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Help - Pitcher pump on new sand point well issue

 
steward
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Hello friends!  I am putting in a sand point well, I think I've hit water but I can't pump it up with a pitcher pump.

Background:  1.25" driven well with a 3' sand point on the bottom.  No foot valve down in the casing.  I augured a hole about 10' and then assembled the point and started driving it deeper.  I'm currently 17' into the ground with 1' of casing sticking out.  There is water in the pipe  The water level is 12' down and 6' from there to the end of the point.  So that seems to be a good sign.

I took a bucket of clean house water and poured it down the pipe to see if I could fill up the pipe.  It disappeared as fast as I could pour it in.  I think that's a really good sign.

I bolted on a relatively new pitcher pump and poured water in the top of it and started pumping.  After a while it feels like most of the handle's travel is just creating a vacuum.  When I lift the handle (lowering the piston), at the very end of the travel it feels like the vacuum is done and I made a tiny bit of progress.  But after pumping and pumping, eventually the vacuum feeling doesn't go away and it just seems like I'm creating a vacuum and then releasing in as I raise the handle.

I disassembled the pump and the cup leather looks good, the flapper looks good, the jiggly weight at the bottom of the piston is jiggling well and seems to be sealing well.

It seems like if I can pour 2 gallons of water into a pipe and it soaks in as fast as I can pour, I've hit water.  Why can't I suck it up 12' with a pitcher pump?  

Do I have a crappy pitcher pump?  Am I priming it wrong?  Any suggestions?

Once I am pumping water, I'll drive it down another 18" so the fitting is at a convenient height.  Hopefully that will only make things better for the water supply.

Thanks!
 
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The last time I drove a well I was in my late teens, we drove it about 20-30 feet and hit water. Then we filled the pipe with water and primed the pump, we began pumping and continued to pump until it had cleared up a bit. If the pipe will not stay full your pump will keep losing the prime. That's what the foot valve (or check valve) is for.
 
Mike Haasl
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Should I have put a check valve at the bottom?  The sand point screws right onto the 1-1/4" pipe but I could have installed a check valve above the point to hold water in the vertical pipe.  I just didn't know if it could handle the pounding...
 
Ben House
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I think we did install a check valve above our point. The point was a screened thing about 2' long and 2-1/4" across. I think the check valve we had was steel? I'm not sure now, its been a few years. However I do know that on your basic 6" drilled well we put a foot valve to keep the prime up.
 
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Hi Mike, how did this resolve for you? I thought check valves were a no no in our climate because the pipe would then freeze while full of water. Is the foot thing a check valve that only works while being stepped on?
 
Mike Haasl
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I still don't know what happened at that location.  I wasn't ever able to get water up the pipe so I figured I didn't actually have water down there.

I think you're right that we shouldn't use check valves up here for the freezing reason.  As I understand it, a foot valve is just a check valve that you put at the foot of the pipe.
 
Coydon Wallham
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Does anyone have experience using a basic pitcher pump in freezing weather? It seems to me the idea is that without a check valve as previously discussed, raising the handle will let all of the water drain back to the table level so that the pipe will not burst. Is it difficult/possible to prime and draw starting with freezing temps? I noticed some pumps mention leather in the workings to form the seal while drawing, but the one I just bought looks to have some sort of rubber in there...
 
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when you take your pump apart take a screw driver or something that you can use to really spread the leathers oou so they really make great contact with the walls of the pump cylinder, also you can soak the leathers in water for a while.  check that the valve at the bottom of the pump is holding water and not leaking back to fast.  
These pumps were designed to pump from a cystern at about 20 ft, with trying to draw through the sand point and screen  you add additional resistance.

Is it possible to go deeper with it?  get your sand point oput first  

What makes you believe you hit water?

Mike Haasl wrote:Hello friends!  I am putting in a sand point well, I think I've hit water but I can't pump it up with a pitcher pump.

Background:  1.25" driven well with a 3' sand point on the bottom.  No foot valve down in the casing.  I augured a hole about 10' and then assembled the point and started driving it deeper.  I'm currently 17' into the ground with 1' of casing sticking out.  There is water in the pipe  The water level is 12' down and 6' from there to the end of the point.  So that seems to be a good sign.

I took a bucket of clean house water and poured it down the pipe to see if I could fill up the pipe.  It disappeared as fast as I could pour it in.  I think that's a really good sign.

I bolted on a relatively new pitcher pump and poured water in the top of it and started pumping.  After a while it feels like most of the handle's travel is just creating a vacuum.  When I lift the handle (lowering the piston), at the very end of the travel it feels like the vacuum is done and I made a tiny bit of progress.  But after pumping and pumping, eventually the vacuum feeling doesn't go away and it just seems like I'm creating a vacuum and then releasing in as I raise the handle.

I disassembled the pump and the cup leather looks good, the flapper looks good, the jiggly weight at the bottom of the piston is jiggling well and seems to be sealing well.

It seems like if I can pour 2 gallons of water into a pipe and it soaks in as fast as I can pour, I've hit water.  Why can't I suck it up 12' with a pitcher pump?  

Do I have a crappy pitcher pump?  Am I priming it wrong?  Any suggestions?

Once I am pumping water, I'll drive it down another 18" so the fitting is at a convenient height.  Hopefully that will only make things better for the water supply.

Thanks!

 
Mike Haasl
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Hi Clifford, I don't think I hit water but I'm not sure why water was disappearing down the pipe.  I tried some other spots without success so I've kinda given up on the sand point...
 
Coydon Wallham
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Mike Haasl wrote:Hi Clifford, I don't think I hit water but I'm not sure why water was disappearing down the pipe.  I tried some other spots without success so I've kinda given up on the sand point...


Were you able to just pull out the same pipe and point to reuse each time?
 
Mike Haasl
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Yup, I just made a tripod with 2x4s and rigged up a come along.  It hooked to a chain looped around the pipe with a pipe wrench to "grab" on the pipe.  I'm sure there are better ways but it got the job done.  Pulling it right away was better than pulling it after the dirt settled and locked it in place.
 
Clifford Gallington
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Mike Haasl wrote:Hi Clifford, I don't think I hit water but I'm not sure why water was disappearing down the pipe.  I tried some other spots without success so I've kinda given up on the sand point...



My dad was a well driller and windmill man, I grew up in the late 70's early 80's working with Dad.  

If you hit some formation like sand stone, gravel or maybe even sand the water would soak into that, this could be why your water dissapears.

Do you know what the average depth is for wells in your area?  are there any wells on neighboring property?  
We lived on a crick in SW Nebraska and had several wells that were 19 ft deep  the folks further away from the creek had no water on their property.
it is possible you are above water table and just need to go deeper.
 
pollinator
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I have a similar question:
We just drove a well - 1.25 pipe, sandpoint at the bottom.  We have a brand-new pitcher pump (that says it can draw 20') and an electric pump also.

When we had 10' pipe in the ground (plus sand point) we put a nut on a string down, saw that we had a few feet of wet string, hooked up the pitcher pump.  We had muddy water that we could draw up with the pitcher pump.  We decided to drive deeper.  

We are now at 15' pipe in the ground (plus sand point).  We put the string back down and we still have water - it seems to be at the same depth as the last time we ran the string down, so we think we are in the same vein?  But the pitcher pump WILL NOT draw the water.  We also tried the electric pump, nothing.  

I'm going to let it sit overnight, perhaps the leathers will expand more.  

ANy other advice?
 
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To rule out the most obvious, are the pumps being primed?   I know this is sort of asking is 5he computer is plugged in, but it happens.
 
Thomas Dean
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John F Dean wrote:To rule out the most obvious, are the pumps being primed?   I know this is sort of asking is 5he computer is plugged in, but it happens.



Yes.  :-)
 
Coydon Wallham
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And you used some sort of lube on the joints and made sure they were extremely tight? The worst thing for me was how the top joints came loose every few blows. Luckily I had helpers who cranked the other joints tight as they could.
 
Thomas Dean
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Coydon Wallham wrote:And you used some sort of lube on the joints and made sure they were extremely tight? The worst thing for me was how the top joints came loose every few blows. Luckily I had helpers who cranked the other joints tight as they could.



Yes. We used some stuff on the joints and tightened them.

Today I ran water down the pipe... and I could fill the pipe.  It would go down when I stopped running water into it... but I could definitely fill it.  
I am thinking that perhaps we are in a clay layer.  

Family decision is that we will probably try driving a bit deeper tomorrow (as all the driving equipment is still sitting there), and if we don't get water, try pulling up to the water we had before, and pump it awhile to see if it clears.
 
Thomas Dean
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Coydon Wallham wrote:And you used some sort of lube on the joints and made sure they were extremely tight? The worst thing for me was how the top joints came loose every few blows. Luckily I had helpers who cranked the other joints tight as they could.



Yes. We used some stuff on the joints and tightened them.

Today I ran water down the pipe... and I could fill the pipe.  It would go down when I stopped running water into it... but I could definitely fill it.  
I am thinking that perhaps we are in a clay layer.  

Family decision is that we will probably try driving a bit deeper tomorrow (as all the driving equipment is still sitting there), and if we don't get water, try pulling up to the water we had before, and pump it awhile to see if it clears.



Driving deeper was a no-go.  We were in some clay layer, hard driving, water would not go down the pipe.  We pulled the pipe back up 10' put the pitcher pump back on, and have water.  We are at 10' pipe plus the sand point.  We're probably pulling the same water as is in the cow pond not too far off.  Fine for the garden and livestock, it would probably have to be a REAL emergency for us to drink it! (and would require treatment).
The electric pump I was given does not seem to pull enough water to run a sprinkler... I get a trickle out of the pump.  I don't know if the pump is worn out, or whether there is simply not enough gpm coming from the well.

Linguistic note:
I keep calling this a "sand point well" because that is the terminology I see online, but in the neighborhood they are called "stab wells."  The more I talk about what we did, the more people seem to know about them or have them.  

Pulling the well:
I put the tractor loader over the well, used chain and come-along to put tension on the pipe, then we used a pair of farm jacks/high lift jacks.  One on each side, pushing up on pipe wrenches that were clamped on the pipe.  It came hard at first, really hard, then it started to come rather easily so we used the loader and chain to slowly and carefully pull it straight up.  

Water still has a bit of sediment, but runs cleaner every time I pump a bucket.

I still have to fill the post-hole we dug to start our driving a few feet down, and build a stand/housing for the pitcher pump and electric pump, but otherwise we were moderately successful.  Wishing we had hit deeper ("safer") water, wishing we had more flow from the electric pump, but we have water.

Maybe we'll try again in another location some day, but for now, on to other projects.
 
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