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Artesian Well Run Off

 
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Hey folks,

So I recently had a well dug and surprise, surprise, it won't stop flowing out of the top of the pipe.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience dealing with artesian wells and what to do with the run off?

I am a major newbie to all of this, so any advice or input would be appreciated.

Originally I planned on having a deep well sub pump installed with a hand pump on top.

After a bit of research I found that a well flow packer could potentially be used to stop the flow of the water, but I'm not sure if that's actually a good idea. If a flow packer was installed I would no longer be able to attach a hand pump, nor could I take advantage of the additional flow of water from the well. I am thinking that having struck an artesan well could actually be a blessing in disguise. Without really knowing how these things work my initial worry is that having it leak out 24/7/365 could lead to water scarcity in the future, but maybe not. Any advice?

I am currently considering piping the overflow away from the well head downhill and having it empty into an excavated pond. Of course this isn't so much of a solution as an adaptation. Even with a pond to catch the excess water, that too will create an overflow that will need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, a pond would be a great feature on the property and would certainly take advantage of this newfound abundance of water.

My concern with the pond idea, or basically any of the well overflow solutions, is freezing. Winters in my area are cold and long, so something will need to be done to ensure the water has a safe way of exiting without freezing up. In my mind this means piping the water away below the frost line, but even digging a trench and piping it downhill to empty means that ultimately that pipe needs to come out of the ground again at some point, right? Won't this just expose it to potential freezes? Perhaps a high enough flow rate out of the pipe will mean it won't freeze?

Anyway, this is enough of my rambling brainstorming. Thanks for hearing me out and I look forward to whatever advice or input any of yall have.
 
master steward
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Miguel, Welcome to the forum.

Without really knowing how these things work my initial worry is that having it leak out 24/7/365 could lead to water scarcity in the future



Where I live it is hard to keep water in a pond so people regularly use their well water to keep the pond full.  Yes, like you I feel this could lead to scarcity in the future so we do not use that method.  Our pond is empty except after a very hard rain.  Scarcity in the future though maybe not in my lifetime, who knows?

It seems to me that I remember people in the past using runoff like that to fill a trough for their cattle.

Our well uses a pump that feeds into a storage tank called a pressure tank.  Maybe this is something that would work for you.
 
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How many gallons per minute is it generating?  Any idea of the pressure?  Seems like a wonderful problem to have!
 
pollinator
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My grandfather's farm had an artesian well. The water was first channeled into a large tank, which before the farm had electricity, served as a refrigerator. For decades, containers of milk were set in that tub to chill while waiting to be sold. No matter what the weather, the water in that tub stayed around 35 degrees. I thought it was only 18 inches deep, but after my grandfather died I was helping clean things up in the barn, and we realized the tub was so full of silt that it only looked shallow. I never did see the bottom, but we did find several jars of canned peaches that had to be 50 years old, buried under the silt. I would have loved to explore deeper, but never got the chance. There must be a ton of stuff hidden in that tank!

Second, the water flowed into the cattle troughs. Some of these troughs had a constant flow, others had a lever that the cows bumped with their chins when drinking in order to refill it. But the well meant he never had to worry about a pump failing during a power outage!

After that, any water left was channeled through a pipe and out across the fields. In years with normal amounts of rain, this resulted in a tiny creek, maybe 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep, and very slow moving. It meandered enough that cattle in 3 fields could drink from it, while it irrigated another. During dry years, the creek might be smaller and peter out before the water reached the end.

If the water did reach the end, it emptied into a river, which also meandered through my grandfather's farm.
 
Miguel Moreno
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Not sure of the pressure but I was told the well refills at 3 gallons per minute.

I agree it's a good problem to have, but it's not a problem I planned for and now I'm scrambling to come up with a viable solution.
 
pollinator
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Artesian wells in a freezing climate are as much a curse as a blessing. I have seen people build insulated buildings over them to prevent freezing. If the casing freezes and splits, contamination is just about inevitable.

Running water will prevent freezing up to a point. You said your winters are cold and long. Details? How deep is the frost line?
 
Miguel Moreno
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I'm in western New Brunswick, Canada. I can expect up to 6 months of freezing temps. Frost line should be approximately 4 feet.
 
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How deep did they drill the well? The deeper they drilled, the more I'd worry about the water being "ancient" water that takes a long time to percolate deep enough for it to re-fill. The shallower, the faster water will percolate down to it. I've heard the opinion that 20 meters is shallow enough to refill reliably while still being clean, but I've no good idea where I heard that.

Having lots of features on your land to soak up and infiltrate that extra water (after using it for useful things as already suggested above) such as artificial wetlands around that pond you mentioned, would be an approach I would take. We had new neighbors who drained a swampy area on their land and seemed quite surprised when I wasn't pleased about it, until I pointed out that it could quite possibly impact on our well. They had lots of land, so I didn't see why they had to drain the swamp, but people still think water should leave as fast as possible, rather than the permaculture approach of holding on to it as long as possible.

That's assuming you're not in a region where sink-holes or mud slides are an issue. I don't know much about sink-holes, but I do know that having lots of trees with deep roots help protect against mud slides. I would choose tap root species and plant by seed as transplanting rarely gives a decent tap root, from my understanding.

With "weather weirding" we're tending to get longer droughts and bigger storms, so having a flexible, resilient property will be of increasing importance.

 
pollinator
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My major concern is wastage of water.
Australia is a dry country and I guess we are trained to save wasting water.
Here is a document from Michigan that may help
Problems with flowing wells

Its seems installing a tap is a good start, and if the casing has a thread available a valve can be easily installed, otherwise an adaptor could be made up and used.
I am confident that this gear will be available.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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From what I've read on artesian wells, there is a danger of draining the aquifer too quickly and losing flow. It's basically free energy, and it would be a shame to lose that.

If it were my well, I think I would seriously consider some sort of seal and valve arrangement below the frost line.
 
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I have had this exact same problem - zone 2b - and it is a problem with your cold weather.

The good news is you can pack it for the winter until you get a better grasp on how to handle the situation.  We used an inflatable packer that went down 6ft.  Works like a charm to give you time to get your poop in a group.

The easiest solution would be to keep it packed below the frost line and add a pit less adapter below the pack to allow the water egress for your needs.

If you flow it out to a pond, as long as the water keeps flowing, you should have no problem with it freezing at the end of the pipe.  Bury the pipe and add (bury) a sheet of poly foam insulation at the end to aid in the transition.

If you have enough pressure to run you household with this, Congratulations!  You've hit the jackpot.  If there is not enough pressure, you've still have a great asset.  There are different ways to mitigate the low pressure and you do not have the challenges of bringing water to the surface.  It is a win.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Hey Tim, excellent post. Welcome to Permies!
 
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