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Drinking Water - digging a well?  RSS feed

 
Jay Grace
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I've looked around and have yet to see anything about getting some drinking water to TL. These maybe questions that have already been answered. I don't know.
Are there any plans for a well? Drilled or hand dug
Any idea how deep to the water table to see if a well would even be feasable. It wouldn't be very fun to hand dig a well 60ft only to hit bedrock and no water.
How about a full scale air well?
Rainwater catchment from the wofati to an in ground cistern.

In my opinion an established water source is right up there with getting the poop and pee squared away and getting the wofati up and completed.

Or are all the water sources going to be from the first ponds that are put in?

Again if I've missed this topic elsewhere please direct me there.
 
paul wheaton
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This is so weird.

I had an hour long conversation with my brother about different ideas. And one of the deep roots people has asked twice.

Then last night my brother sent me this link.

Apparently this is a 1938 well drilling rig. $6000.

There is a video of it running, but I have to wonder if it runs because a master mechanic has massaged it to life, and to run longer than an hour would require that mechanic to stay by its side.

I would prefer to find something electric powered. And, of course, cheaper than $6000.



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paul wheaton
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On my previous farm, we had a spring that dribbled into a cistern. A pumphouse was built around it. and the water was pumped uphill to the house.

 
paul wheaton
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Once the trac hoe is up there, I think it would be good to dig a couple of holes to get an idea of what the underground water situation is.
 
R Scott
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paul wheaton wrote:Once the trac hoe is up there, I think it would be good to dig a couple of holes to get an idea of what the underground water situation is.


Good idea. You can develop a spring with a trac hoe. You can build a pond really quick to be for people to drink ASAP. You should have no problem in 3-4 years after the mainframe is in place--it is just getting from now to then.

An IBC tote in the back of the EV cart or a pickup will get you by for a little while for a whole lot less than a well.

ETA: A friend dug a shallow well and all it cost him was a stick of culvert pipe. Dig as deep as the machine would reach, stick the tube in, backfill, done.
 
Kelly Kitchens
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Do you know the water table depth out on TL?
 
nathan luedtke
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I'm getting the idea that after the "mainframe" earthworks on TL are established, that Paul's Land is also going to become homebase for a "Permaculture Establishment Strike Team." So you'll have people living on the land, and people coming to work and do experiments and workshops, but when the "big iron" isn't needed, there will be a SWAT team with a huge flatbed rolling around Montana drilling wells and digging swales. Another income source for the Wheaton Empire, charge 1k/day for full service design/build at your site.
 
paul wheaton
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Kelly Kitchens wrote:Do you know the water table depth out on TL?


Not yet.

 
Tom OHern
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The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology site has all the geologic maps available for download. These should show you what the bedrock at your location is and based on the available strike and dip markings used along with any outcroppings on your land, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what the subsurface is like. That should give you a pretty good idea of where the water is.
 
Kelly Kitchens
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Reason I asked is that water depth (along with area-specific issues like different layers to penetrate) is something that will dictate both your drilling requirements and your pump requirements. A water table at 100 feet is a wildly different animal than at 400 feet. A few phone calls to local well drilling contractors who have experience in your area could give you a fair idea of what to expect, and how to plan for wells. It's possible you could sink wells by hand using slurry borehole techniques similar to third world installations. A local contractor will know what your neighbors have hit when they drilled.
 
Chris Kott
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Speaking of neighbours, have any been met yet? You could ask them. If someone's laid out a chunk of cash for major infrastructure like a well, they're likely to want to talk about it to any showing interest. Plus, it's common ground on which to build relationships that grease the social wheels. If everyone in proximity of The Land loves you and what you're doing, you suddenly have a huge backing against anyone taking liberties with your property.

But starting with wells, a neighbourly conversation about water could lead into many permaculture gateway topics. The whole neighbourhood around The Land and Basecamp could end up converted to way better than organic.

-CK
 
paul wheaton
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Chris, think of the wheaton eco scale. What if what I am doing is level 5 and they are at level zero?

Plus, the neighbors are timber companies and the US forest service that have not put in any wells for many miles of this point.
 
Chris Kott
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I see. Well if they haven't drilled wells, they are of no use to you there. But I wouldn't discount the profit motive. What if you could show them citrus in Montana? I think they might be persuaded by an extra week or two on either end of their lumber growing season to take this stuff seriously. And you don't think that anyone making money off trees would care about tefa for water harvesting? Or about Mark van der Meer's work with timber slash rejuvenating soil by not burning it? Or perhaps any of the other tools you will use to transform your land.

It is entirely possible I am wrong. But I do think that you could easily sell your brand of land management to lumber people by stressing the profit motive. Using earthworks to turn land from sievelike to spongelike is too much like hard work to come off as hippie mysticism, and business people, especially those in timber and other renewables, should understand an upfront investment for long-term profit.

-CK
 
Mike Cantrell
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Jay Grace wrote:Are there any plans for a well? Drilled or hand dug


Have a look at this concept:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_well_drilling

"A very simple manual method to drill water wells, meant to be applied by very poor villagers in developing countries, who quickly learn how to drill their wells themselves. The Baptist drilling rig can be built in any ordinary arc welding workshop and materials for a basic version costs about 150 US Dollars (2006 prices). In suitable conditions, boreholes over 100 m deep have been drilled with this method."

Maybe it's exactly what you need, but probably not. More likely, it sets you off on a research path where you eventually find the right resource. But it's a start!
 
paul wheaton
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Here is a video:



Seems rather simple and brilliant!

I dug three holes with the trac hoe yesterday. One was in a low spot in a meadow. I thought there would be water running beneath the surface. I dug down 16 feet and it was all a silt/clay mix. Not a single rock. No water. I then moved to slightly uphill - where the mountain meets the meadow. I dug down 16 feet and it was all coarse sand with a few jagged rocks. No water.

I am thinking it might be time to find a dowser.
 
Chris Kott
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Dowser? Not familiar with the term. Or do you just spell dozer differently?

For what purpose?

-CK
 
Miles Flansburg
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Here ya go Chris.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing

My older brother played around with this for a few years. He convinced me that it works.
 
Judith Browning
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Here it is called 'water witching' and 'witching for water' by a 'water witcher'. There are different favorite woods for the forked stick used. A friend of ours was good at it.
 
Chris Kott
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I'm familiar with the concept. I can't remember just now, but I've heard of it under a different name. But a well-respected branch of divination, nonetheless.

Very cool.

-CK
 
kai weeks
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finding water - the trick is to use a stick
 
paul wheaton
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paul wheaton
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Here is a site called drill your own well

Basically, he takes pvc pipe and attaches hoses at one end and serrated metal teeth at the other. So this technique requires an existing water supply



He has lots of videos, and there are lots of people that have duplicated the process.


 
paul wheaton
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Here is a variation on "drill your own well" where instead of existing water source, you can bring a limited amount of water to the site and repump the mud.



 
paul wheaton
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My idea for settling ponds for the mud pump technique.

The idea is that I want to take dirt out of the hole and not put the dirt back into the hole. This won't be perfect, but I like to think it might take 90% of the mud out of the water.
settling-pond.png
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paul wheaton
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nathan luedtke
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This is really cool stuff.

I've used a "water auger" to sink pilings for a deck over a river. Great fun.

In Mark Kurlansky's book "Salt", he describes inland Chinese drilling operations, where they were drilling for brine to make salt by repeatedly raising and dropping an iron beam with a chisel point. Because salt/brine often occurs over oil/gas, they frequently hit gas pockets. When these didn't explode, they captured the gas, used it to boil the brine, and thus began the Chinese fossil fuel energy program. 2000 years ago.
 
Chris Kott
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I am going to ask what is perhaps a dumb question, but maybe not. Is there anything inherently bad about the whole driven point system for wells? Supposing you could get a food-grade stainless steel point and liner for the pipe.

When I was about 12, I found a set of these buried under the cottage storage pile under the deck. I drove it piece by piece almost 50' deep with a sledgehammer, and it was through sandy granitic gravel sitting on top of the Canadian Shield. I weighed all of a hundred pounds, and the last time I stopped there, it was still clean and tasted awesome.

-CK
 
luke allen
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You should really have someone dowse for a surface aquifer. Have them look for something specific. Like an aquifer of drinking quality close enough to the surface that you could dig with your trac-hoe.
It worked for us.
We had a friend dowse for something like that and it worked. We found drinking water at 13 feet down.

Best of luck,
Luke
 
kai weeks
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Once you've found that dowser and he finds the water maybe this kind of tool would be useful



Swedish drill


Also they talk about an alternate use for the hole-maker which I thought sounds pretty cool.

"Quite soon, Börje tried to put his kitchen waste into the drilled holes, and by this his own soilization - a method for breaking down biological material - was invented.
-But actually the method has been practiced by nature itself all the time, ever since the beginning of the world. But what a growth I had in my garden! The plants track down the nutrience by themselves and that way they get the maximum amount of nutrience that they can handle." Read more at: Swedish drill

Well... that's something you can do if you're interested in NOT having compost in piles and directly getting kitchen waste out in the land, but not making everything look a mess with eggshells and peel lying around.
On YouTube - demonstration



Anyway, I'm sure there's a company in the US makes these. Perhaps known as a "fence post auger"?

This particular "Swedish Drill" costs 100usd + 35 per yard of depth extention.

It's claimed that it can successfully drill down 30 feet. And it's mobile and toxicity free.

Hole diameters are 3" to just over 10".
 
paul wheaton
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Chris Kott
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I suppose it is better if you can reuse the rig multiple times, as opposed to having to leave it in the ground like the driven point system.

-CK
 
Raven Sutherland
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hi Paul,
Now this is a subject i have some experience in....

both in finding the spot to drill ..... plus i ran a tamrock drill for a time
look that million dollar machine up on google and you'll be impressed

I had the Honor of walking with One of the best Dowsers there ever was
while he dowsed for a well location.... in southern Cal.

i watched as the two stainless L shaped dowsing rods crossed themselves at the same spot
no matter which way we approached it .....although i was highly skeptical, he MADE ME a true Believer

the next day we drilled down 6 hundred feet and hit an ARTESIAN well that was under pressure and a geyser
of water shot up twenty feet in the air until they capped it off... 60 gallons a minute !!!

that's what made me a believer that and his claim that he found one of southern cal's largest bottled water wells
and after seeing him in action i had ZERO doubt.

drilling is expensive.... but drilling without KNOWING there's water at that spot is not a good PLAN


 
kai weeks
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Tamrock Drill


Drilling is the way to go.... but check this out!


Museum opened in May 2012 in Greensburg, Kansas

And this! Deepest hand dug well:

Woodingdean Well
"Back in 1858, plans were in hand to build a new workhouse at the top of what is now Elm Grove and to add to it an industrial school for juveniles some 2 miles away at Warren Farm. The aim of the school would be to teach the misplaced youth of the town "the habits of industry" and relieve them from "the bane of pauperism."



However, this may be very good, or with unforeseeable consequence: NASA Mars Research Helps Find Buried Water on Earth

 
Mike Marr
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hello all i did a little fact checking and found the water depth varies from 250 average to as deep as 2000 feet and it will require rotory drilling.
i dont know the exact area but the state has info available for depth in the area.
just about every thing except the tracked drill rig wont work there. the rock formations i saw posted in another forums link say all
hard rock drilling. a 4 inch cased well will require a 5.5 to 6 inch drill bit at any where from 200 used to over 1200 for a carbide tipped tricone bit.
requirements for a tricone bit are 120 RPM and 1000 lbs of pressure per inch in diameter of bit.
also will need Air and water pumps on the rig a minimum of 120 psi 50 cfm air and 300 to 500 psi water at depts below 200 feet. you have to push the cuttings and muddy water is heavy.
roughly 7gallons per cubic foot and 8lbs per gallon of water, its a big push to get that water out of the hole.
most pumps on small rigs are cheap and wont do. a rotory pump will max out at 120 psi if you spend $3500 and find out at 150 ft your water stops flowing so does drilling.
a drilling mud pump will push 800 psi and 25 gallon per minute and needs the HP to drive it
an electric drill rig wont work in that area burning fuel is the only way to push to depth for any real water.
24 hp driving hydraulics for swivel head and pull down could be run with an electric motor but wold require a large amount of money for a servo capable of driving 3600 rpm and get the Hpower and where would the electric come from?
my rig has diesel running the air compressor and gas running the hydraulics for the water and swivel. a year and 14,000 in parts to build and will need repair work after every hole.
i live near 3 drillers there huge 200K plus rigs get repairs after every hole drilled, its abrasive and pounds the heck out of them. its rock.

 
Mike Marr
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paul wheaton wrote:Mud pump

Here is one at amazon:



link


LOL i saw this pump and had to laugh its a sump pump for septic or sub basement drainage it has a float switch that turns it on when the water level gets high.
real mud will turn this pump into salvage in a few hrs
 
Loren Luyendyk
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There are obviously many things to consider when drilling a well. You should first consider why you want to drill a well. Is it for drinking water? Irrigation? Could you supply your drinking water needs with rainwater catchment? This will be MUCH cheaper and maybe even better quality than a well (or at least more predictable quality assuming you don't live near a coal power plant). You never really know what the water will be like once you poke a hole in the earth, it could be full of salts or some micronutrient contaminant like iron or lead, naturally occurring. Of course the water quality determines if its potable and if its good for irrigation. If you are irrigating then you will either need a good well or a pond, or both. Depending on what you are growing and how much area, irrigation can take A LOT of water (think acre feet = 326K gals). Most crops take about 1-2 acre feet of water/acre/year to produce with no summer rainfall.

If you decide that drilling a well is the way to go then continue reading.... First, as many have suggested, site your well (ie water) with either a geological survey or a dowser, or both. The depth of the water and the substrata will determine what method you use, the most common being a rotary drill with mud slurry or cable pull. If the water is any deeper than 300 ft or drilling through rock, you will most likely need to hire a well contractor to drill your well, as the rig would be far too expensive to purchase unless you wanted to go into the well drilling business. Definitely a good idea to check with a local well drilling contractor to just ask about the quality and depth of water in your area before gearing up to drill yer own well or paying for one.

(We recently commissioned the drilling of a 1000 ft deep well on a new farm project in Ventura Ca. It cost about $100K and will need 3 phase power to pump fossil water up to irrigate sub-tropical crops in a Mediterranean climate. Sounds kinda silly, but that is farming here in California. I don't know how I fell about it, as I think the way to go is dry farming, but we are retrofitting an existing avocado orchard so it kinda had to be done or else we would have to continue watering with chloramine domestic supply.)

But speaking of shallow wells, I have drilled a 60 foot deep well with LifeWater International (Faith based NGO) with a team of 4. You can download their manual for Shallow Well Drilling here: (http://www.lulu.com/shop/lifewater-international/shallow-well-drilling/ebook/product-17386472.html). We used the Lonestar LS200 5.5 hp rotary drill rig with a Honda power plant from drilling into hard clay in Southern California. It worked like a charm. (http://www.lonestardrills.com/water-well-drills/mechanical-series/ls200/)

If you think you could have a shallow aquifer it may be a good investment, especially if you share it with a few folks. I think they are around $15K new. Why not have multiple wells to ensure one doesn't run dry? Once you have the rig they are pretty inexpensive to set up (of course depending on how deep, ie how big of a pump you need). Shallow wells are the way to go if you can get to the water and your demand isn't much more than 5 gpm/7000 gpd. This water can be recharged much faster than water from 500 plus ft deep. Or, what about a shallow well drilling WORKSHOP!?!

Power supply for the well pump is another very big consideration in drilling your well. Most well pumps can run on solar unless you are down 800 ft plus, then you may need 2-3 phase (or phase conversion), and a 5-15 hp plus pump. Check Sunpumps for solar well pumps, or Grundfos. If you are lucky and your water table is higher than 24 ft (or you hit an artesian aquifer) you can have a hand pump or windmill with a suction pump. You cannot "pull" water up from more than 24 ft deep as the weight of the water breaks the water column. My stepfather has drilled about 5 wells in Ojai Ca with a super old and funky version of the Lonestar rig, and has made windmills out of scrap to passively pump/suck the water (at 14 ft deep) to all parts of the property.

By the way, the job of the drilling mud is to be so viscous that it removes the tailings from the bore hole, pushing them up as the mud is forced out of the bore by the pump. This means that you need a heavy duty mud pump (10 HP plus), one that has an impeller and not a diaphram that can pump a thick mud made from bentonite clay. The mud is pumped into a mud pit where the tailings fall out before being re-injected into the bore hole by the pump. One mud pit that has enough volume to accompany the amount of mud you will need to fill your bore hole is all you need.

Its all in the Lifewater manual if you want to get into it (I am not religious BTW). I love the concept of drilling your own well actually. Its really not that difficult (depending on your situation of course...)
 
                              
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I know it has been some time since these posts but for those still wondering it is easy to find what lies beneath the surface soil. The state DNR site has the logs by county going back as far as they were required to file the logs. Each county has well drilling logs online with depth, rock type encountered, and output, usually with a hand-drawn stratigraphic chart. If you plot the log information from all properties surrounding yours you should get a reasonable idea of what to expect.
A note of waring; if you have a working well any future excavation afterwards could impact the well. We had neighbors contract to have their 400' long electric line buried and lost their 50 gallon per hour water supply, now left with a 3.5 gallon per hour water well. Not saying that will happen in all instances but it might be worth considering when to put the well in.
 
paul wheaton
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Jesse Biggs
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That video looks a lot dirtier and easier than what we worked on with the drill your own well thing. Here are some pics of Paul playing with his steam shovel. Still no water in the place we dowsed, but it's looking pretty damp down there.
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