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Needing some help, please - what is this hole?

 
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Hello! New to the forums here, been a big fan of this site for a long time. And now, I am needing some help.

We just bought property down in southeast Missouri this past April. The previous owners appear to have prepping the area to build, but never completed anything. Within about 100-200 feet of what we believe was going to be the main home site, there is a spot that has been dug out, and there is about a foot of water in the hole. There is a pipe in the center of the hole that doesn't appear to be connected to anything. There's also water in the pipe, maybe 6 inches or so deeper than the rest of the hole. There's been water present in the hole since we bought the property; it is lower than it was in spring by maybe a foot, but still there. The water doesn't seem to be stagnant, as there's no foul odor and there's frogs in the water too. The realtor had no information about what plans the sellers had for the property, or what this hole was dug for, so for us it's been a guessing game. We don't know if this was dug as a well, or to tap a spring/seep or if maybe being dug for something else, like sinking a propane or septic tank and they ran into water.

If anyone has any ideas or have run into anything similar to this, any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm including a picture of the hole taken this past weekend.

20150901_191328.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20150901_191328.jpg]
hole with water, as of 8/31/15
 
pollinator
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy SE , welcome to permies!

Can I ask a few questions?

How did you determine that the pipe is not connected to anything? If you run something into the pipe , like a stout wire or smaller diameter pipe, does it seem to be plugged?

Is there a way to dig a trench so that you can drain the water out ? Just to see if there is a constant flow. You might also be able to dig up the pipe if you can get the hole drained.

Are there other springs or seeps close by? If you dig a hole does it fill up also?
 
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Steel pipe or plastic? Diameter?

I think I'd tie a rock on a string, see how deep.

I'm thinking a developed seep or spring.

Maybe trying pumping it with a submersible pump?
 
S.E. Jones
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Thank you for the replies so far!!

It's a plastic pipe, maybe a foot in diameter, and we've felt around the inside and outside of it with a stick to see if there was any connection and we can't feel anything. It's possible that there might be, but been covered up with debris or earth. There is a bottom to the pipe we can feel and it feels like ground, not a manufactured bottom and it's maybe 6 inches or so deeper than the surrounding area. We could drain it because this is in a slightly elevated spot, but (and this seems silly) like I mentioned in the original post, there's a nice little population of frogs making a home there, and we'd hate to disturb them too much.

We've only found one potential spring on the property, but it's not terribly close, maybe about 1000 feet away, on a different slope. We do plan on doing some more water exploring soon. We unfortunately aren't on the property full-time and with work schedules, haven't able to get out there as often as we'd like. The past few visits have been taken up with getting our new (old) tractor up and running.
 
pollinator
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S.E. Jones wrote:Thank you for the replies so far!!

It's a plastic pipe, maybe a foot in diameter, and we've felt around the inside and outside of it with a stick to see if there was any connection and we can't feel anything. It's possible that there might be, but been covered up with debris or earth. There is a bottom to the pipe we can feel and it feels like ground, not a manufactured bottom and it's maybe 6 inches or so deeper than the surrounding area. We could drain it because this is in a slightly elevated spot, but (and this seems silly) like I mentioned in the original post, there's a nice little population of frogs making a home there, and we'd hate to disturb them too much.

We've only found one potential spring on the property, but it's not terribly close, maybe about 1000 feet away, on a different slope. We do plan on doing some more water exploring soon. We unfortunately aren't on the property full-time and with work schedules, haven't able to get out there as often as we'd like. The past few visits have been taken up with getting our new (old) tractor up and running.



First, Thank you for caring about the population of amphibians around the waterhole! It isn't silly at all! Amphibians are becoming more and more scarce with global climate change, so they need all the help they can get. We spend our summers rescuing tadpoles from disappearing puddles in driveways and low spots all around our place and immediate neighborhood, and transplanting them to small ponds and little holding tanks we've made for the purpose. It's nice to see there are others who care as well.

Second, As concerns the hole... you might want to check on the water temperature. If it seems cool, you may be dealing with a spring, since the water will have come from underground rather than just accumulated from rainfall. The fact that it isn't stagnant -- though apparently not deep and not particularly shaded from the sun -- lends plausibility to the seep/spring idea. My guess, from having seen similar primitive arrangements for tapping into them, is that someone thought to develop a shallow spring by hammering a pipe into it (the idea, I'm guessing, was to allow water to seep up into the pipe and keep mud out). Are there any perforations near the bottom of the pipe to allow water flow? Also, is the bottom possibly filled with rock or gravel rather than mere dirt? That might account for the solid feeling at the bottom.

If it was me, I would try rigging some sort of long-handled scoop (or post-hole digger) to remove some of the substrate within the hole without draining the rest -- just to see what sort of material is in there. That might give additional clues as to its purpose. You might also try contacting the original owner and just asking them what it is.
 
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It may be an optical illusion/camera trick, but to me, it appears that the water in the pipe is at a higher level then the surrounding water. This can mean only 3 things. 1, you poured water in the pipe. 2, it rained and filled the pipe, or 3 the water is coming out of the ground at that point.

If the water level is indeed higher in the pipe then the surrounding area, just try and "bail" some out with a cup and see if you can reduce the level. If not, you have a spring
 
S.E. Jones
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Again, thank you for the replies. It gives us some hope that a lot of people seem to be thinking along the same lines as we are. We plan on getting down to the property this week, and we'll be doing some more exploring in and around the water hole. We might be drawing straws on who gets the fun task of getting in there, because we are going to try to bail the water out of the pipe, see if it fills back up on us. I'll be sure to post what we find out.
 
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