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I recently bought an Aquaer 1 HP convertible irrigation pump. Not presently using a pressure tank, but will likely add one next season if i can get the well reliably producing. I have a 22' deep, shallow well, about 5' below the water table. The problem is flow volume. I fill the 1.25" line with water. Foot valve holds and the line stays filled. I prime the pump and on starting there is an impressive flow, i'd say well-exceeding what comes out of the garden hose from the house water supply. But then, in perhaps 10-15 seconds the flow drops to a trickle. It kind of chugs a little. It'll run that way for a long time but it is inadequate. Clearly the pump can move more water... but it isn't. I am new at all this so any advice, particularly if i am just missing something obvious, is very much appreciated. I suspect the issue is more operator error, than a mechanical problem. Thanks in advance, Phil
 

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The water sand (layer of sub soil water bearing geological formation) isn't allowing enough water through to accumulate in the pipe. The well (in its current configuration) is unable to produce water at the rate you would like.

The pump is bringing up the water from the inside of the pipe, but there's not enough water coming in from the aquifer to maintain a good flow.

Do you have history on this well? That is VERY VERY shallow.

Here in the Texas Hill Country, I have a water well that pumps off (runs out of water) after six minutes.

Therefore, there is a "pump saver" that turns the pump off when there isn't enough water. Then a timer waits for half an hour, the pump goes on again, and so on... This water is lifted into an above ground tank.

There is a pump and pressure tank in the well house next to the above ground tank. That supplies water to the house and outside faucets.
 

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Thanks for your reply Alice. A little more info may be helpful. I drilled the well with a manual augur at 7" diameter down about 21'. The water tableis at about 16'. I inserted a 4" PVC casing with a capped end, and many, many narrow slits cut in the bottom 4' or so for water to enter. That shaft comes up about 1' above ground level. Outside the PVC casing into the well, i poured pea gravel and not sure how high that comes up at the base of the well, but it was 5, 5-gallon buckets so likely plenty. As the pump was pumping the meager amount of water it does, i dropped the plumb line i've been using and the water level was where it was before starting the pump. So at least it is clear that the well is adequately recharging. That doesnt seem to be the problem. Thanks again.
 

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Tthat's a great system--just saw the pics, thank you. My history with the well is i dug it last season. I have tried 2 pumps since spring. One was not good quality and i returned it. This one seems pretty good. Yes, it is a shallow well. The water table here is pretty high. Adequate to produce if in fact, i can get it to produce. I am planning to use this for landscape and garden, not household. The pump is not sucking air so per my last response, i dont think the recharge rate is the problem.
 

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All righty then. I wait eagerly to learn what the solution is.


Edited to ask:
the pump you are using is above ground? It isn’t a submersible pump?
 

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Bad foot valve. Sounds like you are only pumping out the water you put in.
 

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OP said, "Foot valve holds."
 

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I agree with @Alice In TX/MO. It's a matter of recharge rate. If I read your post correctly, the watertable elevation is 17 ft below ground surface (bgs) and the well screen is at 22 ft bgs.It really doesn't make much difference on the diameter of the pea-gravel filled borehole. What does make a difference is far the well screen is below the watertable elevation. The difference between watertable elevation and well screen elevation is called "pressure head." This head determines the recharge rate. Low head (like you have) equals low recharge rate.

What kind of materials is your well screen finished in? Materials with a high transmissivity (sand and gravel) will provide a higher recharge rate.
 

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I'm far from being an expert on wells, but I never let ignorance get in the way of offering an opinion:

A 1.5in pipe 20 ft long only holds 4.8 gal...Your pump can probably empty that in 30 seconds. The slots in the casing pipe probably won't allow anywhere near that flow rate to recharge the pipe as it's being emptied....You need some sort of a reservoir (pressure pump or cistern/tank, like Alice's) that can be filled slowly in between your calls for water.

Your well is quite shallow and susceptible to contamination from ag chemicals &/or biological by-products, so let's hope you're frequently monitoring it or purifying it in some way.
 

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Ah. I'd missed the 1 1/4" pipe in the original post. Yup. Can't get fire hose volume though a straw.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
All righty then. I wait eagerly to learn what the solution is.


Edited to ask:
the pump you are using is above ground? It isn’t a submersible pump?
The pump is above-ground; an irrigation or "jet" pump. A shallow well like this didn't seem to call for a submersible. Looks like the forum allows me to post a link, so, it's this:

 

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Discussion Starter #17
The foot valve holds but is not allowing flow to the pump.
So, it is a possibility that the foot valve is holding water and preventing the vertical line from draining out, but not opening properly to let water draw up the line. Hmmm... I have fooled around with the foot valve and think it is functioning OK. The spring-loaded baffle, or whatever the heck it is called, appears to open and close correctly. When i fool around with the spring in the valve it seems to be working. Harder to know if it is working down there in the bowels of the earth. I've considered getting a check valve to install up top as an insurance policy May do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm far from being an expert on wells, but I never let ignorance get in the way of offering an opinion:

A 1.5in pipe 20 ft long only holds 4.8 gal...Your pump can probably empty that in 30 seconds. The slots in the casing pipe probably won't allow anywhere near that flow rate to recharge the pipe as it's being emptied....You need some sort of a reservoir (pressure pump or cistern/tank, like Alice's) that can be filled slowly in between your calls for water.

Your well is quite shallow and susceptible to contamination from ag chemicals &/or biological by-products, so let's hope you're frequently monitoring it or purifying it in some way.
Yes, agreed, and thanks. Ignorance should not get in the way. Shallow wells are much more subject to contamination. There is minimal ag activity around here (i am in north-central colorado) but there is a heck of a lot of oil and gas exploration. Additionally homes around here are on septic systems. Some are aging and leak. I am not expecting potable water. Once i get this well moving some water and i know what to expect, i plan to have a couple of samples tested at a local lab.

Yes on needing a reservoir. I will install a pressure tank once i am convinced this system will work. So, i am back to the basic question as to why the pump gushes abundantly for a very short interval, then sustains a trickle for hours on end. Clearly it isn't exceeding the well's recharge rate or it would be sucking air and there would be no flow. Once i see the pump is moving water at a useful volume, i'll trick out the system more.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I agree with @Alice In TX/MO. It's a matter of recharge rate. If I read your post correctly, the watertable elevation is 17 ft below ground surface (bgs) and the well screen is at 22 ft bgs.It really doesn't make much difference on the diameter of the pea-gravel filled borehole. What does make a difference is far the well screen is below the watertable elevation. The difference between watertable elevation and well screen elevation is called "pressure head." This head determines the recharge rate. Low head (like you have) equals low recharge rate.

What kind of materials is your well screen finished in? Materials with a high transmissivity (sand and gravel) will provide a higher recharge rate.
Thanks for responding Cabin Fever. If it was a recharge issue, then logically the hose would stop running when the water level drops below the foot valve, so the line would then be sucking air. But that doesnt happen. Yes, "low head" is what i have and that is an issue. I believe if i set up a pressure tank in line with the pump, and a pressure switch, i will have a more-or-less continuous flow.

Right, the water table is about 16' around here and the base of the bore hole is 21-22'. There is something of a silt issue, which is not a topic here. The well screen is the bottom 4 feet of the casing, or 4' pvc shaft, going down. The screen is not anything but a few hundred thin slits cut in the pvc pipe so it isn't 'finished' with anything. It's just a screen like that with highly porous pea gravel surrounding it. I am looking for a picture, but it is somewhere deep in my hard drive and cant find it now.

What i cant figure out is why the pump blows high-volume water for several seconds, then drops down to a trickle. THEN continues at that very rate of flow for hours. If i am exceeding the recharge ability of the well, i should be pulling air up the line and flow should stop. But it doesnt. It's something, isnt it?
 

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As others have said recharge rate IMO. You could constrict the flow with a valve and test. I had some wells that would only put out 1 gallon per minute which were still very valuable because thats all we had in the area. In cases like this you are going to want a large storage and a pump running a lot.
 
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