Information on Drilling A Water Well For A New Home
If you're building a new home, buying a home that is serviced by a private well, or drilling a new well to replace an existing one, you should have an understanding of the process. Drilling a well should only be undertaken by a qualified well water professional. Depending on your location and the type of well required, the process used and costs can vary significantly.
A modern water well can provide you and your family with plenty of naturally filtered, pure drinking water. There are three basic types of wells commonly used today.
• Bored or Shallow Wells are usually bored into an unconfined water source and are generally found at 100 feet or less.
• Consolidated or “Rock” Wells are drilled into geological formations that consist entirely of rock, contain no soil and is never in danger of collapse. Their average depth is around 250 feet.
• Unconsolidated or “Sand” Wells are drilled into geology consisting primarily of soil, sand, gravel and clay, material that collapses on itself.
Here in New England our geology generally requires that we drill consolidated or rock wells, but for the communities that we serve near the coast, sand wells are more common.
Let's take a more in depth look at what goes into selecting the proper site for a well, the techniques used for drilling and some components included in a well water system.
Siting and Designing Your Well
Water well construction consists of three major factors – establishing the right location, sizing the system correctly and using the proper construction techniques. The location on your property is subject to regulations as required by the state, county and local water board. Your well water contractor will use their experience and expertise to locate the well on your property according to your lot size, the location of existing structures and utilities and the location most likely to provide a good supply.
Proper sizing is a critical element of well construction. Your system is designed based on a number of factors including how deep the water source, the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, and household members and anticipated use from appliances, swimming pools, and spas, and irrigation and outdoor use.
Proper construction is the key to maintaining a safe, operating well. The initial cost of a properly designed water well may be high, but in the long-run, a properly constructed well results in the efficient delivery of water, requires less maintenance and provides a longer well life.
Water Well System Components
When constructed with quality materials your well can have a long productive life with minimal maintenance. The following components are the most important materials used in the construction of your well.
• Casing – used to maintain open access to the well while preventing leakage in contaminants into the well. Casings are generally made from black steel, galvanized steel, PVC or concrete pipe.
• Grout – A sealant used to fill the spaces around the exterior of the well. Also protects against contaminants. Grout can be made from neat cement, bentonite or concrete each used separately.
• Screen – Keeps the sand and gravel out while allowing the ground water to enter the well. Screen is made of many materials the most common being stainless steel and PVC. Screens are used in unconsolidated wells.
• Gravel Pack – Gravel is placed around the outside of the screen to prevent sand from entering the well or clogging the screen and to stabilize the well assembly.
Drilling Your Water Well
There's two primary drilling method used to create a residential water well. Both use sophisticated technology to address specific geological challenges.
Air Rotary Drilling: Is used primarily for drilling consolidated wells. A drill rig or trucks are outfitted with a large drill that is lowered to the ground and turned on. As the drill spins, an air-powered hammer smashes the rock and soil to create the well shaft. When the drill hits bedrock a casing is placed to keep materials out of the opening. Drilling continues until water is found. The space between the casing and the ground is then filled with grout, the well is cleaned and capped.
Mud Rotary Drilling: Used primarily to drill unconsolidated wells in sandy soil. Basically the same process as air drilling except that a fluid is pumped through the center of the bit which is ejected at high-speed in order to keep the well from caving in. Once drilling hits an area where water is found the casing and screen are placed to keep the well clean. The well is then grouted and capped.
Your well water professional can provide you with the details and components of your new water well system. Here in New England, Skillings & Sons uses both Air and Mud rotary drilling depending on the local conditions. If you have any questions or are in need of a new well, please give us a call. We're always happy to meet with you, discuss your project and provide you with an estimate.