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GardenRN
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Drill your own well

I don't think this precisely fits in this section, but I thought it was really awesome and thought a lot of members may benefit from it so I wanted to post where most people would catch it.

I may be the last one to find out about this, but I came across this youtube series and website on how to drill your own well with just pvc and a garden hose. It looks really cool and as soon as I saw it it set off a chain reaction of ideas in my head for my garden as I'm sure it will for most of you. Take a look!

Video part 1


Video part 2


Video part 3


Video part 4


Video part 5


Video part 6


Video part 7


and the website with the extra details is https://www.drillyourownwell.com

I'd recommend watching the videos first. I put the links in the order I thought you should watch the videos. Have fun!
Jeff

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cynthia_h
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Although the videos (I didn't view them) no doubt give chapter and verse on "how to" drill a well, they likely do not give information on "whether it's LEGAL" or "SAFE" to drill a well in a given location.

Many, many jurisdictions in the United States have well-construction requirements to make sure

1) that the water tapped into is fit for human consumption (or not),
2) that the well will stand up to the work it's expected to do, and so on, including perhaps
3) that the drawdown capacity of the aquifer is not exceeded.

In California, the current Well Standards have been in place since at least the 1970s.

Please make sure that any wells you emplace are legal and that your local groundwater is clean. There have been so many unreported releases of not only petroleum hydrocarbons (gasoline, diesel fuel, and heavier products) but also organic compounds (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], pesticides, volatile organic compounds [VOCs], semi-volatiles [SVOCs]) and inorganics, like metals, that it's not safe to assume that any untested groundwater is potable for humans or animals, or even that it's suitable for irrigating plants.

Cynthia H.
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GardenRN
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I checked my county extension web site. THere are different regulations depending on the class of the well. If it is a class IV well, meaning it is used for anything EXCEPT human consumption (ie. just for watering a garden) the rules are pretty lax.

But that certainly doesn't speak for everyone else.

As always, follow the rules for your area. But if all else is a go, this would be way better than paying thousands to have it done! I just never realized it was something you could do yourself that's all.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

ruggr10
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I'd be worried about contaminants as well. I have a little stream (a foot wide at most) that runs through my back yard that often dries up in the heat of summer. It pops up from a spring at the top of my street and passes behind 4 or 5 houses. I'd love to use it to water my plants but I'm too afraid of pesticides and herbicides that my neighbors may use running off into it.

A science teacher where I teach brought a class and tested the source and found the source to be some of the cleanest water in town but who knows what happens in the 150 yards to my house.

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rainbowgardener
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I looked at the first couple and it looks like the well they are "drilling" (no actual drill involved) is only 28 feet deep and the width of a small PVC pipe, probably no more than 6". I don't know, but I'm wondering if some of the rules people are talking about don't apply to something that shallow?

@ruggr - unfortunately, I think you are right to worry about runoff from your neighbors' gardens, if they are ChemLawn types. The biggest source of excess fertilizer causing eutrophication in our rivers is not farms, it is suburban lawns and gardens. However, if it is really only 4 or 5 houses, it seems like you could talk to that many neighbors and find out what their gardening practices are. It might be an interesting consciousness raising exercise and maybe make the block a little more like a community. Maybe people would even get interested in protecting their little waterway!
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Well water is usually 45 degrees or more and some people use the well for a greenhouse. Pumping the water through a baseboard header in the dead of winter and ack into the well will mantain a 40 degree temp in a well insulated greenhouse during the night at little expence compared to other forms of heat! Testing the quailty of the water for contamination is very important. The gas industry with it fracting procedures is making some wells obsolete especially in states like Pa.
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GardenRN
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I'm far from a well expert. But would ou have to dig past the aquifiers to get down to the water? and to large degree, wouldn't the aquifiers filter the water? I would think that would take out a good amount of any pesticides.
Jeff

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lily51
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Being no expert, just someone who lives on a farm with well water,I would think that a 28 foot deep well is crude and unsafe, too near surface which would contain runoff materials. Our well is 107' deep, drilled by licensed driller and tested for quality and quantity.
Our water is "soft" water, non-sulfur, and close to being "sparkling"

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on the Maryland eastern shore, you don't need no steekin' pvc pipe. they sell well points in the hardware store - just push 'em into the sand about 4-5 feet and you got water.

I'd like to see the guy try this trick in Vermont - or my back yard, which is on glacial till.

do note episode #1 beginning text: not for potable water.

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GardenRN
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lily51 wrote:Being no expert, just someone who lives on a farm with well water,I would think that a 28 foot deep well is crude and unsafe, too near surface which would contain runoff materials. Our well is 107' deep, drilled by licensed driller and tested for quality and quantity.
Our water is "soft" water, non-sulfur, and close to being "sparkling"
28ft is just what he had to go down to hit water. I know I'd have to go down to about 130'. which would be a lot more work, well anyways, I'm stickin with the rainwater collection system. However it'd be questionable as to how many pollutants are contained in the rainwater vs water that has soaked into the ground and gone through aquifiers.

I'm surprised, I really thought there wuld have been a more positive response to this. Shows how much I know.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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rainbowgardener
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I'm not sure his water hose method would be workable to get you down 130' . In order to get the pipe down, you have to be able to bring the dirt UP-- what he was calling the "cuttings." You would have to have tremendous amount of water pressure to bring the cuttings up from that deep.
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DoubleDogFarm
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It's ok Jeff.


Eric
Last edited by DoubleDogFarm on Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GardenRN
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well, I guess this thread is about done. I'd be surprised to find myself not trying it at some point next spring just to see if I can. I'll keep everyone's concerns in mind.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

DoubleDogFarm
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Jeff,

What the heck. If it works, water your fruit trees. Less of a concern with trees and bushes than vegetables.

I live on a rock (island) wouldn't get to far with plastic.
My well is 160ft down and my brothers is over 300Ft :shock:


Eric

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GardenRN
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oh there will be some drilling.....even i just end up with an in-ground potato gun! lol
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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:arrow:
Last edited by DoubleDogFarm on Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dillbert
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>>It seems to be what we like to do here.

actually, I think the group is a bit more realistic than many.

the idea of using high pressure water to stir up the dirt under something and make it 'sink' is not new - it's used for a number of applications. I've used the garden hose to sink fence posts.

but - it only works where 'the dirt' allows it. rock strewn subsoils, rock islands, serous hardpan clay, etc are not good candidates for this method.

and it is limited to fairly shallow depths - but not for the water pressure thing - the water pressure at the bottom will increase with depth due to column of water in the hose - that counteracts the weight/pressure of the water around the outside. if you have 60 psi at the surface, you'll still have 60 psi at the bottom, whether that's 30 feet or 300 feet (roughly speaking, friction losses in the hose ignored...)

however, the deeper you go, the more friction occurs between the _outisde_ of the pvc (or other) pipe and the 'collapsing' dirt around the pipe. the deeper the hole, the more volume of water required to keep the surrounding "dirt" fluidized (minimizing friction) - at some point in depth, ye' ole' garden hose gallons per minute ain't gonna' git it. at some point one will not be able to push the pipe down - even if there is a 'hole' under the bottom - or pull the pipe up - or twist the pipe.

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Putting a cistern under ground may be a easier thing to do and collect more rain water and run off!. The cistern will also maintain a ground temp if its several feet down!
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Let's get straight, aquifers do not filter the water that is why so many environmental engineering groups and clean up specialist work at trying to clean up the aquifiers that people have contaminated in many, many different ways. Generally, in almost all states water from aquifers that run all year long or nearly so require permits to use the water from them and in many cases there is no water available to be had. An aquifer has a confinement layer both above and below, surface water only has one below. There are depth requirements etc as well.

Surface water on the other hand is often still highly regulated and often a well tapped into this will run dry long before summer is over most years. Surface water is often contaminated and often will not produce much pressure or gallons per minute. You can use up a lot of money burning out pumps which are very expensive. You need a delivery system either a handpump (very hard to come by a reliable one) or you need a pump that is driven by electricity, natural gas or gasoline. In most places getting the power to the well site requires permitting as well.

Reality, surface water is not even available everywhere that is one reason people hire companies to drill the well. Even the best well digging companies sometimes miss. I know people whose deep wells run deep after a while because the well only hits the outside edges of the aquifer and these wells have to be redrilled. You can also hit pockets of built up methane gas in some parts of the country while digging or underground pipelines etc.

In the midwest there is not a lot of surface water available period. Infact in much of the midwest the only real aquifer is the Ogalla and we are pumping it dry (mining its water). Some aquifers are close and not recharging like the ogalla, others do recharge, but where and at what rate.

I could go on and on as an environmental engineer as to why not to bother with this including how likely you are to hit rock before you hit water. You do realize that if enough of you view this so call method which is wasting lots and lots of water in the process this man will get paid by utube for his post. Just thought I would mention it.

In most state a well has to be back filled with bentonite and that is often the major cost of digging a well that is less than 80 feet deep. I have a well in surface water that a previous owner hand dug. It is unreliable and a neighbor with a well 3 times as deep has burnt out 7 pumps in the last 30 years. Wow, what dedication. The rest of the neighbors have abandoned their wells and this is a county where it is easy to hit water underground (not a normal situation). The long and short of it is, even if you succeed in getting a working well legally it would be years before it pays for itself if it ever does.

I would suggest that you invest in some sort of rain water collection system instead, unless you live in the desert and then you won't hit usable water anyway. In the long run it would be cheaper, cleaner and environmentally more friendly.

I could go on and on as an environmental engineer on why not to do this, I would love to have a working well and if this was considered even a relabively good idea in the scientific community I travel in I would have done it years ago. I hope I said enough to satisfy the couple of you that pm me and asked me to respond.

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This post seems to have caused nothing but aggrevation for some members and the general "feel" has been hostile from the get go. Feel free to take it down. I'll think more before sharing a find next time. :shock:
Jeff

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cynthia_h
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GardenRN wrote:This post seems to have caused nothing but aggrevation for some members and the general "feel" has been hostile from the get go. Feel free to take it down. I'll think more before sharing a find next time. :shock:
Jeff, I don't think we're being "hostile," and certainly my post and others aren't meant to cause you aggravation. I definitely won't take this thread down or ask for anyone else to do so; there's too much valuable information in it.

The tone I read in the posts (and the tone in which mine was meant) is more of an educational one. Just as in the discussions under "Teaming with Microbes," where the subsurface life forms' importance to us wasn't understood for a long time, so are the function of subsurface water and handling it with care not always well understood. Even professionals in the field learn new things about subsurface conditions every year; that's why hydrogeologists, geologists, environmental engineers, and other subsurface specialists write articles, read journals, and hold conferences on a regular basis.

The man who made the videos may live in one of those lucky but rare locations where surface water is 1) available, 2) clean, and 3) not subject to permitting procedures.

Please do continue to share whatever you find; over the three and a half years I've been a member (I hate to think how many log-ons that means, since I rarely log on only once a day!), this forum has proven to me, at least, that important questions will be asked and that important points will not be overlooked.

OTOH, if the YouTube video provider *had* answered the questions raised above in our general discussion, many THG members would likely have raised different questions, or joined in with remarks like, "Too bad I can't do it in my county," "Hmm, wonder what it's like to shove PVC through hard-frozen dirt," and the like. And there would doubtless have been at least a few enthusiastic "Wow!" posts, too. :)

We don't lie in wait to shoot down ideas; we apply them to our own situations or those of our region and ask for more information. Please separate this questioning from hostility or even personal attacks, which (unless you have PMs to forward to a moderator or the webmaster) haven't been posted on this thread.

And, in case no one has said it recently, thank you for being a member of The Helpful Gardener! We missed you when you had to be away and are happy you've returned. :D

Cynthia

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CharlieBear wrote:...aquifers do not filter the water that is why so many environmental engineering groups and clean up specialist work at trying to clean up the aquifiers that people have contaminated in many, many different ways. Generally, in almost all states water from aquifers that run all year long or nearly so require permits to use the water from them and in many cases there is no water available to be had. An aquifer has a confinement layer both above and below, surface water only has one below. There are depth requirements etc as well.

Surface water on the other hand is often still highly regulated and often a well tapped into this will run dry long before summer is over most years. Surface water is often contaminated and often will not produce much pressure or gallons per minute....
Thank you, CharlieBear, for your explanation for the non-scientist of what aquifers are, esp. with regard to the difference between an aquifer and surface water. :)

Cynthia

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Cynthia, while I appreciate the comments, I didn't mean that I was getting aggrevated. I'm not. It just seems that people in general were kind of put-off by the idea of someone drilling their own well. Much like if someone were to sign on to the board and ask "which chemical pesticide should I douse my lawn with this week?"

I never mind learning a thing or two...or 10 on this board. It's one of the things that keeps me coming back. And I usually gain more in knowledge than I have to contribute. But everyone seemed to latch on to this as though It were a crime (which is yet to be determined depending on your county I suppose). I'm not insulted, just looks like other may be.

Black, white, wrong, right, I'll be drilling a well in the spring, or at least giving it a go....just to say I tried once.

Thanks for the kind words. Feel free to handle the thread how you see fit. I just felt it was going to lead to arguments.
Jeff

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cynthia_h
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Fair enough, Jeff. :) Well said.

Cynthia

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Jeff -

I think you may have simply mis-read the intent of ensuing posts.

first, one has to realize that "the internet" is populated by gigazillions of nutty ideas, crazy theories, made up science/fact/rumor . . . you get the idea. just because "it's on the net" does _not_ mean it is even remotely applicable, true, accurate or useable.

which is the point in this case. throwing a couple darts, I'd say his method will work in about 0.2% of the USA. I watched the first four episodes; the dude with the pick up truck has never driven outside the county - he has no clue about what is over the next mountain. or 100 feet away from the tailgate of the pickup.

a number of other people had similar reactions.

one cannot get somebody in Maine, or Wyoming, or Idaho, or Michigan, remotely excited about "free water" - the garden hose down a pvc pipe thing is most likely not going to work there.

the thing ref: legalities is really big time. you go out to the southwest and start pumping water out of the ground - forget about how you got there to pump it - without the proper "legalities" - there be mucho big time problems. every cubic centimeter of the Colorado River, for example, is "sold" - take a cup of water out of the river in the Grand Canyon, technically you are "stealing" water from somebody down the line.

if you're in NJ, you can pump all the water from whatever depth you want without an issue, nobody cares - well, unless the well is for human consumption/use.

we bought a house in NJ with well water; found out later the owners (who built the house) had inherited a building lot, drilled a well, tested it every three months for three years before the nitrate level was "approved" for human consumption, and then applied for a building permit.

people are not guaranteed smart. the home owners gave me the plumber's name/contact info who - as it turned out - was the dude who drew the test samples from the well for years and who knew it needed a nitrate/phosphate/radon treatment system. he was called for the required pre-sale septic system inspection - and promptly informed us the well water was well beyond highly suspect and we should insist on testing it.

the total ultimate stupidity. at closing they had to pony up $5k for a water treatment system before they could sell the house to us. for the last five years they had been drinking/bathing/washing in "not approvalable" level water - and yeah - two kids, both were "retarded"

if you research the effects of nitrates on human development,,,, heck of a price to pay to save a couple bucks - which they didn't save in the end, anyway.

you're going to find a lot of intelligent internet users who are not going to automatically "accept" everything you find posted on the web.

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