Where to start with 50 year old well?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by crazyjncsu, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm building a house, kind of high-end, and dealing with the builders, county, everyone gets _really_ expensive when I leave things to them. But I've done about $100,000 worth of site work myself, and this stuff has so far flew totally under the radar (I've done it right) and been a great savings to us. I'm wondering if dealing with my well would be best to do myself.

    I'd like to eventually use the well for drinking water, but that will be over a year from now. Until then, I'll be using it for irrigation.

    The well seems to produce plenty of flow. With a pump at ~80ft, I have pumped 10gpm for hours at a time during some pretty dry weather (NC over past few months) without any indication it's running dry.

    The well head is below grade.

    The well has no markings for GPM, depth, or anything.

    It started out pumping really muddy water, but cleared up after running for a while.

    An old-timer grading contractor was really curious and talked with me a good bit about the well. He seemed to be convinced the mud just came from it being below grade, and there wasn't much likelihood of there being an issue with how the casing was grouted into bedrock.

    The pump still hits mud at maybe 80-90ft. I think I should get this mud out for both the reason of getting the pump deeper and just to get the mud out of the system.

    I measure water maybe 15ft from the surface. Once the water drops maybe 10ft from there, I can hear water trickling into the well.

    Seems I can extend it with a Dresser coupling with a kit like this: http://www.completeplumbingsource.com/od-pvc-well-casing-extension-kit ... Would this be a good idea to install myself?

    And for cleaning the well... I have a pond 125 ft from the well. I have a 2" water pump already setup for irrigation. It pumps ~10,000gph=~166gpm=~10cfm. I already have 150ft of 2" discharge hose with an adjustable fire nozzle on the end. I'd need to buy about $100 more of discharge hose to reach the bottom of the well. Will forcing a bunch of pond water in the bottom of the well fix my issue? I figure it'll get the mud out but not much sand or gravel. Will this likely be productive and worth a couple hours of effort? Or should I rent a 200cfm compressor?

    Or should I be leaving all of this to the pros?

    Thanks!
     
  2. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    There is no reason to clean the "mud" out of the well until you get the well head above grade so it can't just fill up with mud again after the next rain. I would not use a dresser coupling to extend the casing. I would install a pitless adapter and then hard connect a new piece of casing to extend above grade.

    Don't pump lake water down the well! Not only will that contaminate your well, but it will force the mud to the outside of the casing, and it will just come back when you start pumping again. Blowing with a compressor is the best way to clean crud out of the well. You might make a ventui on the bottom of the air pipe and force crud back up some 1 1/4" pipe with a 200 CFM compressor, but I would use a 600-750CFM compressor and just blow mud out of the casing.

    Sealing the well with the extended casing and cleaning out the mud needs to be done properly, so you might want to get some professional help. But 90' deep pump and the controls is something you should be able to DIY.
     
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  4. craigpump

    craigpump In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Occupation:
    Self employed water system tech
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Better make sure PVC is an acceptable material in your state for your casing extension. Here in CT only steel well casing meets code. From a durability standpoint, I'd prefer steel.
     
  5. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    From your description it sounds like you have a drilled well. In a drilled well everything is supposed to be sealed all the way down to the surface of the bedrock. If you are hearing water trickling in, that is a problem. In is drilled well water comes from cracks in the bedrock, so you would not be able to hear anything. So anyway it sounds like there is a leak and that could be a source of the mud.

    You might need some help.
    Here is a link to well/pump contractors and services they offer:
    http://www.wakegov.com/water/wells/Documents/Well contractors internal 15' Updated 5-14-2015.pdf
     
  6. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Someone else messaged me and was curious about this also. I'm going to try and diagnose this some more by running the level down and listening, measuring, etc. Maybe even putting a camera down there.

    It seems like a "well packer" is made for dealing with this by adding a liner to the 6 inch casing and taking it down to 4" pvc, and this would just be the alternative to coupling to a full diameter pipe. It seems straightforward as long as this is my only issue...

    And to add a little more info, the pump is now about 20' above the mud on the bottom, so the mud on the bottom should be mostly undisturbed, right? But after the well has been sitting a week or so, the first good bit of water it pumps is muddy, so it's almost like it's being continually introduced somewhere in the well. BTW, I dug out the well head about a year ago, so no new mud should be introduced from the top.

    I spoke with the county water quality guy yesterday. They aren't at all concerned about DIY. I just pull a free repair permit, and then need to be there when I pour the grout. Then the water quality needs to be tested, but he looked up the properties in the immediate area and didn't seem at all concerned about that. I asked about using pitless, but he said they are rare around here.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Apparently freezing is not a problem there. While freezing was the motivation for a pitless, it has been pointed out that the pitless offers a handy connection and hanging method vs the well seal. I see it analogous to using an electrical plug and socket vs wiring using wire nuts.
     
  8. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'll probably use a pitless. Now I remember why I was shying away-- I had assumed a while back I'd have to use the 4" sleeve (which now again it looks like I may need), and the wrap-around pitless adapters (to have enough room for the pump) are pretty pricey, around $175. But I think it's worth it. I detest the fake looking rocks that people use to cover up stuff like this. A clean looking pitless cap above ground with a couple of boulders surrounding it for protection would look fine, and would be worth the extra cost.
     
  9. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I've got a 6-rib well packer and a 4" pressure-rated PVC liner.

    North Carolina requires that the liner be pressure rated to 160 psi (it is), and the liner-casing annular space should be greater than 0.625" (it is), and I should grout between the liner and casing with sand-cement grout (sold as non-shrink?) or neat-cement grout (pure portland, and I can add 5% bentonite).

    I'll have only 7/8" annular space around the liner pipe. As the water has been "trickling in", I expect it to be impossible to evacuate the water, and instead will have to grout with at least a few feet of water in the annular space. I understand this is normally done by pumping the grout from the bottom, but with only 7/8" of annular clearance, this seems impossible. Would it be possible to use neat-cement grout poured from the top and mixed just with moving around the liner pipe or with a kind of long churning stick? As I understand it, the main issue with concrete and mortar being too wet is with separation, but pure portland can't really separate from itself, so it should be fine to "mix" after pouring ... right?
     
  10. craigpump

    craigpump In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Occupation:
    Self employed water system tech
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You could try dropping 3/8 bentonite chips down the annular space, but they have to go in dust free so the dust doesn't hand them up. We've used expanded sheet metal for screens to seperate out the chips from the dust.
     
  11. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I called the county about how to grout in this narrow annular space with water present. They recognized how the state standards made it difficult, and the inspector mentioned how much contractors complain and how half-ass of a job they often do in this situation.

    The inspector will be present for the grouting. He said he'd bring a tremie pipe rig he'd made from PVC. I was skeptical that we'd be able to push grout through whatever small diameter pipe could fit in the space, but he reassured me we'd make it work.
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Nice! Take pictures if the inspector is comfortable with that.
     
  13. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I got out there yesterday. I pumped down the water level with the well pump, pulled the pump, then took a couple of videos:



    I found water streaming in. I dropped the packer down a few feet below this water, and we'll see if things clear up.

    While I think there is mud in the well, I think there also could be some rust or iron, or something too. You can see rust (I think) in the first video. Should I consider dropping the packer down to the bottom of the casing just to entirely seal off the old casing? I guess I'll lose some water storage, and I'll have to do a lot more underwater grouting, but it may prevent future problems.

    I did have to drop the pump down probably 20 feet from where it was before (I had it suspended at maybe 50 feet) to get enough flow once the packer sealed off the hole in the side of the casing.

    Water level 12.3 feet down
    Water entry 17.5 feet down
    Casing seems to stop 42 feet down (or at least I feel a ledge when moving the pump up and down)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Those videos work now. That is quite a stream of water coming in at ~18 ft.

    While planning ahead for cleaning, try this Youtube search:
    clean well air
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  15. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I just made the videos public.
     
  16. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I went against advice here and just cleaned it out with a 2" pump from my pond. I figured with all the crap that already streamed in, there wasn't much risk of aggravating the problem further. I'll be eventually disinfecting regardless. Anyway, I pumped out about 15 feet of mud, sand, and god-knows-what. I was surprised the sand and heavier particles were able to be pushed up the top with only a 2" pump.

    The attached picture is after about 5 minutes of pumping. It started with even thicker muck, and it turned clear after about 12 minutes.

    After this pumping, I immediately dropped the well pump and started pumping water out of the well. I could tell I had pumped junk into the fissures, as it was slowly coming out. I left the well pump running all day for irrigating, which was nice, because I had a bunch of areas around the property that have gotten bone-dry in the past few months of little rain.

    WP_20161221_11_33_05_Pro.jpg
     
  17. crazyjncsu

    crazyjncsu New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    BTW, got done with this project a while back.

    I ended up taking the lining down probably 45' below the entire old casing. I think this sealed off a lot of the casing flakes that were clogging my filters. Now the water stays clear with no sediment.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That looks great. The outlet box is a nice handy feature too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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