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Shallow Well How To???

Posts: 232
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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I'm looking to dig a well for irrigation purposes and to provide water to my chickens.  I have two location options "The high ground" and "The Low Ground".

The High Ground:
This area is near my house.  I built the house so I was there when the basement was dug.  There is about 7' of pure sand, 2'-3' layer of clay and below the clay a rocky, graveling area with plenty of water in it.  My basement floor sits at the top of this clay layer.  It is a walkout basement and the 4' deep frost wall at the walkout end goes below the clay layer.  I have a perimeter drain at the bottom of this frost wall that I ran away from the house until it came to the surface.  It has water flowing out of it most, if not all of the time.  I have a sump pump, that while it always has water in it, rarely runs.  This is due to the fact that the perimeter drain on the buried side of the basement connects with the lower walkout side drain.  Therefore the water can just flow downhill until the drain tile comes to the surface.

I've considered just trying to pump the sump crock into a pressure tank.  This would keep the pump and related equipment inside and protected from Michigan winters.  I think it would work with a small pump and a large tank.  There would have to be a sensor so the pump wouldn't run if the sump was low on water.  My understanding is you cannot have a well in your basement, which is a shame because I only need to go about 4' below the floor level of the basement to be in a water-bearing layer.

Another option would be to drive a sand point down to just above the clay layer (about 7' down) outside the house.  There should be water there as I'm on the low side of a mile of a gradual drop in elevation.  I could put a pump and tank in the basement, again to protect from freezing.  If that didn't work I could drive point another 5' - 10' and get into the water layer below the clay.  It should still be shallow enough for a suction pump.

The Low Ground
This area has a high water table (2'-ish below the surface) and is where the garden and chickens are.  I don't know much about what is underground except for digging post holes 3.5' deep and having them fill with water up to about 18"-24" from the surface.  It was sandy loam at the surface with some clay as I got deeper.  I've considered getting an extension for my post hole auger and going down 10' and putting in a piece of PVC pipe and pumping from that.  But I have no idea if the water would flow in fast enough to feed a pump.  Plus I have the hassle of needing to pull the pump and any tank in the fall.  Additionally, power in this area isn't as good as close to the house.

Another option would be to get a low flow pump and pump uphill to an IBC and then gravity feed down to the garden.  This would allow the "well" to recharge fast enough to supply the low flow pump.  But my house is at the highest point of the property so I couldn't water the flowers planted around the house with IBC Tank water.

Information from the Permis community would be appreciated.


Posts: 8850
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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In my state you can't have a sand point well in your basement...  Unless it's a walk out   So you may want to check if you could put one in after all
Posts: 1433
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I have seen many wells in basements.
You may find the rule deals with basements that are not walk out and dont have drainage alternatives.
I would encourage you to consider the internal option, then you will avoid the freeze issues which the lower system may have.
master gardener
Posts: 2112
Location: southern Illinois.
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In MN I saw a sand point put through a kitchen floor with a pitcher pump on top that flowed into the sink.  
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