sand in the well water

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cathy N., Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    Our well water is suddenly (no, not gradually, suddenly) full of sand. The well is a drilled well. Any ideas on what might be the problem? All our valves are clogged, and everything is leaking--toilet, washer, all the faucets, etc. The water was clear one day, sandy the next, and has been sandy now for almost a week.
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    My guess is that the well screen has either rusted or cracked.
     

  3. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That happens to our well sometimes. I think it's the result of a dirt clod that suddenly appears, and it takes it a while to disintegrate. Boy, is it aggravating when it happens, though! The worst effect was on the washing machine. Had to constantly unhook the hose and clean out sand from the little mesh trap with a wadded-up paper towel. I eventually put an in-line water filter between two washing machine hoses for the cold water, and that helped. I probably should have put a water filter at the well house or either where the water comes into the house, but I took the easy way out and just alleviated the most aggravating aspect!
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Ours did that several years ago. It got clogged, sometimes to the point where the faucet was turned and either nothing came out or we got sludge. It was a crack in the screen at first, but it drew in enough sand that it finally broke through the well casing and we have to drill a new well. Come to find out at that point that the water-people have been trying to get the previous owners to replace it for a couple of years for that exact reason...

    -Sarah
     
  5. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    The sand is very fine, so Tom does not think it's a problem with the screen. He tried putting a filter on, but we had no pressure then. He says it is like the water is saturated with sand. One plumber friend we talked to could only shake his head and grimace saying, "That's not good, that's not good."
     
  6. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    How many years has your well water been okay (without sand)? Or is this a new well?

    If your well water has been sand free for many years and the sand problem has just all of a sudden started, I'd stay its a well screen problem.
     
  7. mamalisa

    mamalisa Well-Known Member

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    Don't get a plumber person. Get a well person. It makes all the difference---they deal with the whole system.
     
  8. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    Cabin Fever, would the well screen filter out sand you can't really see? I mean, the water looks the same as if it was rusty, just a different color. Run water from the tap and it just looks a little brown. Let it sit, and the fine sand settles. We've lived here (and been sand-free) for over four years. The landlord says they've never had the problem before.

    Tom called one well person. He says that he thinks something sifted underground and the water vein is purging itself. He says to run a trickle of water till the sand gets all cleaned out. Should we get another opinion, or wait and see if that works?
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Is your well finished in a sand and gravel aquifer or in bedrock?

    I can agree with the well driller if you well is finsihed in bedrock where water comes from "veins" (ie, fissures and cracks in the bedrock).

    However, if the well is in sand and gravel, fine sand usually moves toward the well right after the well is drilled and pumped for the first time. This moving sand will either move into the household water system (for a short time) or plug large pores in the aquifer near the well....which effective acts like a secondary screen blocking future movement of fine sand into the well.
     
  10. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    this is sounding just like my house.....

    we had a couple mini earth tremors here in Maine about 3 years ago...then a winter without good snowpak and the frost went deep last winter....and the sand came into every faucet & hose. My hubby in plumber and heat tech that works in sales so he put a filter on at the pump (inside our house) then it kept clogging so he put on a second one and spoke to a well driller in the area who said that he'd seen alot of this due to frost shifting the well casings. We pulled the well line up a couple feet and it has helped some but according to this well driller we need a thing called a Jazz-well seal and they are expensive. He said between $750-1000 depending on how much hubby can do himself. We havent fixed it yet...just limping it along and changing filters often....its a canister type filter with a filter that looks like wound string that we are using.

    Hope this helps !
     
  11. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    A well man can come out and use his pump to put some major suction on the well to clear out the area near the point .I have to do it at my cabin about every 5 years or so when the flow slacks off.


    mikell
     
  12. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    I have seen wells which were fine for years and suddenly began producing muddy or sandy water before. Several times it was the case that the well has slowly been filling with sediment over years with no symptoms, but when it filled all the way up to the pump, it began producing sandy water. If you're not afraid to mess with the well and can provide me some information, i can tell you how to diagnose it and fix it. To diagnose if the well has been filling with sediment, you will need to determine how deep the pump is sitting in the well, determine the total depth of the well and then run a wire or steel tape down the well and the depth at which it hits bottom (or fine sand in your case) is the same as the depth of the pump. If the well has indeed filled with sediment, you can fix the problem by raising the pump several feet. The sediment will take a while to pile up and enter the pump again. This repair is free, but it is only temporary. In the meantime, save up some money...A better fix would be to hire a driller to blow all the sediment out of the well with compressed air and replace the pump. That'll buy you some number of years before you need to do it again. It would take the driller maybe half a day or a day to do it and cost maybe $500 or $1000. There are other possibilities with different diagnoses and different solutions, but rather than explain them all, I'm going to suggest you call a driller who is used to the geology in your area and tell him your woes and ask his opinion and advice.
     
  13. Shagbarkmtcatle

    Shagbarkmtcatle Hillybilly cattle slaves

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    Your well water may be low and you are pumping up whats on the bottom. You can raise the pump and see if that helps first
     
  14. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Multiple things can cause the sand problem, earth tremor (even at a great distance), lightning strike nearby, washout where the casing seats to the bedrock, withdrawning water faster from the well than can be replinished by the incoming amount encouraging water to rush in above the pump.
    This is not an easily solved problem especially through the use of filters which will readily clog and require freguent maintenance. If you will wash out the storage tank and use water conservatively for a few days the problem will likely self correct. If it does not, return here with the details and I will assist farther.
     
  15. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    has another well been drilled in the last while in the area around you?remember this fall/winter has been very wet . waiting costs little .only other thing take a water sample and make sure that there is not bacteria present now too. crack in the casing was the first thought .there is a guy here abouts can fix some cracks with a grout mix. if you open the well or system sterilize before you close it up.
     
  16. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    This may sound silly, but I am serious. There was a HUGE earthquake in the Indian Ocean recently as you may have noted. It actually moved a country (Sumatra) and moved the earth either 3 degrees or 3 seconds (amts not relavent) Someone also said it affected the depth of wells in the state of VA.

    On the Richter Scale, each increase is the square of the power below. I know that this is somewhat inarticulate, but I only know enough to be dangerous. I just know that a 9 is HUMONGOUS!!

    It seems to me that we should be seeing more of these kinds of things for awhile. Maybe has something to do with the weird weather of late?
     
  17. lj_sunshine

    lj_sunshine Retired Hippy

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    You are not too far off. I read on one site that the whole earth rippled with that earthquake. Who knows what effect is has had on seemingly unrelated events.

    http://www.eians.net/2005/01/09/09still.html

    Loris
     
  18. to live free

    to live free Well-Known Member

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    Someone Said It Before Your Well Is Running Low. My Neighbors Well Would Do It In The Summer When They Would Top Off Their Inground Pool. They Would Wait Awhile And It Would Refill.
     
  19. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our well has issues with this -- sort've just a local problem, it's 450 feet to water, well's 650 feet deep, and it was basically sand allll the way to the water.

    Solution?

    1. Water storage tank, to let the water settle. (Also needed because the well's sluggish at best.) Open valve at bottom of tank and allow it to purge occasionally. Water is drawn from a couple of feet off the bottom of the tank.

    2. Well is 650 feet, but the pump's at about 600 feet. We had it in the bottom of the well -- and the pump itself burned out within a year. It was completely clogged with incredibly fine silt that had built up and then solidified. The booster pump above ground (between the storage tank and the bladders) had burned out with the same problem the week before, so $2500 in repairs in a week ... lesson learned, the pump sits higher now.

    Leva
     
  20. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    It has now been about a week since I first posted this. At first, we thought the water was clearing, but now it is worse and worse. The pump is going bad. If we just flush the toilet, we almost lose our prime. One well guy says we need to drill a new well. Another well guy says we need to raise the foot valve so that it's in clear water again.

    I don't know what to think about the earthquake or other wells being dug. Our nearest neighbour is just a few hundred yards away; they are not having this problem. This neighbour is also our landlord. We are waiting for him to get home from work so we can ask what to do next. At this point, we are basically without water. All faucets and valves are clogged with sand, and we have had to shut the water off at the pump to keep everything from leaking and flooding the place. The last load of laundry I did this morning came out dirtier than when it went in.

    With 10 people in the house (two in cloth diapers), we are going to have to do something, fast.