Old shallow wells found on property. Would like to use for irrigation. Novice.

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Jagster

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Hello. I purchased my home some years back (Jacksonville, FL) and I would like to switch from my city water irrigation to using a shallow well if possible. Many of my neighbors use wells for their irrigation, and it looks like at some point in the past this home also had a shallow well - or at least it appears that way based on some PVC piping that is in the back yard near the irrigation manifold. I purchased the home as a foreclosure so I never met the prior owner and don't know the history behind this but there are two 2-inch PVC pipes in the yard spaced about 23 feet apart. I've measured their depths (to sand) just by using my measuring tape and found that one is 30 feet deep from grade, and another is 21 feet. The 21' deep one sits about 2' lower due to the way the yard slopes down away from the house. The 30' deep one has about 15.5' of water and the 21' one has about 8.5' of water. I don't know how far the casings actually go down, I just measured with a weigh on the end of my measuring tape until they hit sand.
shallow_well_pic1_labeled.jpg
well water.PNG

I have no idea why there are two, but the one farther away has some additional piping that looks to be for the outlet side of the pump and heads back into the ground. But I have not dug up to find where it ends yet. I can only make guesses as to why it is the way it is but what is certain is that the irrigation was tied into the city water at some point before I found and purchased the home. It's worth mentioning that when I purchased the home it was missing many items because it looks like the prior owner removed them before it was foreclosed on. The HVAC condensor and evap units were gone, garage door openers, all appliances and some cabinets, water heater, even fence panels (though the posts were left behind). So it may be that they took/sold the pump and maybe the bank plumbed it back to city... though that seems unlikely.

So I ,never having any experience with a well, would like to get some advice on how I would go about purposing one of these wells for my irrigation. Obviously I would need to plumb into the existing manifold and such, but my ignorance is along the lines of maybe understanding why these casings were left unused.. and if there is any testing I should do before investing in all the work and hardware needed. And what would be the recommended design for the system (pump, head, tank, valves, etc). Thanks

A few pics of what's in place.
30 foot deep
shallow_well_pic4.jpg
shallow_well_pic3.jpg
shallow_well_pic5.jpg
shallow_well_pic6.jpg
 
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WorthFlorida

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It's not so much how deep the well is, is there water? 2" PVC pipe well maybe a shallow well with a screened point at the bottom. You'll need to dig around it to check is either well has a casing. At least in South Florida, hydro static pressure brings the water to about 5 feet below grade. My well was 80 feet but only 20' of a 2" PVC pipe was inside the casing to draw water. If your neighbor's are using an above ground irrigation pump, then your water level usually would not be lower than 20'.

When you measured the well depth with a tape measure, was the tape wet?
 

Jagster

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It's not so much how deep the well is, is there water? 2" PVC pipe well maybe a shallow well with a screened point at the bottom. You'll need to dig around it to check is either well has a casing. At least in South Florida, hydro static pressure brings the water to about 5 feet below grade. My well was 80 feet but only 20' of a 2" PVC pipe was inside the casing to draw water. If your neighbor's are using an above ground irrigation pump, then your water level usually would not be lower than 20'.

When you measured the well depth with a tape measure, was the tape wet?
Thanks. Yes, I did confirm there was water in both. When I pulled the tape out I checked where it was first wet to determine the depth of water. I made a CAD drawing (in Sketchup) based on all my measurements and attached in the initial post. I'll dig around the PVC a bit tomorrow to see if there is any additional casing. Since I have no prior experience with wells I just though this 2" pipe is where I would drop in a sand point but I guess that's just my lack of knowledge on the matter.

This is the setup my neighbor right across the street has.
20220603_185331_3.jpg
 

Valveman

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The 2" PVC is the sand point. Do not drop a sand point inside of it. Connect a check valve and a pump to each pipe and see what you get. Worst case they don't make any water and you would need to drive a new point well to use the pump.
 

Jagster

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The 2" PVC is the sand point. Do not drop a sand point inside of it. Connect a check valve and a pump to each pipe and see what you get. Worst case they don't make any water and you would need to drive a new point well to use the pump.
I see. Thanks. I'll buy a pump+valve and see what pulls up. Is a 1HP shallow well jet pump right? Or would less or more be better?
 

WorthFlorida

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Your neighbors is a jet pump with a pressure switch & tank. It's not what you want for irrigation unless you plan to to connect spigots for garden hoses. If the pump is to too large the pressure switch will cycle on and off the pump and shorten the life of the motor. The motor is probably 3/4 hp with both the inlet and outlet at 1" since that is the size pipe being used. Notice the well pipe is reduced from 2" or larger.

Size wise it really depends on the draw of the well and available power. Irrigation pumps for home use are 1HP, 1.5 HP to 2 HP. 1 HP can be is pre-wired for 120v, or a simple wire strap change for 240v. 1.5 HP is pre-strapped for 240v and easily change to 120v, 2HP is 240v only. 1 HP is OK but the zones will need to be small to keep up. I prefer 1.5HP, most irrigation pumps are 2" both inlet and outlet. 2HP is great if you draw from a lake. If your well pipe is 2" all the way and no casing, 1 HP would be a good size since your neighbor pumps work OK.

Do get an irrigation pump, no pressure switch or tank is needed. If you need to redo the irrigation with zone valves, use 1".

 
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