Well Water

Q.  I have well water. Is there anyway that I can detect how much well water I have? Also can someone recommend a good reading source so that I may look up any other questions and/or concerns that I may have on this topic?

A.  We too have a well and were unsure of its capacity when we moved in. We had a lot of sediment in our system and asked around the neighborhood what people do. Friends of ours had a well they had to clean out yearly from sediment. This is caused by the sand that is surrounding the casing gradually sifting in to the well. In our area it is very sandy, and more gravel should have been put around the intake areas I suppose; but over the years sand is going to travel in with water in any case. This is called "sanding in" by the local people here. We were not up to crawling down the well and scooping it out bucket by bucket. There is a company here that works with the oil patch and has a huge pumper truck that is capable of doing a fine job of "desanding" your well. We did this and improved our capacity by about 4 feet, and solved our sediment problem for a while. We’ll likely have to do this sucking out every couple of years. Be prepared to spend some money for this – maybe $300 or so, and it’s best if you have other well owners in the area with wells that need it done too so the company can justify a trip out. It generally takes 1 hour to do a well, depending on the amound of sediment collected.

A.  Our well is 25 feet deep (we think) and generally gathers surface runoff. It is a consistent producer but must be managed properly (ie. don’t run 2 loads of laundry in a row – wait 6 hours for it to recoup, etc.). Other wells are fantastic and produce lots.

A.  We want to attach a water meter to our system, similar to ones used by the cities and towns. This would give you a good idea of how much water you are using.

A.  If you run out of water you have to reprime your pump and if you’ve encountered this, you know it’s a hassle, especially if your husband is away and you need to take a shower- aagh! You will hear that you have run out of water by your pump continuously running (in your basement if it’s inside). Shut if off or it will burn out; reprime it. (Always keep a large jug of water by your pump because when you reprime you need water!)

A.  Always have your water checked twice a year by your health department for safety to drink, as well as chemical analysis. This is important!!!!! (Do not buy a house with a well until you have a safe water report).

A.  We have managed with six people by washing laundry at night one load before bed, and in the morning after everyone has left for school.

A.  Many people in the area use cisterns which they fill using water tanks and many trips to the rural water point. We are grateful for our well.

A.  We’d like to increase its holding capacity and are trying to dream up how to do that. We are considering building a cistern into which we can gradually pump well water so that laundry day doesn’t have to be every day.

A.  Maintaining your water supply should be a budget item because it can cost you as much as living in town with city water service – if not more if you have a breakdown. R.R.

A.  I have a comment on the person who was asking about well water…I work as a hydrogeologist in NY so I think I have some ideas for them. First, you can check the water level in the well or more correctly the depth to water (in other words the depth below ground that you hit water). Depending how your well is set up, you might be able to drill a hole or move the pump so you can put an electric water meter (will beep when it hits water and is marked with the depths on it) or a metal tape which you can chalk to show where it hits the water. Using this number and knowing the depth that the well was drilled to you can figure the volume of water in the casing. This will give you an idea if your well is "going dry." There is much more I could write but I won’t for brevity. My best advice is to go to the local office of the Cooperative extension. They should be able to provide you with advice and info on wells, especially if wells are used a lot in your area. – Valerie

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