Continue to Site

# OOPS! I was 'one of them' too today.

Status
Not open for further replies.

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Most Helpful Member
First off heres how it came to be. My dad has been having well problems all summer. The well is a 1950's era type still with the old mechanical pump jack design that sits in a dog house like box in his front yard. Its been there all my life.
Anyway he has spent all summer trying to get a well driller out to check it over and see why it pumps so slow. Under 1 quart a minute on average.
Finally one well driller called back and said he would change it over to the modern submersible type for around $2000. No one else Will touch it because its too old and has been obsolete for about 30 years. Yesterday I pulled the top off and lifted the pit less unit and first 14 feet of pipe out with the tractor and found it was not hard to convert it to a modern submersible type. Basically change a fitting and drop the new pump in. I purchased the whole pump, 200 feet of water line, wire, fittings and new well cap for$540.40

I started the change out this morning. I got the first section of the old pump line out and it went easily too.

The problem came with the second section of pipe. The first one I had one lifting chain and two back up holders to keep it from falling down the well. The second section for some odd reason I took both backup holders off the pipe while I was lifting it.

Too early in the day and not thinking clearly is as best as I can recall. Basically I dropped the whole 160 -180 feet of pumping pipe and rod down the well when the lifting chain slipped because I didn't wrap it right.

I was told and everyone in the family has said that the well is about 200 feet deep and the lower pump cylinder is at about 160 -180 feet from the surface. I put some big nuts on a string and dropped them down the well to find out how far down they ended up. I thought I hit the top of the pipe at about 40 feet down. So I went home and made a jig that would be able to grab the pump rod sticking out of the pipe.
Assuming it was a 200 foot well and the top of the assumed pipe was at 40 feet down made sense. I came back with my jig and dropped it down the well on 65 feet of cable. Nothing all the way down to 65 feet. Hmmm...

I went home and made a bigger and heavier weight that just fit the well casing and then dropped it in on the end of a 20000 foot roll of bailing twine. Clunk at 130 - 140 feet.
Apparently no one ever got the depth of the well surveyed before when the pump system had been overhauled over the decades. Apparently the 200 Foot well is around 300 feet actual depth. And whats interesting is the water comes up to about 20 feet from the top! Had it been placed in the valley floor a few hundred feet away instead of up in the yard it would likely free flow right out the top.

So that dad would have water tonight I set up the new pump on 100 feet of line and I plan to finish pulling out the old pumping system tomorrow. He is not overly upset about it and actually is pleased to know the well is that deep. I have to get more new line and wire and once the old pump parts are out the new pump is going to be set at about 290 feet!

Unfortunately the new pump at 100 feet delivers about one quart a minute once the reserve in the well casing is used up so the well is likely going bad and the old system was probably still working normally anyway.

But still I get paid half of the contractors bid price for doing the work! It will just take two days instead of one.

I may have screwed up from not paying attention to what I was doing and I fully admit I am a horrible worker in the early part of the day. I know better than to get excited about doing work that takes concentration and focus before I have been awake for a few hours. I've done more stupid stuff in the first four hours after I wake up then any other time of the day. I should just know better by now.

but still I will get the job done just the same. Tomorrow I am making a self locking clamping system that wont let me drop it again before I even try to lift it out!

#### JimB

##### Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
OK, it has been a couple of days now, how did you get on with your downhole problem?

Did your home made fishing tool retrieve the dropped tubing?

Did you measure the well depth? How deep is it actually?

What flow rate are you getting from the well with the new pump at the bottom of the well?

Enquiring minds need to know!

JimB

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Most Helpful Member
Finished it last night.

Everybody was wrong on the well depth. The well is only about 190 feet. The old pump system was only 80 feet long. Not 160 - 180 feet long as assumed by the guy who claimed to have seen it out of the well years ago. (grandpa)

My jig worked perfect on the first try!
The first new pump went in and ran for less than one day and the motor burned out.
The second pump didn't fit. (different manufacturer)
The third pump is set at 180 feet.

We started pumping out the well expecting to get about 100 gallons of water before it would run out do to the slow refresh rate it had with the first pump set at 100 feet. We needed to get all the dirty water out and find out how much reserve there was to actually work with.
At about 80 gallons pumped out black mud and loads of sand came out and it continued pumping like this for nearly 20 minutes at a rate of 15 -20 GPM.
The water column had dropped so low in the well that the aquifer the well is tapped into apparently blew a silt plug out of the bottom of the well casing that had been restricting the refresh rate all off these years.

The well can refresh at more than what the pump can take out even with two yard hydrants wide open. Even then its holding 20 PSI system pressure delivering that flow rate. The system now runs at about ten times the pumping rate that the old pump jack did and now the system pressure is set at 50/35 PSI instead of 25/15 PSI as well!

Life is good and no new well needs to be drilled. The total cost outlay was around $600 total. And some greedy ass well driller didn't get$2000+ from my family for a honest days work! And I get paid extra too!

But dad has to spend a day cleaning sand out of every automatic waterer valve, toilet tank valve, sink screen, and shower head on the farm. They are all jammed open or plugged shut from the sand and muck that got pumped out!

I get to have the old pump jack system too! and it looks like the going rate for a complete working system like this one is around $200 -$300 on eBay!
antiques collectors value I assume.

P.S. This time I did all of my work after I had been awake for several hours. No F ups on my part this time!

Last edited:

#### JimB

##### Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Good stuff, well done.

JimB

#### Hero999

##### Banned
Don't you have mains water where you live?

Surely you have a filter to get rid of all the dirt before it gets into your house?

What do you do for drinking water?

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Most Helpful Member
We live out in the country. The nearest rural water line is over a mile and a half a way. Around here there is not much point in rural water. The people I know that have it say it tastes just like what came out of their own well and say its not worth cost of getting it trenched in or what the monthly fees for it cost unless your putting in a new home and dont have a well there is no reason to have it.

Actually most rural well systems dont use any type of filters. I have a carbon filter on mine just for taste reasons but other wise most wells dont.

We drink the water that come out of the wells. Its as clean as any city water is!
Around here most small towns have a public well system and its basically just ran through a big carbon filter like what I use and then strait on into the town water supply.

You city people seem to feel the need to over complicate every thing. Paying for water is silly to most of us rural people!
We only pay for water when the well need maintenance. And thats usually decades between events!

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Don't you have mains water where you live?

Surely you have a filter to get rid of all the dirt before it gets into your house?

What do you do for drinking water?

There are even a small number of wells in use in the UK as well, in fact I used my caving gear to go down one of a friends to clean it out for him.

In fact my house originally had it's own well, the entire street had either their own well, or one shared between two houses.

But the small size of the country, plus the fact it was probably the first to have modern mains water, means that there are relatively few nowadays.

Probably the nicest water I've ever drunk was out of a puddle deep down a pothole, filtered through hundreds of feet of limestone, and kept at a nice cool temperature.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
tcmtech,
I don't think there are any parts of the UK which don't have mains water supply but some people aren't plumbed into the sewage system.

Do you have a septic tank?

Does a crap cart come round and collect it every now ant then or do you spray it on the fields?

Last edited:

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
tcmtech,
I don't think there are any parts of the UK which don't have mains water supply but some people aren't plumbed into the sewage system.

Depends what you mean by 'mains' - here's a local village that has it's own water company:

Youlgrave Websight - Youlgrave Water

Does a crap cart come round and collect it every now ant then or do you spray it on the fields?

When I was a kid it used to come Wednesday, about lunch time - I remember it well

As for spraying it on fields, in the UK that's not allowed - although it's common in more primitive countries.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
Depends what you mean by 'mains' - here's a local village that has it's own water company:

Youlgrave Websight - Youlgrave Water
Interesting, is it owned by the village like a co-oprative?

It sounds like a good idea.

When I was a kid it used to come Wednesday, about lunch time - I remember it well

As for spraying it on fields, in the UK that's not allowed - although it's common in more primitive countries.
What do they do with it now?

I thought they still used it as fertiliser, they just sterilise it first.

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Most Helpful Member
tcmtech,
I don't think there are any parts of the UK which don't have mains water supply but some people aren't plumbed into the sewage system.

Do you have a septic tank?

Does a crap cart come round and collect it every now ant then or do you spray it on the fields?

What?

We have normal septic tank systems. What is common around here is a large underground tank that has a certain type of bacteria that breaks down sewage. The result is whats called Grey water. It leaves the septic tank and goes into a drain field and then back into the ground.
What we use are completely organic systems with an indirect closed loop. What goes out of the sewer drain field as Grey water gets filtered by the natural chemical reactions and ground bacteria until it reaches the water table that the well pumps from. By then it as clean as what comes out of your city water supply system and often times likely cleaner!

The thing about typical country living here is most of what we use comes from the land and then is returned to the land. Cost of water and sewer are not an issue here. Once they are installed they typically go for decades with little or no cost outlay. Its also why we find the issue of water conservation a joke. We get it from the land and return it to the land.

When it is time to clean out the private sewage systems like mine. The bacteria in it has taken 10 -15 years of raw sewage and turned it into few hundred gallons of a slimy ash like material and that just gets dumped out in the nearest field or pasture.

#### Nigel Goodwin

##### Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Interesting, is it owned by the village like a co-oprative?

I don't really know, it was set up as a 'water company', but it's probably run as non-profit making by the inhabitants.

Incidently, with regard to certain members here, it's known locally as 'Pommie' (I've vever known why), and whiile it's pronounced Youlgrave it's spelt Youlgreave.

It sounds like a good idea.

It was when it first started, probably less so now.

What do they do with it now?

I thought they still used it as fertiliser, they just sterilise it first.

It gets processed at the sewage works, some is certainly used to make fertiliser, but it bears no resemblance to how it started out.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
The thing about typical country living here is most of what we use comes from the land and then is returned to the land. Cost of water and sewer are not an issue here. Once they are installed they typically go for decades with little or no cost outlay. Its also why we find the issue of water conservation a joke. We get it from the land and return it to the land.
Sounds like a good system, the waste is probably good fertiliser to the pastures mus be really green.

By then it as clean as what comes out of your city water supply system and often times likely cleaner!
No it doesn't, I live in the UK.

Still the water that's passed through you gets here eventually, it just takes a long time.

Last edited:

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Most Helpful Member
No it doesn't, I live in the UK.

Lucky you!

I know many people that live in small towns and cities that still get there drinking and cooking water from old private wells located in a neighbor or family members back yard simply because what came strait out of the ground has better taste and cooking quality than whats coming out of the city supply.

Around here many of the city folk carry there water in from the country.
Many of the naturally occurring dissolved minerals are good for you and most know the chlorine and other chemicals the city treats their water with are not.

For about one week a year all people with city or rural water are told to not drink or cook with the mains water because they are treating the system with strong chemicals to kill bacteria and do other things in the piping systems. The water that week gets absolutely nasty in some areas!

My great Grandma lived on the end of a block and had a fire hydrant next to her yard. When they treated the city water they would open up the fire hydrant every day and flush the pipes out in her neighbor hood.
The junk that came out when they did that looked like the sand and silt that came out of my dads well the other day but this stuff stank terrible and always killed the grass within a few days!

During that week we would go in and drain her hot water heater to keep that junk from filling it up. It was black and rotten and smelled so bad you couldn't stand to be in the basement when the water was running out.

#### Hero999

##### Banned
There is a tiny amount of chlorine in the tap water where I live but we don't have any of the problems you describe.

I have been to less developed a country (Ukraine) where the tap water isn't safe to drink in many areas. There too there are places with springs that spout cleaner water than tap water.

#### OutToLunch

##### New Member
i've lived in a number of different areas and have had 'city' water and well water - always with a septic tank. I'll take well water over municipal - hands down. I hate having to pay for water and the quality is much better.

#### OutToLunch

##### New Member
not to diminish anything that tcmtech said - i just think it needs a little clarification - grey water is not really what comes out of the septic tank. Grey water is pretty much any water from a drain other than a toilet - be it a sink, shower or washing machine. In the US, many of the states don't allow re-use of grey water - which is stupid. Using grey water (treated/filtered appropriately) for irrigation would save tons of fresh water that people simply waste to keep their lawns green. There are a few states that allow it, but not many.

#### audioguru

##### Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
You city people seem to feel the need to over complicate every thing.
Because we are civilized.
Water, natural gas, electricity, telephone, cable TV and high speed internet come out of the ground to my home. Of course I must pay for them and my property taxes help to pay for garbage pickup and the sewer. There are many parks, paths and trails near my home that my property taxes help pay for the upkeep. There are lots of stores nearby. Schools, a fire department station, a police station, a hospital and many other services that "country hill billies" don't have.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Replies
7
Views
955
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
29
Views
3K
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
22
Views
3K