Very muddy water out of well?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by michaelheerwald, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    I just recently fixed an old well on my property to irrigate my lawn.

    This is what I know about the well. It is at least 25 years old and is over 200 ft. It has casing but I don't know how deep it goes. It has water at 38 ft. It has a one horse 220 volt pump(brand new) which is sitting at 150 ft.

    When I started the project it had a jet pump system that had been abandoned for at least the last ten years. I put an new pump and pressure tank which is set at 45 and 65. I just plumbed it into 4 frost free and also into my sprinkler system. It has awesome pressure and puts out a lot of water. I would guess over 25 gpm.

    The problem is the water is very muddy(red) we have lots of shale in oklahoma. If I run it for an hour, out of the frost free spigot, into a 10 gallon bucket there will be almost an inch of sludge. I have ran it for several days without turning it off and it will clear up pretty good after hours of pumping and then after it rests for a while it is back. I am concerned about filling up my sprinkler sytstem with the sediment.

    Any suggestions on what might be causing my problem?
    Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I would keep pumping hard and letting it rest, pump it hard and let it rest, etc, until it cleans up. With an old well it could take weeks. You might want to use a timer, 2 hours on and 2 hours off as an example. Your only other option is to filter the water because you are right, it will fill up and plug your water lines.
  3. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    Do you think raising the pump up would be worth trying?
  4. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    No, I would do as Valveman suggests. It should clear up soon.
  5. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    Thanks I will give that a try. I have been running daily for several weeks for hours upon hours with no better results. Although I have been running it constantly and not letting it rest. My wife thinks I am crazy as much time as I spend looking at my water, and I am sure the neighbors are wondering if I have lost my mind as well!
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Are you pumping it as hard and fast as the pump can put out? Maybe the plumbing is slowing it down. If it is hung on a pitless adapter, you might try pulling the pump up a bit so the pitless clears the top of the casing and really let it rip. The point of over-pumping a well to get it to clear is that later, when pumping it slower it should no longer stir it up.
  7. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    I am pumping it very hard out of at least three frost free spigots and the same time. I am not sure what you mean by pitless adapter and raising it up. After I pump hard and let it sit the muddy water is back.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,217
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Are you seeing Mud or Rust/Iron ?

    You should Have the pump outlet pipe disconnected from the tank, or you will just be pumping more crud into the plumbing and tank.

    You should not have to mess with your pitless adapter.


    Call a pro, if all else fails.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The pipe the pump is hung from either leaves the casing underground via a pitless adapter, or it comes out the top through a well seal. If it is hung on a pitless, as long as it is not hung on steel pipe, it would be easy to lift it up a few feet for the pitless to clear the top of the casing. I've pulled my pump several times and it is not too heavy because most of it is under water.

    Depending on how the aquifer is on your well, there could be a cone of depression formed when you pump it hard and some of the fines might end up high and dry until you stop pumping and the cone fills back up. That is why you should pump it hard and fast for short bursts and give the well time to recover.

    Some wells might never clear up regardless of how much or how little you pump it. Some might stay clear if you don't pump it too hard after developing it.
  10. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    536
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    I would jet it with an air compressor, 100+ gallons per minute. If it won't clear up then, it will never clear up. It's possible that the casing has a rust hole in it somewhere.

    You need at least a tow behind size air compressor to do this with a 4" well. I normally use a 185 cfm air compressor.
  11. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    Just an update, after pumping and pumping with no positive resulst I elected to raise the pump up. It was sitting at 150 ft, and I have no idea how deep my casing goes down, so I moved it up to right at 100ft. It is still in over 60ft of water and is very clear! I ran it all day yesterday for over 10 hours and it is working great.
    Thanks for the help!
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,217
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Cool Beans, Nice Job.
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sometimes raising the pump is the only solution. However, the problem with raising the pump, is that the sediment is probably still coming into the well. The sediment falls down as the water comes up to the pump. Eventually the well will fill with sediment up to where the pump is installed. So you just made a 100’ well from a 150’ deep well.

    This is another reason I like to use a flow inducer or pump shroud. It will keep the hole cleaned out so sediment doesn’t fill up around the motor to the pump intake. When sediment fills up around the motor, it won’t last long.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It does sound like the pump was top fed before the pump was raised and now the water is entering below the pump. A 25 GPM pump would probably benefit from the cooling flow of it being bottom fed versus top fed. At least until the motor gets buried as valveman said.

    When that finally happens, there would be an increase in sediment getting sucked up by the pump. That would be a good time to see if the pump is sitting in mud and if so air jet out the 100 feet of accumulated sediment.
  15. michaelheerwald

    michaelheerwald New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Clinton, Oklahoma
    Tell me more about the flow inducer and or pump shroud? I felt good about raising the pump and getting clear water, until I read your reply! I had a "semi proffesional" helping me, but raising the pump was my idea. He seemed like he agreed and also mentioned the casing might be broken or not go down very far since it was a very old well. After I mentioned raising the pump he agreed and also said I might have to drill another well if that did not work. He was not trying to sell me on it, because he does not drill wells anymore, just repairs them. If I made a mistake I would like to know what you would do now, if you were in my shoes? Thanks and I appreciate the help.
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A shroud will keep sediment from filling in around the motor. A shroud will also make all the water go past the motor before entering the pump, which keeps the motor cool. The following video is of a 6" pump with a 7" plastic shroud. But the same thing works with 4", 100# pipe (thin wall) for smaller pumps.
    View My Video
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    My muddy and chunky clay well got a 4" pvc liner that we slotted. Raised the pump 20' [about 220' deep hole] seems to be working, especially by pumping at low volume to a tank.

    Since I dig big holes, I know what this goop is - I find veins of a white clay, that are perfectly wet in totally dry soil - just like modeling clay you buy. In my case the deep pumping would likely suck in a mile of this weird stuff.

    would it pay to fill the gap between the 4" pipe and the 6" borehole with pea gravel?
  18. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Gravel could cause more problems, especially if it gets under the liner. And pea gravel won’t filter out sediment. We use silica sand that is slightly bigger than beach sand. But you need .035 or .020, sometimes .010 slots to keep this small gravel from getting through the liner. It would just pour through a slot made with a skill saw. Makes a good filter out of the well when it is done right.
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