hand drilling a well??

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ok,, been thinking about a spring project,, I would love a hand pump near the garden,, cant get a normal well driller there,, was thinking about pounding my own. Anyone know where to get the well points or if this is even posiible to do?

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), November 21, 2001


Not sure where you get the points. I do know that it is a hard hard job. We have put down about 5 of them over the course of time and locations. Being in Florida we have good luck on hitting streams of water. We always used a big block of wood to help pound it down. If you have an existing water supply it is helpful to have a water hose to help "drill" the hole. Maybe a hardware or feed store could order the points? or get a welding shop to make one? Good luck....

-- Lynnda (venus@zeelink.net), November 21, 2001.


I did one in my garden a few years ago.

You didn't mention how far down your water is. That's important. You should determine that first before attempting this -- you should have a shallow water table for this to work. Type of soil is important. Clay and rocky soil are bad, this method probably won't work for those soils.

You need a source of water under fairly high pressure in a garden hose, such as your house water system.

I knew my water level was at about 20 feet since I have a nearby well.

My local well driller tipped me off to this method, though he said he'd never tried it.

Generally, this is what you do. Get 5' lengths of galvanized water pipe, number depends on how deep you have to go. (I figured I would go to 30 ft. deep.)

Get a fitting for one end of the pipe that allows you to attach the male end of your garden hose to it.

Basically, what you do now is turn on the water and lift and drop the pipe section on the ground. The water pressure will dig the hole for you and dirt will flow up out the sides. Under good conditions, the water pressure keeps the sides of the wall from collapsing.

As you work your way down, you keep attaching the 5' sections of pipe and continue down. Remember, the more pipe you attach, the heavier it gets and it would be a good idea to set up a tripod and pulley system over the pipe, cause you are going to have to pull this whole rig back up when you are at the desired depth. Why? Because you have to then attach your sand point to the end and lower it back down into the hole. I didn't do the tripod and regretted it.

The sand point, by the way, can be purchased from any well driller.

In my case, I got down about 20' and got stuck on something hard. I hadn't set up a tripod and was working alone, and couldn't get the whole thing back up. So I called my driller and he came in and together we got it down the remaining 10', got it back up the hole and put the sandpoint on and lowered it back (with water running out the sandpoint for lubrication).

He put some sort of valve above the sand point and drilled a small hole in the pipe below the frost line so that water would seep back down in the winter and wouldn't freeze the pump.

I put an old fashioned pitcher pump on the pipe, poured a cement foundation around it and that was it.

Best have a few friends and at least 2 pipe wrenches if you try this.

I would ask your local driller if he's heard of this and try to get more tips from him before trying it..

Good luck,

-- bruce (rural@inebraska.com), November 21, 2001.

Stan: I've driven several well points too. Bruces suggestion for the water hose makes sense to me but I never did it that way. The wells I drove were approx 27' deep in sand/gravel.

You'll probably use 1 1/4" pipe. The other option for a point is 2". I bought my point from the local hardware store but just about any plumbing supply store should have them too. I'd strongly recommend a stainless steel point. If you don't use stainless the screens will eventually plug up with lime and mineral deposits.

If you drive the point by hand you'll need a point driver. Think a piece of 3-4" pipe, 3' long or so with "D" handles on each side and a weighted, welded cap on the end. You slip the open end of the driver over the top of the point and well pipe and start driving. Its ALOT of work.

Also you'll need drive couplings and a drive cap. They're heavier than the standard coupling and cap. If you live in a fairly rural area where folks are regularly installing points you might check the hardware store to see if they rent out tools. Our hardware store here rents out an electric jack hammer with a special fitting for the end for driving points. Believe me it'll be well worth the money if they do. I figure it saved me 8-10 hrs of hard labor.

-- john (natlivent@pcpros.net), November 21, 2001.

Good point about the stainless sandpoint, John.

Yes, the water method really works if you have the right soil type and you do it right. I think it took me only about 3-4 hours to go down the first 19 ft., then I hit something (maybe the thighbone of a tyrannisauris rex? sp). Then I got a pounding cap and pounded til I broke the cap. That's when the driller came to the rescue.

One other tip is to make sure you're going down straight, use a level to make sure. It's even more fun if you have to pull the pipe up if it is slanting down at an angle.

The valve the driller put down the hole of course was important. A one-way valve that allows the water to enter the pipe as you pump but closes after each pump. As I recall, it had a rubber gasket on one end, and he dropped it down the pipe and rammed it into the top of the sandpoint with a whack from another pipe he lowered down the hole.

-- bruce (rural@inebraska.com), November 21, 2001.

Hi All.

I have a 20 foot dug well that has gone dry. I am using it as a holding tank for now, but would like to try a sand point. I have been researching how to do it but have some questions hopefully somebody could answer.

I wonder if there is any danger of ruining the well so it won't hold water any more, if you drive a pipe down. Also how can you tell if you hit a good water vein? Does the water shoot up or do you drive it as low as you can? Also if you hit a vein you hook your pump pipe to the pipe attached to the sand point, right? Is there any way you can still draw from the old well as well as the sand point driven in the bottom of the well. I was thinking just in case the sand point goes dry you can get a water truck back and use it as a holding tank again.

Thanks for your time and advice.


-- kelly green (rustic13@yahoo.com), February 15, 2002.

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