~*~* New well yielding plenty of problems and dirty water that will not clear. ~*~*

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Hrogo, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Hrogo

    Hrogo New Member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Wellington, Nv
    Contractor used their pump for most of the construction period. Last 2 weeks before we moved in the Flotec 1HP 20 GPM series went in and we were pumping dirty water for a week or so to clear out the well. At one point while using the big rainbird lawn sprinkler we apparently had a few of the impellers go out (husband happened to be watching it at the time and thought the sprinkler had sank or fell over due to the significant drop in pressure) pump still worked put pressure took a big hit. We continued watering with the low pressure for a few weeks and the water was crystal clear but it was now a much warmer. (We later realized it was because the pump was on continually and generating heat.) We tried switching out the pressure switch and when that failed to fix our pressure problem we knew it was probably a pump issue and started calling around. Two days later the pump died completely. I had filled our 15X48" pool for the kids before it quit. Water quality was excellent, clear and mostly cool, so I was able to use lots of water without any dirt issues.

    Called the well driller out to install a new pump. He installed a Franklin 1HP 20 GPM model. The construction plumber guy had installed the last one and we had some doubts it was done properly. (There were some minor wiring issues but ultimately not the reason the pump failed.) Well guy puts in a new pump and says let it run. We did we ran it pretty hard for seven days and still had very dirty gray/brown sediment water. Called the well guy again and he suggests to put hoses on both of the frost frees (we have 2 of them) and run it full blast 24 hours straight. We did 48 hours and saw no real improvement. I don't even want my dogs to drink the water that is coming out and dogs drink lake water, but this still looks super dirty. (I grew up rural, live in a farming community, and am not a "girly-girl" furthermore, I know the minerals won't hurt them but... yuck.) So we are trying another 48 hours and we're 24 hours in and it's still the same quality. Had some power outages yesterday while trying to run it and that made things REALLY bad as the water got really dirty. Approximately 50 gallons (10 5 gallon buckets) to get the filters to even come close to a gray tea density clear. We have to drain the filters to the house after every shower and in a 5 gallon bucket we are ending up with a cup of gray brown sand. I hesitate to even call it sand as it is a very fine gray shiny powder when dry. To make matters worse I had to top off the pool as it was getting really low. Filled the top 5 inches with water (thinking maybe I can vacuum this stuff up... wrong) and destroyed the clarity of the pool which now has a good 1/4 of gray sediment on the bottom. Will be draining it and probably putting it away unless we can figure out a solution soon.

    I read about a product available to help settle this material to the bottom of the well. Is that something we should even consider doing? Will changing the pressure switch to a lower setting help? We have a 40/60 now. What about letting everything sit for a couple of days? The material does seem to sink if given time. (Pool is not as clear but most of it seems to be on the bottom. I miss my clear water, but we have 3 acres and water pressure is important for the trees, pressure washer etc. I'm also concerned about burning this new pump up by running it to much. It has a 5 year warranty but really I just want to get the problem fixed. What do you think?

    200 Ft. well drilled 4/11 for construction of a new house.
    Casing is 6 5/8, factory screened from 180-200ft.
    Poured surface sealed to 55 ft.
    Gravel packed from 55-200 ft.
    Static water level was 61 feet (actually has raised to 45ft a few weeks ago)
    Well Test Data 30+ GPM for 7 hours (Draw down not listed, but we know that it has fast recovery based on small test when new pump was installed)
    1 HP Franklin pump 20 GPM series set at 130 ft.

    Brown Sand to 11 ft
    Brown Clay 11-21 ft
    Brown clay and sand 21 to 72 ft
    Brown sand and DG 72-196 ft (Water strata is here)
    Gray Sandy clay 196-200 ft.
  2. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2006
    Pump Controls Technician
    Lubbock, Texas
    It sounds like your screen and gravel are too big. The gravel needs to be small enough to make a filter pack and keep the sand from getting through, and the screen needs to be small enough to keep the gravel out of the casing. We use casing perforated with .035” slots. Some people use .020”, and screens can have even smaller openings. The “gravel” we use looks more like sand, because it is filtering the natural sand and keeping it out of the casing.

    If the driller used the right size screen and gravel, then maybe a little more development is needed. Air jetting and surge blocks can be used to force water through the screen. This washes out the sand and lets the gravel pack settle in the right places. Sometimes the gravel gets bridged off and is not covering the entire screen. There is plenty of gravel piled up to 55’ from the surface that can settle down where it is needed. Just need to stir things up with air jetting, surge blocks, or maybe just a bailer to get the gravel in the right place.

    Because the well seems to be such a strong producer, which is good, you may never get it pumped clean with a 20 GPM pump. From the data you have it sounds like the driller is fairly knowledgeable. I’ll bet he can help you out, just hard to do this kind of time consuming stuff during the busy time of year.
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  4. bcpumpguy

    bcpumpguy New Member

    Jul 27, 2012
    Langley BC
    sounds to me like you are overpumping your well, the well might be able to produce 30GPM, but that does not mean it should be pumped at that rate. I would raise the pump line to the top of the well plumb in a ball valve for testing purposes on some line to run it off somewhere else. the exercise here would be to run the pump and slow down the flow to see if the amount of sand coming out gets less or totally stops. depending on the weight of the sand at a certain flowrate it will not come up anymore, as you slow down the velocity of the water moving trough the screen area and the well you have the posibility to complete stop the sand frome coming trough. As you said before with the old pump when some of the impellers got tore up or plugged, pressure was less but water was clean.
  5. Hrogo

    Hrogo New Member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Wellington, Nv
    Well guy came out again and developed the well for two more days with air-lifting and gravel. No real improvement in the gray silt type mud that is getting through and now the water stinks when you turn it on in the morning. I have to clean the filter before anyone showers and then they take a fairly quick shower because the water will not last before plugging again. Well guy also put in a smaller pump. Now it's a Goulds 10G but he said it had a 13 gallon flow rate (we can only fill about 7 gallons a minute) and the pressure is noticeably decreased so wondering how much we are being led astray. Any suggestions? Have talked to other people in the area and they say we probably have to go deeper to get past the mud layers. Does this mean a complete new well needs to be dug? Hate to abandon a strong well that is a year and a 1/2 old and start all over. (Can't really afford it either.) I've heard about liners but wonder if they collapse. Probably would drill another 80 feet to get past the mud. Would dropping from a 1 HP to a 3/4 HP help? What would it do to the pressure?
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Feb 6, 2011
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It would be up to your well driller to say whether or not he would sleeve the existing screened casing with a smaller one and then drill down through it. Apparently it is quite a challenge to align the drill rig over the existing casing to do that. My well driller offered to do it.

    Getting out of the grey sandy clay and into gravel or rock might be the best option. It's too bad the driller stopped where he did. Often there will be a good layer of gravel over the bedrock (glacial till) that can make decent filter material after development. My well stopped a foot above the bedrock and has around 5 feet of glacial till. My neighbor had to go 300 feet into bedrock to get good water and had to frac it to get enough flow. At $48 per foot, it can get expensive.

    I was having similar issues but I was able to further develop it and stop the fine clay from coming up. Granted, I wore out one pump and have to choke back my flow considerably. In another ten years, I may try to develop it even further and wear out my second pump in the process. It sounds like your well is a hopeless case since choking it back has not helped.

    As for the smell, sounds like the well got contaminated with bacteria and needs to be shocked.
  7. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    Consult and Teach Well Drilling Internationally
    Virginia Beach, VA
    It's the driller that drilled the well's problem! A licensed driller in most states require that the well will provide reasonably clean clear water otherwise he/she could be fined or even loose their license!
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