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Siting a dug well  RSS feed

 
Posts: 54
Location: Acworth, New Hampshire
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I'll be installing a new dug well on my property in New Hampshire. I have found lots of guidance on the process, but can't seem to find information on where to locate the well.
Some things I do know are that it should be uphill of anything that may contaminate it and away from surface water.
Beyond that, what should I be looking for in where to situate a well?

Thanks
 
Posts: 82
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
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With out seeing a topographical map of your property or at least some pictures it's impossible to answer this question.
I would suggest however that you look for a water diviner in your area. It might sound wacky but they work for some reason.    
 
gardener
Posts: 2349
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Paul Wheaton's experience with dowsing (apparently somewhat mixed) is covered in this podcast.  It's a topic that's had a lot of discussion on Permies over the years that will turn up in search if that's the sort of advice you were looking for.  

However if you were looking for more analytical/practical tips, Phil's suggestion that you share more about your property is probably a good one.
 
pollinator
Posts: 260
Location: SE Oklahoma
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Matthew Connors wrote:I'll be installing a new dug well on my property in New Hampshire. I have found lots of guidance on the process, but can't seem to find information on where to locate the well.
Some things I do know are that it should be uphill of anything that may contaminate it and away from surface water.
Beyond that, what should I be looking for in where to situate a well?

Thanks



It is probably a long-shot, but if you see any willow trees on the property that aren't growing next to existing surface water, it is likely there is a natural spring in that area or that is a low spot where water stands much of the time.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1167
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Utilizing gravity should be considered in your well site.  It will take energy to pull that water up from the ground (a windmill or pump), but once you've brought it to the surface, you can store it in a tank and then use gravity to pressurize the system.  It will sit there in the tank, just waiting for you to turn a valve and let it flow.  Thus, it would make sense to site your well at the top of your property.
 
Posts: 281
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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Site your well were the water is. Look up the American Society of Dowsers.  ~~~ http://dowsers.org/ ~~~ They will help you locate a local to you dowser. It works. It works well. We've had the State chapter meetings here at our farm for 28 years, every fourth Sunday. All welcome. You can put a well anywhere. You can plant a bush as you wish. Trees will often grow were you stick them. Houses and bee hives will sit were you place them. But, if you want the best place for any of them (and so much more) dowse it. Then you'll be sure.

Jim Fry
Ohio Buckeye Dowsers
Richfield, Ohio
 
Gail Gardner
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Posts: 260
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Marco Banks wrote:Utilizing gravity should be considered in your well site.  It will take energy to pull that water up from the ground (a windmill or pump), but once you've brought it to the surface, you can store it in a tank and then use gravity to pressurize the system.  It will sit there in the tank, just waiting for you to turn a valve and let it flow.  Thus, it would make sense to site your well at the top of your property.



True, but depending on how steep your property is, that can significantly add to the cost of drilling a well.  
 
Posts: 626
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Not sure how big your property is, but it's not like you'll have endless choices of where to put a well.  Finding a fracture with year-round water is the goal.  Not surface water, not a trickle in the summer, but whatever minimum gallons per minute are required in your area.  

The type of soil it goes through is crucial, because sand and soft soil can cave in.  That requires casing in most cases.  If it goes through rock it's more stable.

Most well drillers want the well to be on a high point so that the water tastes the best.  Where I am, the people near the creek on flatter land have terrible tasting water and have to bring in bottled water, a horrible expense and exhausting chore.  But the farther away it is from your dwelling the more expensive it is to run, the more maintenance on lines, the more tanks, and the expense of running electricity to it for a pump.  Walking up and down a steep hillside is a real time stealer.

The most recent satellite picture of your property and the surrounding properties ought to show lines of trees, lines of green weeds when every other weed is brown (so a certain time of year), places where new native trees are growing bigger and faster than other places (that you aren't watering).  Be careful of dates on satellite pictures, they might label it the year we're in, but I can tell from one I looked at of my place, it was at least 5 years earlier, before a drought shrunk down the line of trees and wild blackberries.

Note dying trees which may be on the edge of a fracture.

OLD oaks, large pines, redwoods, chestnuts, etc.,  need 500+ gallons a day.  That means they are not tapping into surface water, they've found what you want.  Drilling even 1 foot away from the right spot can diminish the gallons-per-minute results you'll need.

Don't underestimate dowsing.  But use someone with a long-term reputation for successful wells.  My dad dowsed his own well and got 20 gallons per minute.  The location was also in line with a line of really old oak trees.  He was able to narrow the spot down to a fracture that turned out to be 8 inches wide.  The well driller confirmed what he found as well.

We've got water going into tanks that are uphill, but I've never gotten enough pressure using only gravity flow, especially for dripper systems.  The best pressure I've gotten is from a 2400 gallon tank that when almost full, with a line coming out the bottom, can run two 100-foot lines of drippers.  But once it gets to about half full the pressure, obviously, drops.

It's going to be one of the biggest expenses you'll make for improvements to your property, so don't skimp.  It will also add a LOT of value to your property if done with the right permits and cased, if that seems necessary.  

Another important decision, do you want a pump that is down in the well (submersible)  or up in a well shed?  Friends of ours had their well cave in, it wasn't required to be cased, and they had to buy a new, very expensive pump.



 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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You get .434 pounds of water pressure for each foot your tank is above the site where you're using the water. Or you need to have 3.31 feet of height for each pound of pressure, The difference in height is called "head". But if you have 33 feet of head you'd have a steady 10 pounds of pressure and it would be there without a source of electric, or other power. The diameter of the pipe will determine the amount of water delivered. Two pipes of different diameter compare as to the square of their diameter. So a 2 inch pipe would have 4 times the delivery capacity as a one inch pipe. 1 X 1 = 1, compared to 2 X 2 =4. I know that's a bigger pipe than you're likely to use, but it's easier to figure in my head than a fractional diameter pipe.

The problem I see however is that you want a dug well, so I assume your digging down and therefore will need a pump to get that water up out of the well. So once you've pumped it up you would normally have a well tank that the pump pressurizes. My pump is set to turn on when the water pressure drops to 35 pounds and shuts off when the pressure reaches 60 pounds. That's higher than normal but I run about 400 feet of hose and it'll spray 15 feet up in an apple tree. I have 1" pipe coming out of the well and into the tank. Then there's 3/4 inch pipe across to the hot water tank and from there it's all 1/2" pipe. I made sure my outside connection is all 3/4" pipe which is hard to do as most of the valves have the same diameter inside the valve as 1/2" pipe. My first couple lengths of garden hose are the larger diameter hose, the rest are what I have here.

From my experience it doesn't matter where you put the well, you'll get water. My last house had a well on the edge of a cliff. It was 65 feet deep and there was water down 15 feet always, summer/winter. If I moved  50 feet from the pump house, I could look down the very steep hill and wonder why there was water even in the well. The bottom of the steep hill was lower than the bottom of the well. But, I don't know what all decisions went into locating the well. But it was next to the corner of the house on the high side, so I don't imagine there was much inspiration on that score. With this house the well is again, right next to the house right near the corner on the high side. I should add though that this area has clay and slate to the bottom here according to the well driller who was drilling 3 houses over; maybe 2 years ago. He dug an existing 160 foot well to 250 feet. I'm at 160 feet. We get maybe 35 inches of rain a year, I'd assume your close to that where you are in New Hampshire.

These wells were drilled, not dug. In my last house the well wasn't straight which was caused, I was told, because it was drilled. The guy doing my neighbors drilled that one. I was told a pounded well is always straight, me I don't know. I knew a man who told me he stood up at the peak of his roof and repeatedly raised and dropped a 4 inch pipe and that was his well. I don't know if that's possible, But I think at my age I'd be lucky to raise that pipe once. About that crooked well, it caused problems as the wire to the deep well pump is wrapped around the pipe and since it was crooked, the wire tended to lay on the casing. I got to know that pump and the pipe and the wires quite well. About every 2 years the wire would break.

Speaking of pumps, don't get a cheap one. Get a 220 volt pump so you're lights don't dim every time the pump runs, and so the picture tube don't shrink. Shows my age, don't know if today's TV's will shrink when the voltage drops. Another thing about pumps. The last time we had trouble we got a well digger to come out as I ain't able to pull 160 feet of hose and the weight of the pump anymore. And in the middle of winter. But he told me the pump that I had picked out and installed had plastic spacers holding the motor to the pump. The plastic broke. See if you can still get metal spacers.

Good luck, I'm intending to help. Hope I don't scare you off.

 
That's my roommate. He's kinda weird, but he always pays his half of the rent. And he gave me this tiny ad:
Dairy Farming: The Beautiful Way by Adam Klaus
https://permies.com/wiki/43161/Dairy-Farming-Beautiful-Adam-Klaus
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