Shallow Well Help

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by rwbil, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    I have a shallow well with a Myers Jet Pump. I have had issues with it in the past, but was always able to get it to work. The pump was here when I bought the house, so I do not have all the details about depth and etc.

    Here are some general facts. I am in Florida so the soil is sandy and the water table is high. The pump has had issues with sand clogging up things before (like the pressure switch), but I have always been able to unclog the sand and get things going again.

    Currently the pump runs but does not suck up water. Or I should say barely sucks up water. The water kinda of bubbles out.

    So as you can see in the picture I disconnected the pump intake from the ground and put into that 5 gallon bucket showing in the photo, which I filled with water. I wanted to test the pump seperate from the well. When I did this the pump ran and pumped fine. Of course it is possible the pump works fine from the bucket, but has problems pumping up 20 feet (or whatever the well depth is)

    You will also notice a check valve by the bucket. I remove the check valve and tried to reconnect to test the pump without the check valve. Ran pump and again water just barely coming out.

    I then took my snake to clean out the well in case any sand was clogging. One thing I noticed is the well does not go straight down. There is a 90 elbow about a foot down. Is there a reason that one would not want to drill the well right next to the house. Anyway that 90 elbow makes it difficult to try and drop a string down to determine the well height.

    After snaking out, I got the same results.

    I am not sure how to test further to determine if the well is the problem. One person said if I fill the well pipe with water; the water should flow back down the well. My water does not flow down or if it does it is very very slow. But it has always been like that. I am not sure what is at the bottom of the well, but being it is a shallow well, I doubt there is a check valve at the bottom. is the fact tha the water does not drain down a problem?

    I am thinking about digging up to where that pipe bends again and goes straight down to the water supply and try and determine how deep the well is.

    The pipe was full of water and when doing this test I filled the pump with water so there is not a priming issue.

    Any sugguestion on what to do next?

    Attached Files:

  2. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    To try something else I connected my shop vac to the well to see if it pumped up water. I am not sure it that was a meaningful test or not, because I do not know if the shop vac can pump water that far. But one thing interesting is that when I remove the shop vac hose, nothing pumped up. The well pipe was full of water to the top still. See photo.

    Attached Files:

  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I am betting you have a suction leak. It maybe right where the suction pipe threads into the pump. But that rubber connector with the hose clamps is not a good idea either. There could also be a leak in the pipe underground to the well. If all the leaks are fixed and it still won’t pump, I would be looking at the well itself.
  4. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    The black connector is just a temporary connection I used to connect the pump to the well without the check valve. In the temporary setup all my connection where only hand tight. Nothing was glued, but I thought it was tight enough just for a test.

    In doing more research my pump is offset from the drilling down point, maybe because they could not get the equipment in to drill the well next to the house.

    My next plan was to dig up that horizontal pipe between the pump area and the actual point the pipe goes down into the ground and see if there might be a check valve underground in that horizontal pipe.

    I am not that familiar with wells. The pipe I see is 1.25" PVC, but I imagine that is not what is in the ground or is it? Is there normally a galvanized steel pipe with a pvc pipe inside it? I was hoping that was the case and maybe I could pull out the well if I had to.

    Also in case the screen is clogged and that is the problem. How does one clean it. Remember my pipe is full of water and it is offset.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Might just be a well point? Find the well, see what you got before you start fixing it. :)
  6. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    O.K. I dug over 4' or so from the pump to fine the well. Attached are pictures of what I found. Being the water stays in the well pipe, I expected to find a check valve in the horizontal line.

    The 1.25" PVC line leaving the pump was reduced down to 1" PVC. And then it connects to 2" pipe going into the ground. The 2" pipe is rather rusty looking as you can see in the picture. I assume it is galvanized steel.

    I am not familiar with the various type of check valves. Could that Big connector where the PVC ties into the steel pipe be a check valve. Or where the 1.25" pipe reduces to the 1" pipe be a check valve?

    If not does that mean there is either a foot valve or the wellpoint is clogged. I know the pipe did not drain down before when it was working though.

    Someone mention to me about trying muric acid to try and clean the well point screen.
    Any suggestions on how to proceed.

    Attached Files:

  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It's still anyone's guess what is still in the ground. Some well drillers will swage in place a checkvalve inside the casing. Others will put one in-line just above the sandpoint.

    You might have to pull up the casing or abandon it and drive or drill a new well.
  8. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    If I have to drill a new well, a couple of questions:

    1) How far past the point where you hit water do you keep going down to,

    2) What length 3', 4' or etc well point and what type of well point such as mesh or slotted would you recommend.

    3) What type of check valve, brass, PVC, or etc. and distance from check valve to pump.

    4) Do you need drive couplings or are regular couplings good enough. I am going to 1st look at jetting the well, but if that does not work I was thinking about renting or buying a fence post driver.
  9. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    looks like a standard 2" steel well to me. not sure where u are in fl but its probably not a "shallow well". i doubt there is a screen but i could be wrong. its probably a rock well. the steel fitting on top of the well that the pvc is hooked to looks like a double tap fitting threaded into the 2" coupling. there is likely a pvc pipe or "drop pipe" about 30' deep inside the 2" well casing with a foot valve on the bottom, which is why the pipe is holding water.'

    i think valveman nailed it with a suction leak, in fact i'd bet on it. the fact that the well pumps sand means that the old 2" casing has a hole in it. thats a totally different topic there.

    i wouldnt get too carried away on doing a new well yourself just yet.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,586
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If there is a foot/check valve, it will probably be at the bottom of that PVC pipe like justwater said. Can’t hurt anything trying. I would pull that PVC and see what there is to work with. You might at least find out how deep you need to go with a new well, if the old well is not salvageable.
  11. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida


    I took apart the horizontal pipe and cleaned it out. It had some sand it and reconnected everything with glue this time. If there is a suction side leak I do not see it, so I think it must be in the pipe going down. Still the water just barely comes out. Sometime a bit stronger than other times, but never close to what it should be doing.

    I unscrewed the PVC from the steel pipe and there is no check valve. So you might be right about the foot valve.

    I am located in Jacksonville, Florida. My pump is a jet pump rated for 25 foot lift maximum.

    You mention that there might be a pvc pipe inside the galvanized pipe. I could barely unscrew the PVC piece more less try and take apart the rusty galvanized part.

    You said do not dig a new well yet, but I am running out of ideas. I know some folks around here have dug wells by water jetting them in.

    What do you suggest I try before digging a new well.
  12. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    Not sure if it helps but here are a couple of pictures of the steel pipe with the PVC pipe removed.

    Attached Files:

  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The picture shows what looks like justwater described, namely a double ended fitting and drop pipe.
  14. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    Tell me what part of jax ur in and ill tell you what you're up against. I do alot of work in the northside and westside of Jax but have done a few all over jax. I can't see the pics for some reason probably because I'm on a phone right now. I'm 99% sure that's a rock well. If it was a shallow well, it would be 1.25" pipe. The 2" pipe could be completely clogged with sand from the hole, but I still suspect a suction leak is the culprit. I can almost promise you can't drill a well like you have by yourself. You might jet in a shallow well, but thats alot different than a rock well as far as water quality. Ive got some 2" rock wells that are 200' deep on the west side.
  15. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    I doubt this well is 200' deep, because the water has lots of iron and smells like sulfur. Also have a jet pump only rated for 25' of lift.

    I live in Mandarin. The water table is pretty high here, though I am told you have to get through a hard pan.

    I do not care about water quality, don't use it for drinking. Right now what water does come up is black mostly.

    Here is my plan at this point.

    1) I am going to connect that line that I disconnected from the well to a bucket full of water to supply the pump. This will tell me if there is a suction leak from at least that point. If the pump works fine then I must assume that there is a suction issue from that point down.

    2) I will try and see if I can dig more and remove that galvanized fitting. And then see If there is a PVC pipe that goes down.

    Being you work in Jacksonville. What is your number and what would you charge to come out and remove that 2" double ended fitting and evaluate the well to see if it is salvageable.

    If there is a PVC pipe that goes down without a well point and I can get it up. Can I just add a well point. If the 2" pipe is damaged and allowing sand and dirt does that mean a new well must be dug.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  16. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    Mandarin is a long drive for me. sorry if this sounds a-holish but I wouldn't be interested in doing the work. water level has nothing to do with well depth. My well is 550' deep and free flows water. It's common for a 120' well to have a 10' water level. The leak is rarely in the ground in either the horizontal pipe or the verticle drop pipe.. It's usually above ground near the pump. I would fix it all back up TIGHT with no check valve up top, only the one in the well. Prime it up and see if it will pump. May take a couple tries. As far as the hole in the well, there are ways to line it but the legalities are questionable. Most will tell you to install a new well. U would first have to pull the drop pipe, drop a string and weight down the well and see how deep it goes.
  17. Mike Pastorelli

    Mike Pastorelli New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Florida
    I'm down here in S. Florida and I just drove a 1.25 well for a little over $20 bucks. I got her down 22 feet. You could try my method and if it doesnt work for you it only cost you roughly $20.. Go to Lowes and get the 48" ( 1.25 ) well point for roughly $9.00 / 1 inside coupling / 1 outside coupling / several lasko PVC caps / and 2 sticks of 1.25 PVC.

    Get a post hole digger and add extension handles if need be.. Just try to dig a hole as deep as you can where you want the well. I dug my hole 8 feet deep by adding cut bamboo to the handles.

    Put the point in the hole with 1 stick glued on and a lasko cap on it ( cap unglued ) Its 14 feet long. get up on the ladder and holding the pipe with one hand ( keeping it stable ) start pounding it with a 6 lb hand sledge. Nice firm and square repetitive hits. Use the side of the sledge for a flatter hit. Make sure its straight. Dont try to pound the hell out of it.. Just take your time and take breaks. If you have access to water, fill the hole with water as lubrication. It worked for me.

    What you probably have there is a steel / galv well point and its all corroded and clogged - the sand gets caught in the screen and turns mettalic and oxidizes. Its appearance is that of rusted sand. I have also heard stories of guys using 20' sections of rebar and drill a hole in the end and wire as a rope.. They drop that into the well to gently and lightly scrape and hammer at the clog build-up ( if no foot valve ) GL
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  18. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    You can get shallow jetted wells in lots of places in jax. It would be very odd for a shallow jetted well to have 2" steel casing in this area, and very odd for it to have a double tap fitting with drop pipe. its extremely common for a rock well to have 2" steel with drop pipe. If u really wanna know for sure, u will know more if u can break that double tap loose off the well. Being buried makes it more of a pain. Dig out more around the well. Take a hammer and beat on the coupling and double tap pretty good (this is important, it will help break it loose... Just not so hard that it breaks the PVC off the bottom of double tap in well), take one pipe wrench to the 2" casing braced up against the dirt so 2" can't turn, then take another and put it on the 2" coupling and give it all you've got! may need a cheater bar. I've even had to sit on the ground and use my legs to push/kick to get it to loosen. When u get it loose, pull the drop pipe out.. don't break and drop it in well!!

    Its not worth it for me to drive there for a service charge just to evaluate. it would be worth it to do the whole shabang.. fix the well, stop the sand permenantly (with warranty), repipe to pump and get it all rockin again but it's not a cheap job.
  19. rwbil

    rwbil Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Florida
    Been rehabbing homes for over 25 years and I am kind of a do it your self type. Might sound crazy but kinda excited about trying to dig a well. At least want to give it the old college try.

    I agree it seems odd to have a 2" casing like that and if there is a foot valve at the bottom does that mean there is no to screen out sand? And if it does go down 200' could my jet pump have been pumping up the water.

    So far this is what I know I 5ropped my 25' take measure down the hole and it went all the way with no obsoiamtion, so I am guessing the well is at least 25'. Tomorrow I will try a open up that 2" fitting and I will try and determine exactly how deep that well is

    I tried a couple of things today. I used the pipe that went to the 2" fitting and redirected it to a bucket and tested the pump and to check for suction leaks. As can be seen in the photo the pump; pumped strong and I sprayed water on all the coupling and saw nothing being sucked in.

    Then reconnected and added a pitcher pump. Thought the action of the pitcher pump might help loosen anything stuck up. Also tried back pressure washing. Everything was glued. And you can see the water just trickles out.

    Attached Files:

  20. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    I doubt its 200, but 60-100' would be common. all u did was drop 25' inside the drop pipe, if u had about 5-10 more ft of tape u would have likely hit the foot valve. ur suction pipe has to be tight with no leaks, then add water to prime and cut on pump. Might have to do it a few times. Good luck
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