Cleaning An Old Well - How Do I Do It?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by veme, May 6, 2006.

  1. veme

    veme Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have an old hand dug rock cased well on our farm that is about 4 ft. deep at present (we have a Spring drought here - it has been 6-7ft. deep before).
    How do I clean it out?
    I want to install a Kant Freeze hand pump so I can use it during emergencies. That last time it was tested was in 1958, so I will have it tested again.
    I think somebody told me once that after you pump out the water you should put lime in it. Is that correct?
    If so what type of lime? Any information would be of great help. I'm in the dark on this one.
    Thanks. :)

    veme
     
  2. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    get a 4020 with a jim pole, repel rope, pump the water out of the well, shovel in hand, repel into the well with a lift bucket and clean it out. Put the soot in bucket have it lifted to the surface and dumped, keep digging until ??? then let the well naturally fill with water.
    Around here we often have 20ft and deeper hand dug wells, I would notify the fire dept, just incase the stone sides collapse!!! :eek:

    Usually around here the wells fill up with dead leaves, cause nobody bothered to cover the top of the well, and it is scary especially when the well is hard to find, cause the hand stoned casing stops at ground level!!! :nono: :nono:
     

  3. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I cleaned out one of these once.

    Just go down into it, and pail it out. scoop out everything that you can reach. Sand leeches out of the aquafer layer and clogs the spring, where it looks like silt. So it clogs the flow. Just scoop it out and haul it away.

    :)

    Dont worry about sanitation. Just clean out everything that has lodged itself into positions of clogging the water flow.

    Later when it is flowing, then you can drop a gallon of bleach down it, to sanitize it. Really a week of flowing, flushes out everything too.
     
  4. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    a gallon of bleach sounds way excessive
     
  5. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    In this country, they put in goldfish. They do tend to get all inbred, after awhile, and begin to looks funny.
     
  6. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Pump the water out with a good slurry style of pump (one that will pump heavy solids) After it's empty spray water into the bottom of the well with as much pressure as you can while pumping it out at the same time. It takes longer and uses water, but it's a way safer method than actually going down into the well. This is assuming you have electricity and adequate water available. Cave-in's and air quality are all serious issues when going down inside one of these. Once you get it clean, spray down the walls of the well with bleach using a garden sprayer, then rinse again with water and pump this out too. Once the well recharges you can add some bleach to the water to disinfect it. There is a formula to calculate how much bleach to add depending on the amount of water in the well, but I don't have it handy. I do know it's available on the internet. All that being said, chances of getting a hand dug seep well to pass water quality tests for drinking purposes are slim to none.
     
  7. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    That really sounds like a great Ideal! Going down in a old well(50+ years old) is a dawnting task, I like it boonieman. :)

    Bleach treating wells:
    http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/health/environmental/drinking_water/well_disinfect.jsp
     
  8. veme

    veme Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank You! Thank You!
    Lots of great info & links here - I'll let you all know when I git 'er done! :dance:

    veme
     
  9. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Too much bleach?

    It only costs a little over a buck, think of it as 'shocking' the water like you do with a pool or a jacuzzi. Besides your not going to drink it. the chlorine is to kill any microbes, then you still need to flush it good for a few days or a week. by then all the chlorine will be gone.

    :)

    The slurry pump would ber good for pumping silt but, it will only suck up the silt direclty underneath it. When a well or spring gets clogged, you have silt stuck between all those loose stone running up the sides. Scooping it out by hand works, or maybe spraying with a garden hose directing at the side gaps between the loose stone and with a slurry pump in the middle to pump out the slury as you loosen it.

    This is not a deep well, you said it was only 6 - 7 feet deep, so I would not worry so much about cave-ins. Be careful by all means! But so long as you have someone else there with you just in case. If it does collapse you'll get your feet and legs buried, but then you buddy can pull you out again. I am thinking that a 50 year old well that has never caved in, is likely very sturdy.

    :)
     
  10. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I guess I have a soft heart I was thinking of all the salamanders my grandpa use to kill when he added a few cups of bleach to his spring every year. If a few cups could do that I thought a gallon sounded a little excessive, I wouldnt want them to be drinking bleach water for the next year. Or kill the crawfish/tadpoles in the pond down the hill
     
  11. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Good point.

    The well that I cleaned out, was on the side of a hill. After I scooped out the silt and 'shocked' it. I ran a siphon hose going down the hillside, and let it run for a week. To totally flush out the water and get the spring to flowing. I doubt that after a day or two, if any chlorine remained. though I also doubt that any salamanders or bugs lived there either.

    :)
     
  12. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Drinking salamander water never killed us o rmade us sick during the year when they were living there before he used bleach. I guess I will just drink the salamander water as long as their is no giardia or beasties like that in it I am happy.:)
     
  13. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    ET1 SS

    I agree that if the well is only 6 feet deep a cave-in wouldn't be such a bad risk. I was assuming the 6-7 feet was referring to the depth of the water inside the well since they said it was now 4 feet after a spring drought. They didnt really say how deep the well shaft actually is, or at least that's the way I took it. Also, like you, I basically use a gallon of bleach to shock my dug well about once a year. The deep well I do twice a year normally, again a gallon of bleach. My deep well has a lot of iron bacteria, and a twice a year treatment seems to keep it at bay.
     
  14. veme

    veme Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The well shaft is about 10 ft. deep. :) 4ft. of water in it at present.
    I'm not going to go down it. I'm to fat & too old for that sort of thing.
    I think I'm going to drain it, then clean out the silt with a hose, then let it re-charge, then bleach, then scrub the wallls with a wire brush, then drain again.
    You all have been a great help! :angel:
    Thanks again.

    veme