Well remediation nightmare.... HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by CBFreeman, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. CBFreeman

    CBFreeman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Nevada
    I am hoping someone can help me here. My wife and I bought our house back in June of 2013 (feels odd since its now 2014). We have really hard water here (125) and were having problems with high iron bacteria. So high It was plugging our (2) pre-filters (10 micron) and had to be changed ever 1-2 weeks. We were told from our prior to purchase "well inspection" that all equipment was new within 5 years and the condition of the well was "good". Well our pressure tanks failed after 3 months, both of them and the pump was always cycling. Come to find out the tanks were 11 years old! I called the only other well company in the area and they tried to say it was due to the inside of the pressure tanks rusting above the bladder. I had a water test done and confirmed the iron bacteria. They finally agreed to camera the well but even after letting the system settle for 4 days it was almost too hard to see anything, at least with their equipment. So after discussing with them we decided on a remediation of brushing, swabbing, air lifting and treating the well and replacing the 2 tanks and control box. In the process of everything I was up-sold on a "drive" system or 3 phase motor & new head. It would eliminate the 2 pressure tanks and would come with a new warranty, etc, etc. They agreed to pull & reinsert the pumps systems, remediation of the well, install the new equipment, new wire, new cap & valves for $5,800. This didn't sound bad.

    So now here is my dilemma. The well was drilled and put into service in 1980. It is drilled to 289 ft, water is at 113 ft, pump sits at 254 ft. They decided not to brush and only swab / air lift. Well about the 200 mark their "tool" or swab got stuck. It took them 4 days to get it back out. They had to bring in 2 different trucks to get it out. When it finally came up the air line was wrapped up around the tool in knots from when they spun the pipe going down. It appears to have been pinched on the sides causing them to have difficulties getting it out and why the "air lifting" wasn't very productive. During the process of trying to remove the tool some gravel did come out when they were blowing in with the compressor. I asked if this was a problem and they indicated no. Well as a result we decided to line it with PVC. At an additional cost of $1800 & the assurance it would be the full 289 ft I said OK. Well.... the casing stopped at 205ft. They tried to tell me that they would set the pump now at 180ft (almost 70ft higher) and I would be ok with the bottom at 205ft. I was insistent about them running the camera down it again to find out what the problem is. They said the well was probably 200ft ft before and re-drilled to 289ft which would have required a smaller transition pipe. They also claimed that why the tool got "stuck". Well when they ran it down we found the 205ft is now completely gravel. They said they could try to pump it out but that would be at an additional charge.

    So not knowing anything about wells other than some common sense and paying attention to them on what they are doing I have no idea what to do now. Can anyone give me some input here before it costs me more money. Im starting to feel like Tom Hanks in that movie "Money Pit".

    Oh and they said my previous pump & head were sized wrong for the depth, etc. The info for them is below if anyone would like to confirm or disprove that.

    Thanks,

    Chris

    PUMP -
    Franklin Electric
    S/N 08B18-07-0093
    Model 2243022604
    HP 3
    HZ 60
    PH 1

    Head -
    ITT 18GS30
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,461
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Well I don’t think an 18GS30 was oversized if you needed 25 GPM at 50 PSI from 250’ depth. If the pumping level stays close to 113’, a smaller pump could have been used. But pumps are usually sized for the total depth of the well, just in case the water level drops. If they “up-sold” you to the “drive” because they think it is a superior type of system, then I would also be concerned about their knowledge with well construction.

    As for the gravel and casing problem, that is quite a cluster. I wish the videotape could at least show what was at the 200’ mark before all this happened. Was it smaller casing below 205’ or not? Is the casing broken in this area before the swabbing and air lift? Or was it the tool getting stuck that broke the casing?

    Either way I would think the casing is broken if the gravel has filled into 200’. The best way to fix it will probably be to just drill another well. If I had broken your old well casing, I would at least offer a big discount on drilling you a new well, because you are right about the old well now being a “money pit”.
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    I'm not sure why they didn't just drill another well in the first place. You will chase IRB forever. If it's that pervasive in the well the only solution is a chlorine feeder which naturally brings its own set of problems.
  4. CBFreeman

    CBFreeman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Nevada
    Thanks for the responses so far folks.

    The company I have working on it said that the motor would work too hard because the head wasn't sized correctly and put it out of its pump curve? He said it puts additional stress on the bearings and causes them to fail prematurely. I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible so I have ground to stand on when he comes back on Monday. They also think it might be a gravel bridge or partial blockage in the casing and not a complete collapse, but still are insisting I pay for the equipment and man hours to fix it. We didn't start seeing gravel until their tool got stuck and they were fighting to get it out. I'm still thinking their tool did the damage.

    As for the drive they said the cost for replacing both pressure tanks & control box would be comparable in cost. We have a 1.4 acre property with a lot of irrigation along with a pool. Our water use is pretty high. That's also why I'm concerned about the water depth change. They also did say the ground water level has been coming up in recent years. Not sure if I believe that one.

    I'm in southern Nevada and the local water authority will not let you re-drill if you are within 1,000ft of city/county water. I'm not sure if that is from your original well location or property line. They are trying to push anyone with a well off and onto county/city money. They also throw a stink when you try to reline the wells. Additionally the cost to drill here is HUGE! I looked into it and it would cost me about double what I am paying now without equipment.

    For some reason out here you have one or the other, service or driller. Most of the companies that used to do both now only do service. The drillers are mostly geothermal drillers now.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  5. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    939
    Location:
    ct
    Its possible that the driller encountered a large fracture or a section of rock that is highly fractured and that is where the material you call gravel is coming from. We use sch 40 PVC as a well liner to prevent that material from getting into the well. Some guys use 5" steel pipe and drive it in with the rig. Sometimes they break that 5" steel by driving it too hard, which I think might be your problem.

    You can spend a TON of money trying to fix a well that has problems like what you describe and not end up with anything but an empty wallet. Personally, I'd drill a new well.
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,233
    Location:
    IL
    I think you may be suggesting that you could be within the forbidden area. Maybe that 1000 feet is pipe length to reach the front the house.
  7. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    NC
    My thought is that the state is considering a water service is available if it is within 1000 feet. According to NAC 534.315 the well driller should not have tried to recondition the well if water is available.

    http://water.nv.gov/home/contactlist.cfm

    http://water.nv.gov/programs/

    http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NAC/nac-534.html#NAC534Sec315

    NAC 534.315  Wells for domestic use.

    6. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 7, a well may be drilled for domestic use if not more than 1,800 gallons of water per day are diverted from the well for use by a single-family household, including a residence with a lawn, garden and domestic animals.
    7.  If water service is available from an entity, including, without limitation, a public utility, a water district or a municipality presently engaged in furnishing water to the inhabitants of the area, a well for domestic use may not be drilled, deepened, reconditioned or replaced unless a waiver from the provisions of this section is first obtained from the Division.
  8. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,461
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I would be arming myself for battle if any government “authority” tried to keep me from drilling or especially re-drilling a well on my own property. That all came from that old “water 2000” program they tried. They want to control the water supply to everyone’s house the same way they want to control education, power supply, health care, etc. That is just another money/power grab scheme and also a way to be able to cut your water off for being a dissident and not agreeing with the supreme leader.

    You might be able to afford water for just the house use, but for irrigation and other uses the bill will be astronomical.

    Well now that is just bull crap, so it makes me question the integrity of the company. An 18GS30 works fine between 210’ of head and about 580’ of head. So I assume they are claiming the pump is made for a well that is deeper than yours. But from a pumping or even static level of 113’, the pressure on the system just can’t get any lower than 42 PSI to prevent an upthrust condition. A 40/60 pressure switch just needs to be set at 42/62 to make that happen. If that were not good enough for them, then a simple little 18 GPM Dole valve would have put enough backpressure to put the pump back in its sweet spot on the curve. That is the way upthrust is normally controlled for about 20 dollars, not by selling you a completely new system for 6,000 bucks.

    And I really don’t want to go into how a Cycle Stop Valve would have easily solved that problem and made your old pump work just like the “drive” system for about 600 bucks, which includes a new tank.

    If that is the correct wording for the regulations, I would have them add a meter for just the house use, then re-drill the well for irrigation and outside the house use. That way you get rid of the water quality problem for the house water, but are still able to use well water for everything else. I would argue that “domestic use” means water inside the house only.

    I can see why the drillers only want to drill geo wells. The government is outlawing the drilling of wells for domestic use, and subsidizing the cost of geo wells. Tax breaks will pay for most of the cost of a geo system, to supposedly save our country from the evils of excessive power consumption.

    They already have a lot of your money. I would tell them to clean out the gravel “they” caused to fill up your well. Then put your old pump back in at the proper depth. The money you paid for the “drive” pump system should more than cover the cost. Then you can get yourself a couple of 400 dollar pressure tanks, or a CSV and a small tank for about $600, and be back in business.

    Pump and well systems are not as simple as some people think. Even most of the so-called “professionals” don’t know what they are doing. So it makes it real easy for manufacturers and unscrupulous installers to pull the wool over your eyes.

    If you have a well driller licensing board in your state you can contact them about shoddy work or unscrupulous deals. You would be surprised how much the drilling company will do to make you happy and get the board off their back. Too bad these guys are not as good a drilling and pumps as they are in “up-selling” you things you don’t need.
  9. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    NC
    http://water.nv.gov/faq/water.cfm

    Q: Is a permit required to drill a domestic well within the State of Nevada?
    A: No. Domestic wells are the only type of water well exempt from the State Engineer's permitting process (Nevada Revised Statutes §534.080 and §534.180). Domestic use is defined as uses associated with culinary and household purposes directly related to a single-family dwelling, including, without limitation, the watering of a family garden and lawn and the watering of livestock and any other domestic animals or household pets, if the amount of water drawn does not exceed 1,800 gallons per day.

    Q: When is the drilling of a domestic well forbidden?
    A: When the subject parcel of land can be physically and legally supplied water from a public water supply.

    http://water.nv.gov/faq/drilling.cfm

    Q: Do I have to have a well driller's license to drill my own well?
    A: Yes. Every water well drilled in the state of Nevada must be drilled by a licensed well driller pursuant to NRS 534.160.


    Q: Do I need to hire a licensed well driller to install closed loop geothermal borings used in conjunction with heat exchangers to heat homes?
    A: No. However, if the construction of the boring may cause waste or contamination of the ground water, it must be treated as a borehole pursuant to NAC 534.4369 and 534.4371. Also, as long as there is no consumptive use, a water right does not need to be obtained from the state engineer. The Division of Minerals should be contacted prior to these installations however.
  10. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    939
    Location:
    ct
    There is a similar law here in Ct that prohibits drilling a water well within a certain distance of municipal water. Try explaining that to a potential customer who wants their own water supply.
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