Charlie MV
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Digging a well?

I've discovered we have a relatively high water table and that awell would be relatively inexpensive in our area. Vegetables and flowers seem to do fine with the chlorinated city water but seeding the little bits of grass is a nightmare. It just doesn't care for chlorinated water. I realize grass isn't the best ecological thing but we have a few small patches for games and such. I'm also a grass roller. I'm too old to chase the frisbee but I do still like to dig and roll in the yard.

Anyway, I like the idea of pumping it out of the ground and having it go right back. The water wont be suitable for drinking but watering is attractive. Is there a downside to installing a well? Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of when contracting the driller?

Toms92gp
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Location: Louisburg, NC zone 7b

Re: Digging a well?

Charlie MV wrote:I've discovered we have a relatively high water table and that awell would be relatively inexpensive in our area. Vegetables and flowers seem to do fine with the chlorinated city water but seeding the little bits of grass is a nightmare. It just doesn't care for chlorinated water. I realize grass isn't the best ecological thing but we have a few small patches for games and such. I'm also a grass roller. I'm too old to chase the frisbee but I do still like to dig and roll in the yard.

Anyway, I like the idea of pumping it out of the ground and having it go right back. The water wont be suitable for drinking but watering is attractive. Is there a downside to installing a well? Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of when contracting the driller?
All I have is well water, granted my well is 152ft deep and taps into the aquafier. All you need for irrigation is surface ground water, 30ft is probably all you need near the coast. I would just make sure they are insured, and check with the city or county and see if you need an special permits. A buddy of mine use to do well drilling when his dad was still alive. If you have any real specific question about it I can ask him for you.

Charlie MV
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Thanks Tom. I am mainly looking for the kind of feedback you gave. Neighbors say 20 feet will do for watering. Do you know how big the rigs usually are? We have a fence we may need to move out of the way unless the truck is pick up sized or the rig is on a standard trailer.

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JennyC
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My husband used to set wells for groundwater monitoring, so I can ask him if you have specific questions, too. I'll ask in the morning about the size of the rig unless Tom knows. We were on well water only at our old house, and we have two wells here, but city water has come through since the house well was installed.

It may be a pain keeping your pump primed if you don't use it during the winter. When we moved out of our old house, the place sat empty for awhile and the pump kept losing its prime and finally it burned itself out (the burning out was an electrical problem combined with loss of prime; it didn't trip a sensor when it should have and so it ran dry until it burned the motor up). You might want to run it a couple of times during the week to keep the pump primed -- maybe get water for your houseplants from the well?

Be sure you check with the county about regulations. Also, think carefully if you plan to sell the property any time soon -- one of the questions on seller's disclosures here in Georgia is whether there's a well on the property -- apparently they're considered a hazard.
Jenny C

Charlie MV
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Thanks for the priming tips Jenny. I know pumps from having live on a boat for years. It's nice to know the land variety are as cantankerous as the boat variety. Hopefully I'll never be up to my butt in water in the back yard trying to make one go with a high water alarm screaming in my ear :) . Been there done that bought the T shirt. Stuff happens on boats.

I'll definitely talk with my insurer and the permit folks. Thanks for that. I think the well hazard you're talking about are the kind you can fall into but I'll check.

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JennyC
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Charlie,

The kind of well you can fall into are definitely the dangerous kind, but the disclosure form here doesn't ask any such sensible thing; it just wants to know if there's a well.

I asked my husband about rigs. He says what you want (small, pickup-mountable rig) is called an auger rig - ask for it as you shop around. The big kind could go much deeper for water if needed, but would a) require moving your fence and b) cost a lot more. In Aiken, he says you're likely to hit some water above the rock (he thinks you're on the Piedmont, but that's without looking at a map. If you're in the coastal plain, the situation is easier). Water above the bedrock would be good, since an auger rig can't drill rock. He says the Piedmont is not something you want to take on drilling into if you have a choice: it's very hard, not much water, and extremely chaotic (lots of unpredictable rock). Our house in Athens was on a well in the Piedmont, and the water came from just on top of the rock, but it was a much bigger (diameter) well than a 4 inch auger. You get better water in the rock (if you get any in the Piedmont), but water quality shouldn't be a problem for you since you're using it for watering.

On the pump issue: glad you know about that. With a house, you don't have to worry about sinking, but you can't bathe, cook, or go to the bathroom until Lowe's opens and you can fix the *&@ thing!
Jenny C

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