Fixing the Well

Our house is in a built-up subdivision called Ridgewood. The subdivision has municipal water, sewer and natural gas service. When my Grandfather began building the house in 1958 though, those things were all new. (Ours was the second house on the street.) In the case of natural gas the lines were actually laid after the house began construction, probably in 1959. My Grandparents moved in Leap Day, 1960.

In the case of water services, my Grandfather specified that the house be built with a well but hooked to municipal sewer. A pretty nice plan – water from the ground is great, dealing with a septic system is not. We’re one of only 4-5 hours in the neighborhood (out of 200 or so) that have a well. Unfortunately over the years the well has declined in water production – up to the point where when we moved in Grandma reminded us (as she always did) that we had better watch the water usage or we’ll run the well dry. This wasn’t a joke – if we ran enough water fast enough – a fairly significant amount, like 3-4 loads of laundry plus a full shower on top of regular water usage – you could overdraw the well and it would be dry. Turning the pump off for 20 minutes fixed the problem, but this wasn’t sustainable over the long term. The well had a recharge issue, not seemingly a quantity issue.

We batted around the things to do to solve this. The choices were pretty straightforward: drill a new well ($6,000 or so), connect to municipal water ($2500 to start, and adds $600 per year to our bills forever), or risk deepening the existing well to see if that would fix it ($2500 or so.) I rolled the dice and decided to have our local well driller deepen the well. Our well is an older 5 inch diameter bore, smaller than the now standard 6 inch. It just so happened that they keep around an old 5 inch drilling rig for just such needs. So, they rolled out their 1972 vehicle with it’s probably even-older drill rig on the back – that’s the truck in the picture below – and began drilling.

Our well to start was about 93 feet deep. It could be pumped dry running about 60-80 gallons of water, so 10 minutes at full pump volume. They drilled for a day, adding about 12 feet to the depth of the well. The results? Like striking gold! They got 12+ gallons per minute – it was so much water they couldn’t pump it any faster than that over a 30 minute period so they just said 12+. With that, we were set with water. They had to dig out the top of our well pipe and I later had to go get things put back together outside. But – a great thing to do and saved us a lot of money both now and in the future. And, not having municipal water is very nice.

Here are some pictures:

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