Cutting a PVC well casing

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chrisser

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Hello all,

Firstly, many thanks to the posters in this forum. I've been lurking on this site for years gaining valuable advise. I'm just a homeowner, but I've done quite a bit of plumbing, electrical and construction. I exhaustively research just about every project on forums like this and have a pretty decent library of reference materials to consult. Big believer in following code even when it isn't enforced, or at least understanding the reasoning behind it if I choose to bend it for any reason. Where we currently live, there is no code enforcement and after buying this house and seeing the work of the previous owner, I'm starting to see why the code exists.

Anyhow, in the last few weeks, I've learned more than I ever wanted to know about water wells. We have one, and the pump stopped working a few months ago. We have an underground auxiliary cistern, so I've been hauling water keeping that filled, but that will start to get complicated once the temps stay below freezing. So I'm trying to get the well producing again.

Well is 275' deep with a 6" casing. Below the pitless, there is a 4" pipe/casing which presumably continues downward. When I pulled the pump, the ground had fallen out of the shrink wrapped connector and I found a broken hot wire along with scraped sections of wire in several places. Previous owner used the twisted well wire. It was taped for about 20' above the pump, but the rest of the distance it was just hanging.

I have new, flat, double-insulated wire coming next week along with a check valve (previous owner just used the integral one) and I think I have the whole pump thing under control thanks to this forum. I intend to secure the wire well against the pipe and solder the wire connections before using good quality shrink wrap.

My casing extended above ground about 8". The wires were a little short (like barely an inch out of the conduit) so I intended to either extend them or pull new wire. I discovered that the previous owner put conduit on both ends, but the actual wire (not burial-rated, just twisted pump wire) is buried in the dirt. So I decided to put in a new run of conduit and started digging. There was a flat, square concrete pad about 6" below ground that was in pretty poor shape and too small to meet the state requirements. I took that out and decided I should replace it. Per my state (WV):

"6.4. A concrete pad must be provided, by either the well driller or owner, for all outside installations and well house installations without concrete floors.
6.4.1. The upper termination of the water well casing must project through the center of a concrete pad which is a minimum of four inches (4") thick and extends at least two feet (2') in each direction from the center of the casing. All openings between the casing and cured pad must be grouted or filled with a flexible nontoxic material acceptable to the director.
6.4.2. The concrete pad may be placed at ground level or directly below the pitless unit installation. Pads shall be sloped away from the casing in all directions. The surface of grade level pads shall be above finished ground level."

I'm not going to dig several feet down to below the pitless, but I have all the materials needed to pour a new pad at ground level consistent with the state guidelines, after I put in a conduit run.

So what's my question?

When I started digging around the casing, just above the pad, I found a hole in the casing, about 1" in diameter. Appears to have been drilled, I'm guessing there was a pitless adapter there at some point, although it likely froze in the winter. The pitless currently being used is several feet down inside the casing where it should be. No effort was made to plug this hole. "Luckily", we have clay soil which probably acted as a pretty decent plug, but I can see some evidence of leakage over time. I have a PVC coupler and some 6" pipe to replace the top section and make it "holeless".

My question is, how do I cut off the old section of PVC so I can solvent on the coupling and new riser? Any sort of saw is going to spew pvc bits and whatever dirt might come along into the well. About the only thing I can come up with is to make some sort of plug (maybe out of foam board or plywood) and slide it down below where I want to cut, and then vacuum the resulting debris out after I'm done. I think this will work, but I suspect some of you may have a better solution.
 

Banjo Bud

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I’m not a seasoned well guy but I am a huge DIYer and have done some things in the past that “couldn’t be done.” Here are my unqualified thoughts. I think a snug fitting piece of foam will do the trick. Make sure to attach a string to it so you don’t lose it down the well. I’d use a hand saw instead of a recip saw to avoid too much vibration. Vaccuum LIGHTLY after the cut so you don’t tilt the foam piece and cause all the debris to fall into the well. Then carefully slide the foam out of the pipe keeping it flat on the way.
 

Boycedrilling

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Pipe plug. I have both inflatable plugs and and mechanical flat plugs that expand when you turn a wing nut. Chernie is the biggest brand name. Mostly used for plugging and testing pipe. Probably have to go to a waterworks distributor to buy one.
 

VAWellDriller

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A dremel tool with cutoff wheel makes very little debris.....use a plug and/or vacuum as mentioned above. You can cut from inside or outside.
 

Reach4

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My idea of a crumb catcher is two wood disks (black/gray) cut to fit the ID of the casing. They are held about a foot apart, maybe more, by something like a 3x3 (red). On the top is an eyebolt.

The assembly is lowered onto the pitless. The top disk catches the debris. Vacuum out the crumbs, and pull the assembly.

I am presuming a well stocked scrap bin and tools. Otherwise that Cherne test ball would be easier.

img_3.png
 
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chrisser

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Thanks everyone. I ended up making a plug out of foam board with the circumference wrapped with soft duct tape.

Worked pretty well. I have all the plumbing and the conduit done and secure. Just need to make the outer form for the apron and I'd be ready to pour concrete. But it's dusk here. I'm debating whether or not to try and pour tonight.
 
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