Trying to get an old well running again

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by gdomalewski, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    I am trying to get an old well pump and well up and running again. I moved in into a 1960s house and the pump had been used for irrigation an unknown number of years ago. The pump is a red jacket 3/4 hp shallow well pump that was missing the shallow well plastic piece but I was able to find a replacement and got the pump working last year. I ran the pump and it was pulling sand so I shut it down. When I shut it down, there was enough sand in the system that the check valve next to the pump would no longer work because it was clogged with sand. Fast foward to this spring and I am determined to get the system going again. I took off the check valve and replaced with a new one (1-1/4" suction line). I fired it up and again, started pulling fine sand with an occasional course sand. I ran for a few hours and it eventually turned clear with no sand. At this point I shut it down again, but there was some sand preventing the check valve from closing, allowing all of the water to run back into the well. I ran it again right after and there was again sand in the water. I traced the well under the house, located where the suction line leaves the house and trenched the suction line and found the well head. At a loss as to what to do next. Any thoughts as to what to do? Picture of the well head is below.
    20140427_203401.jpg

    Attached Files:

  2. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    Anyone? Should I continue to try and clear it by running it? Should I try and run water/air down the well? Should I pull the drop pipe and inspect the foot well or well point?
  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,378
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I would pull it up and see if the foot valve is set under the sand. If you can't clean the well out, you may need to shorten the suction line.
  4. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    Is the drop line sealed into the well typically? Or should it pull out?
  5. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    I cut the intake pipe today and there was a lot of sand and gravel in it. I tried to pull the well and it is not moving. Do I need a hoist or some other special equipment to pull the well? There are 4 bolts on the top of the well, I am assuming that is the well seal. I would guess that that needs to be removed to get the drop pipe out. More pictures below. Any help or insight is appreciated.

    20140429_162520.jpg 20140429_165036.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,828
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The four bolts need to be loosened. Do NOT remove them or the bottom half of the seal may fall down the well. You might need to pull hard to break the seal.
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,378
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    In a shallow well the drop pipe can't be very long or very heavy. Loosen the well seal bolts. The well seal can come up from the casing and/or the drop pipe can slip up through the well seal. The well seal being stuck to the casing is probably the heavy part. If you can spin it with a bar between a couple of bolts it may make it come out easier.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    I notice this well has a split well seal. I could see the potential advantage of replacing the steel without having to interrupt the drop pipe in some situations. My question is that is the packer (thick rubber thing) also split with those? If not, it doesn't seem to allow complete replacement without taking things apart, and there would not seem to be a reason for a split well seal to exist. Yet they do exist and seem to be popular. One guess is that the packer is also split, but the split is aligned to be away from the split in the seal.

    I could have asked this on a different thread, but it may be relevant to gdomalewski in what he is dealing with. I also see what looks like an extra crack to the extra bolt hole or vent hole, or whatever that is. Maybe it is just a blade of brown grass. But shouldn't the vent hole have a pipe that either goes through the trench to the basement or up and a foot out of the ground?

    In any case, that well seal should seal against surface and barely-underground water. Perhaps he wants to replace that seal while he has things pulled. Yet the size of things would seem to make that hard. That galvanized tee hangs over the bolts for the seal.
  9. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    Ok, So I loosened up the bolts on the well seal, but it was barely budging. I was able to spin the drop pipe and tee slightly with a pipe wrench after loosening them, but I could not lift it by hand. So I went and grabbed my hi-lift jack, some chain and an old header that was laying in the scrap pile and away I went. Ran the chain through the tee and bolted it back on itself, then ran the other end through the hi-lift jack and bolted that end to itself. I put the header over the hole and positioned the jack over the well and started to lift it up. The seal was very stubborn to come out, but once I had the pipe up about a foot I was able to work the seal out of the casing. Once the seal was out I was able to lift it by hand. The drop pipe was very long, luckily my neighbor was outside doing some yard work and hopped the fence to help me out. When the pipe was about 20 feet in the air, I cut it off with a sawzall and continued to pull the rest of the pipe out. Once I had it out, i could immediately see what the problem was - the pipe was rusted through about 6 inches above the well point. I disconnected the well point and it was completely clogged with sediment and small gravel, which I cleaned out. I will be reinstalling the well point along with new sections of galvanized pipe soon.

    My only question is that the drop pipe from the tip of the well point to the tee is 35 feet, and is 4 feet underground to the tee, for a total of 39 feet below the pump. The water level within the casing is 4-1/2 feet down, with sand/gravel about 8 feet down in the casing. The point was definately in water producing sand (that real fine almost white sand). When I reinstall the drop pipe, should I drop down to the level it was at previously? I had great volume at that level, granted I was pulling through the hole in the pipe and not the point.

    Also the well seal had a crack in it at the location for the vent pipe, only on the top plate. Should/can I reuse the well seal or should I just pick up a new one?

    Removal with Header.jpg Well Drop Pipe.jpg Cracked Seal.jpg Well Point.jpg Rusted Suction.jpg
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,378
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    From the rust line on the pipe it looks like you have plenty of water, so you don't have to go back that deep. But I would if I could to keep the well cleaned out as deep as possible. Yeah get a new well seal and plug the vent hole so the seal can actually seal.
  11. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    Should I drive the well in the casing or just drive the point in a new spot? If is in the casin will the flow of water be restricted?
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    huge3.jpg On your well seal side view, here is what I think I am seeing:
    1. Split top steel piece (two pieces split on diameter) with thru holes for bolts bigger than casing.
    2. Rubber disk with (one piece)with single radius split toward the camera.
    3. Rubber disk (one piece)with single radius split away from the camera the camera.
    4. Thicker bottom split top steel piece (two pieces) with tapped holes for bolts a little smaller than than casing ID. Or were there nuts? The diameter split is at right angles to piece 1, so the split does not show in the picture.

    Is that right?
  13. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    1 & 2 are both the top steel ring with a crack facing the camera where the vent hole is. 3 is the rubber ring. 4 is the lower steel ring with tapped holes.
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Is the rubber ring split?
  15. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    No, the rubber ring is a solid ring. It would make sense to be split but it is not.

    So should I reinstall the well point 35 feet down in the old casing or drive in a new location? Any thoughts?
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,378
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    35' is a lot of driving. I would try the old well first.
  17. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    I drove the well yesterday in the old casing. I reused the old stainless drive point and picked up 3 new 10'6" galvanized pipes, putting the well tip 37.5' from the surface. I hooked up the pitcher pump and the initial water draw was very murky and sand ridden but after pumping for a few hours cleared up very nicely, and is now time to hook it up to the pump and see what it can do.
    IMG_2654_1.jpg IMG_20140504_170547.jpg IMG_2664.jpg
  18. gdomalewski

    gdomalewski New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Forked River, NJ
    Progress from last night - sandblasted the well seal, used JB weld to join the two broken pieces back and also seal the vent hole. Once dried overnight took it to the bench grinder to even it all back out and hit with a coat of rustoleum.
    20140506_081202.jpg
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Thanks for that info. That makes me wonder what the purpose of a split well seal is... except you have shown that it permits you to take off the steel parts, sandblast, and paint. Do you suppose that is what they had in mind when they used a split seal? :)

    I don't know what the broken part is, but JB Weld is not as strong as a structural part would need to be -- in my experience.
Similar Threads: Trying running
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Lake water pump cracked housing - trying to determine best option with changed needs Apr 29, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Trying to fix/update an OLD shallow well, this should be interesting Apr 25, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Pump Runs Non Stop trying to reach cut off pressure setting May 6, 2013
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Trying to Determine Pump Mfgr Sep 24, 2011
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Trying to get the pump out May 21, 2011

Share This Page