disinfectants shall not be used. Chlorine test strips or
    other quantitative test methods shall be used to confirm the concentration of
    the chlorine residual.
    [Note: About three ounces of hypochlorite containing 65 percent to 75
    percent available chlorine is needed per 100 gallons of water for at least a 100
    ppm chlorine residual. As an example, a well having a diameter of six inches,
    has a volume of about 1.5 gallons per foot. If the well has 200 feet of water,
    the minimum amount of hypochlorite required would be 9 ounces. (1.5
    gallons/foot x 200 feet = 300 gallons at 3 ounces per 100 gallons; 3 ounces x
    3 = 9 ounces.)]
    (B) The hypochlorite shall be placed in the well by one of the following or
    equivalent methods:
    (i) Granular hypochlorite may be dropped in the top of the well and
    allowed to settle to the bottom; or
    (ii) Hypochlorite solutions shall be placed in the bottom of the well by
    using a bailer or by pouring the solution through the drill rod, hose, or
    pipe placed in the bottom of the well. The solution shall be flushed
    out of the drill rod, hose, or pipe by using water or air.
    (C) The water in the well shall be agitated or circulated to ensure thorough
    dispersion of the chlorine.
    (D) The well casing, pump column and any other equipment above the water level
    in the well shall be rinsed with the chlorine solution as a part of the
    disinfecting process.
    (E) The chlorine solution shall stand in the well for a period of at least 24 hours.
    (F) The well shall be pumped until there is no detectable total chlorine residual in water pumped from the well before the well is placed in use
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You only posted the pic later showing that the well seal is above ground. I fail to see how it could be responsible for the contamination.

    You need to look elsewhere for the cause. If you have a topside checkvalve, then the line between the wellhead and house may be where contaminated groundwater is getting in.
  14. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    With an open vent hole like that anything can and will find its way in to that well. I would be surprised if it didnt have some type of contamination.

    But yeah, he should look for other sources like a backwash line from a softener or neutralizer that doesn't have a proper air gap or a sprinkler system with a bad back flow preventer.
  15. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    The only equipment I have is the pump, check valve, pressure tank, and an el-cheapo sediment filter. I will call the county to see if the location of the check valve is mentioned in the paperwork.

    Where is the preferred location for the check valve? This is my first house with a well, and we have only been in it since April, so a lot of this is new to me.

    LLigetfa, the "Optimistically" was hoping that chlorinating the well will take care of the contamination (assuming) it was coming from the holes in my seal. Since that will be the easiest thing to fix.

    Again, thanks for the replies.
  16. seprintz

    seprintz New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NC
    Also, are you guys saying not to worry about a small leak? As I said, the insulation was soaking wet, and I could feel dampness on the seal.

    Should I just tape some insulation on there and call it a day?
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    IMHO there should not be any checkvalve after the wellhead and before the pressure tank. If there is a topside checkvalve, the one on the pump is less likely to hold and subsequently there can be a vacuum created in the line. This vacuum then creates water hammer and eventually can result in a leak that may then suck contaminated groundwater in.

    Some jurisdictions forbid checkvalves topside while others mandate it. Go figure!

    As craigpump said, you should look for the source of contamination. Not sure anything other than a few ants or spiders are getting in through that vent hole, particularly considering you had it wrapped up with insulation.
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,887
    Location:
    IL
    I would put a stopper into that hole.
  19. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    522
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Galv. tanks with air makers have 100% top side check valves and do just fine, I wish you would quit spewing this garbage.

    Most of the failed tests have more to do with the method for retrieving the sample than the water itself. Was the outlet flamed and chlorinated? If not it's almost always a 100% failed test.

    The other thing you can do is drill a small hole in the PVC casing and tap it. Install a street "L" and plug the hole. Use that to pour your chlorine. Be sure to wash the well with water to get the chlorine off the drop pipe and wire.

  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    With air makers is the operative word. They open to let air in so there is no vacuum in the line.
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