Shallow well

Mattsn

Well-known member
Brass Subscriber
#1
Any of you have shallow wells? If so, how shallow? I'm considering having a well drilled. Or I can dig one myself. The water table is pretty high here.

This well would be for emergency use only. Because I'm on city water supply I need to get an alternative source going.

Weighing my options of digging my own and using a hand pump or a full expensive drilling operation.
 

The Branch Manager

Winter is coming. Forever.
Gold Subscriber
#2
It's illegal to do in this area, but our soil is so Sandy here that that little tool they sell on Amazon it's like a rotary head for a water hose will put a 4 inch casing in and go 60 ft down with very little effort. But we're in that alluvial floodplain real easy to dig dirt. Even the clay is pretty Sandy.
 

The Branch Manager

Winter is coming. Forever.
Gold Subscriber
#4
Another thing if you intend to use this as a primary water supply you probably want to put 4 or 5 Wells together so that you get a bigger water column to draw off of. If one goes in the ground easily enough, adding several others is not going to be much work. This is an incredibly easy Once you figure out how it works with the hydraulic pressure. Takes a little time, but the learning curve is easy, imo. Start small, get your depth, then increase your casing size. 3/4" or 1" to start the hole. Once you're too the correct depth, go to a bigger size like 2 or 3". Rinse and repeat up to your desired size. We have lots and lots of water, so 4" is fine. You might find a 6" is better. Or 3" might be good enough. You'll know, this is one of those projects that 'teaches you as you go' jobs. If that makes sense.
 
Last edited:

Mattsn

Well-known member
Brass Subscriber
#5
It's illegal to do in this area, but our soil is so Sandy here that that little tool they sell on Amazon it's like a rotary head for a water hose will put a 4 inch casing in and go 60 ft down with very little effort. But we're in that alluvial floodplain real easy to dig dirt. Even the clay is pretty Sandy.
That is a cool tool that I have never heard about but I will be investigating in 5 mins from now.
 

Mattsn

Well-known member
Brass Subscriber
#6
What is your water table like? Here we can hit water in a pretty shallow well, but the water is not good to drink, lots of chemical runoff in it. Do you know anyone near you who has a shallow well they use to water their yards? Maybe "borrow" a gallon or so of it and get it tested?
Mel's no one here has basements because you can't dig deep enough before hitting water.

I don't know anyone who does have that shallow of a well but the chemicals (fertilizers and weed killers) are a big concern. I would definitely need to filter
 

Mattsn

Well-known member
Brass Subscriber
#8
Are you planning on drinking this? Or just as a water source? I'm uncertain I would rely on a filter full time if contaminates are that bad. Definitely drill a small hole and test the water after it settles for a week BEFORE you drink it.
Yep I definitely would test. I guess I should word it like this. How deep does the average well have to be in order to get below the contamination.
 

Mel's Cookin'

Well-known member
Moderator
Silver Subscriber
#9
Mel's no one here has basements because you can't dig deep enough before hitting water.

I don't know anyone who does have that shallow of a well but the chemicals (fertilizers and weed killers) are a big concern. I would definitely need to filter
Around here basements are fondly (or unfondly) called inside swimming pools, for the exact same reason as with your area.

The point thing Branch mentioned is a pretty inexpensive way to run a shallow well, we used them with a water hose several times when we just needed to go 40 feet or so. It would give you a water source you could get tested and then figure out your filter system. That way when you do need to use your emergency water supply, you'd feel comfortable knowing everything was filtered out and no one was going to wake up in a few weeks with a third arm sprouting out their forehead. As long as you plan to hand pump it, you should be ok with putting one down. Note: that was not a legal well-drilling opinion, that was my redneck 'no one will see it and there won't be any electricity to it' opinion. :p
 

Donfini2

Slayer of hops and barley
Brass Subscriber
#11
Hey! A beer holding arm!
I have considered this here, huge penalty for drilling without a permit though, I’ll have to look up the county site again but $5k sticks in the back of my mind.

What systems require inspection?
Permits are issued by the On-site Water Protection Program for the installation of new drinking and irrigation wells or for the repair of existing wells. Inspections of well installations and well water sampling are also conducted. Water samples can be tested for the following: bacteria, petroleum pesticides, herbicides, nitrates/nitrates and inorganics. The inorganic test includes evaluation for: pH, alkalinity, fluoride, chloride, calcium, magnesium, total hardness, manganese, lead, arsenic, copper, iron and zinc.

Where I found that figure before escapes me right now.
 
Last edited:

Mel's Cookin'

Well-known member
Moderator
Silver Subscriber
#12
I've never heard of this hose driller. I will be impressed as hell if it can cut 40 feet through this clay.
I used it in several places in Florida and once in south Georgia which was red clay... tried using it in North Georgia. They got these crazy things called rocks there, didn't work. :p

If your clay is hard, it might not work, but I admit I've been more of a sand person than a clay person.
 

The Branch Manager

Winter is coming. Forever.
Gold Subscriber
#13
Man I don't know there. The following is my situation and simply speculation. My deep well that is nearly contaminate free I would drink from unfiltered. It's cased 400' and the void below goes another 85' according to my string rule method. My pump pulls water off from the 60' level, however I have above ground positive water pressure. Minimum column i've measured was about 16" above grade. Goes about 40" when it rains. So I really have no idea what level my water comes from.

A good ways away there's a shadow well cased 60' below grade, which is a good 4' below the grade by the deep well. It does not have positive pressure. Water is about 8' below grade at all times. It's acceptable to drink by gov't standards. I will not drink it unfiltered. It has a different taste. But it's fine for everything else like livestock and gardens.
 

The Branch Manager

Winter is coming. Forever.
Gold Subscriber
#15
I've never heard of this hose driller. I will be impressed as hell if it can cut 40 feet through this clay.
There's a little more to it than just the nozzle but when you get the kit it'll explain everything you need to do. You got to have a piece of PVC and you put a threaded adapter on it and then get a medal fitting and cut some teeth in it with your grinder. There is some manual work to this but the water jet thingy that goes down inside of the small pipe makes it a whole lot easier
 

The Branch Manager

Winter is coming. Forever.
Gold Subscriber
#16
I'd jump on 5k. I was quoted 40k to put in another 400' well on the back of the property. There is no rock here. Just the casing. A handy person could buy an old working well truck at auction for 15k, drop in the well and send it back thru auction and probably come out ok.
 

Back40

Homesteadin'
Brass Subscriber
#19
I would talk to a well driller in your area - the water you want might be a lot deeper than you can drill.

In my area lots of folks have wells 90ft deep. The water is fair quality and is mostly reliable.

Some folks, like us, have wells that are 280 or so feet deep. Much better water quality and zero chance of going dry.