Should I take a chance with this driller? (Fast answers greatly appreciated!!!)

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Estrogen Hostage, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Estrogen Hostage

    Estrogen Hostage New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NE KS
    I have a rural property with a shallow hand dug well. It's got a rock casing and is at least 20' deep. I've got a jet pump just sitting at the top of the well and it usually works fine. Right now the static depth is at ground level, but this summer it's been running dry at 20'. I believe the production rate to be a quart to two quarts per minute. The well water has comtamination issues from fecal coliform bacteria. This is treatable but irritating. I assume this is from the lack of a solid well casing.

    I have discovered the following solutions:

    1) Attempt to lower the pump in the well and store water in a tank using a second pump to feed the house and treat water quality seperately. Cost here is approx $3k.

    2) Drill a new well. The issue here is that I am concerned about finding water. Wells in my area are all over the place for flow rate and depth. Nobody in my section has a well and the nearest are a mile away. Cost is variable from $5k-$10k depending on depth. My guess is around $6500 because if they are going to hit water it's around 100-150'.

    3) Rural water. Cost is $15k but I'm at the end of a few miles of 2" line and only expected to have 20-30 PSI. There is anotehr water discrict I can connect to with half a mile of 4" pipe at my expense of $25-30k. That assumes my water district will deannex me but I think their bylaws say that they either have to upgrade their pipe at their cost or deannex me.


    Up until today I had been leaning towards rural water and a pressure booster pump if I need to. I'm not excited about spending money on my well and continuing to deal with quality problems and flow rate. I think one or the other is OK, but not both. Today a well driller that has a bad reputation called me and told me he'd guarantee I hit water or all I'll owe him is fuel - 300 gallons or so. He's drilled wells in the area and is comfortable that he'll find water. He has a reputation from reputable sources for drilling dry holes or going too deep to find water. If it were any of the other drilling companies I'd jump on the deal. I specifically asked him how he will pack a dry hole and what kind of grout he uses, etc - and his answers were the same as everyone elses.

    So what would you do? Would you gamble with the unknown guy?
  2. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    If you don't trust him, don't use him.
    You already know he is known for doing bad work.
    You could be throwing good money away.
    I would find someone else, or go another route.
  3. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    1 is 100% chance of $3K
    2 is X% chance of $6.5K or (1-X)% chance 300 gals at $3? = $900
    3 too much uncertainty over what you get for what money

    so it's between 1 & 2.

    Here's my Excel sheet, pardon the formatting.
    X in percent..X times $6500..(1-X) times $900
    10............ 650........... 810
    20..... 1300..... 720
    30..... 1950..... 630
    40..... 2600.......... 540
    47..... 3055..... 477
    50..... 3250..... 450
    60..... 3900..... 360

    If you figure X is 47% or more then the likely cost of the bad rep guy is equal to or more than #1. With his bad rep his chance of hitting water may be less than 47% so it sounds like you should go with the bad rep guy.

    If the $900 is different you may get a different answer.

    Of course, if he doesn't hit water it will cost you $477 or more and you have to roll the dice again, so you should decide now what you will do if he doesn't hit water.
    That's a new spreadsheet, but it will be more complete than this one.

    http://www.mindtools.com/dectree.html
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  4. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I would only deal with a NGWA certified and state licensed drilling company and even then only with a signed proposal from the company stating what you will get for how much. Once you would sign it, it then becomes a contract.

    Drillers don't know if there is water down there before drilling. If think they they do, it's their gamble otherwise it's your gamble.

    I use to guarantee water in South Georgia, however there and here in Virginia Beach you're unlikely to get a dry hole. We were willing to gamble finding water for the right fee!
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Up until 10 years ago, the best local driller said "no charge for dry hole" and he stood by it. Cost him a lot of holes, but about 800 people came to his funeral.

    Still mourning the loss of the last honest hole maker in the area.

    By the way, he didnt belong to any associations and wouldnt have known a contract if he saw it.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    While we're on the subject, on average how many holes need to be drilled before water is hit?

    The more answers, the better the odds can be figured for the OP.

    Do drillers charge less for each hole after the first if it's unusable? The one contract I saw had all the risk on the home owner but it didn't say what happens after that first hole comes out dry.
  7. Estrogen Hostage

    Estrogen Hostage New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NE KS
    All drillers are properly licensed and have quite a bit of experience. He has a contract but I haven't asked to see it yet.

    I did call back and ask the two people that told me this - one said he had some holes he drilled that ended up being dry and the other (pump supplier) told me that he would just make sure we have a contract and didn't say any more. I also called the geological survey and talked to them. They were pretty noncommital for obvious reasons - but told me that there is a straight line between the area wells that were successful and my proposed well is right on this. I'm wanting to hit an ancient riverbed that is a sandstone formation and a large aquifir for the area. He said I'm right on the edge of it but the chances appeared good.
  8. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
  9. Estrogen Hostage

    Estrogen Hostage New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NE KS
  10. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
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