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I'll try to keep this short as possible. normally our well is good. hub did a new 'system' by installing a 500 gal. underground concrete cistern...the well pumps into the cistern...another pump pumps into the house. it seemed to be great (we began by filling the cistern with hauled in water) to not 'tax' the original pump/well. ok..he put 'alarms' to tell us if the cistern is going low (which would tell us the main well is going dry) again..not a problem until we have ONE very dry month..this year it was no rain for all of Aug. and most of Sept. (the alarms have been shut off, but we have a red light indicator that tells us water is low. darn light has been on regularly, meaning we have to add water to the cistern..which he hauls in usually from his brother's house) I hope this makes sense to you. anyway....would you drill a new well (hub mentioned doing this, then keeping old well for just the garage), or would you drill deeper on the original well (which is only 180' deep)? I see dollar signs that make me weak no matter what, but digging deeper seems less painful...maybe. we're on top of a hill, and a neighbor had to dig 380' to get great water. thoughts? (again...hope this makes sense) we are having lots of snow/rain now, yet yesterday I did ONE load of laundry and the red light came on. I know it takes a while for rain to make a difference in water tables, but geez....one load of laundry! only 2 of us here, and really in an average week I only need to do 3 laundry loads.
 

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oh..another reason we did the cistern was to always have that 500 gal. of water....for if we had to pull the well pump or in some emergency. just thought I'd mention it...
 

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Water wells are tricky things, you never really know fer sure whats down there until you drill the hole. Sometimes you hit good water, sometimes you get a small amount of good water, sometimes you get lots of water and sometimes you get a very tall stack of fence post holes and nothing else. One thing is for sure, until you drill deeper, or in a new location you have what you have. Drilling deeper in your existing well could bring you more water further down, it could also "sink" what you do have by hitting a dry crevase and losing your current supply. Drilling a new well, could affect your current well too, but is less likely the further from your current well you drill. Well drilling is strictly a "pays yer money and takes yer chances" deal. I hope this clears it all up for you and makes it easier for you to decide about which way to go. :)
 

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I would do or have done a recovery rate test to see what you've actually got to deal with. With only two people your water needs seem pretty modest so with that 500gal tank you could probably get by with as low as 1/4 GPM recovery rate... that's still over 300 gals of water a day.

One other question - how is your current pump controlled? I assume you have some sort of pump control installed to keep the pump from burning up when you pump the well dry. Maybe you need to adjust/revise that system to get the most of your current well.

I would put a bit more effort in to making what you have work before you go and drop ten grand on a new well.
 

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How about a big cistern and hook it to your gutters? That's what I did when I built the house. I now have wonderful soft water without iron. The old well is going to be filled in next year.

Kathie
 

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1. What is the recovery rate of your well? How many gallons does the well produce? What is the drawdown of the well - how many gallons can you get at a time pumping the standing column out?

2. How is your well filling the cistern - what is controlling when the well pump goes on & off? You are telling us about how you are drawing water away from the cistern, and alarms for it being low. How do you know when the cistern is full, and how is filling it accomlished?

Sounds like no one ever turned the well on, you are just using up the water you bought & dumped in the cistern? :)

--->Paul
 

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agmantoo
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Is your current pump a submersible type set at 160 feet deep? If not, it needs to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes, it's a submersible pump. as to well output...we've not tested it since it was drilled 15 years ago. at that time, of course, it was deemed 'good water' per the criteria of 'x' amount of gallons pumped out for 'x' amount of time. (I don't remember, but you know what I'm talking about here) other folks in the area have had to have new wells drilled after over 40 yrs. guess that just can happen. we do fine...IF we have ample rainfall. (maybe that's true for a lot of folks)

the well submersible pump pumps water into the cistern. (we know it's working..we can hear it, and it fills to a designated place in the cistern which then it shuts off) then the pump in the cistern pumps into the house/garage. Paul...the well is 'turned on'...LOL

I guess I was just wondering if anyone here had a problem where their well wasn't quite up to par. and if so...did you drill the original well deeper? or new? and for your decision, were you glad you did what you did? it's ok if you can't help. I was just asking...ya know, just in case someone might help. :) thanks!
 

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Myself and another poster both asked an important question which you didn't answer. How is the submersible pump controlled. It's possible you have a problem with the pump control system and the well actually has plenty of water. All you have told us for sure is your cistern isn't getting filled up by the submersible pump as fast as you are using the water.

To figure out why you need to help us understand what controls the submersible pump. You seemed to indicate there is some sort of level switch in the cistern but I suspect there is more to it than that. Or, you need to do a recovery rate test to find out if your recovery rate is really that slow. If that test shows the well recovering say 1 GPM, but you are still running out of water, then you have a control problem not a well problem.
 

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Not sure what area of PA you live in, but in our area (North-West PA) it has been unusually dry. All of the "promised" rain or snow storms go North or South of us!

Currently the ground is VERY dry. It's going to take a very long gentle, soaking rain (or lots of snow and a gentle melt) to make any difference in the water table.

We have an 18' hand dug well that is over 100 years old - and we live on a hill too! We have been conserving water since summer and we continue to do so.

We've been washing our clothes at my Dad's house. Showers consist of getting wet, lathering up and rinsing off. We don't let the water run while brushing our teeth, etc. And for the toilet, it doesn't get flushed unless the "yellow is past mellow"!

Until we get decent rainfall or snowfall that slowly soaks into the ground, things are going to remain dry and water tables will continue dropping.

I guess my first question is "Are you and your husband even trying to conserve water" or do you just use it at will "as usual" because it can always be hauled in?

If I were you, I would wait before drilling a new well. The water tables are low and not being replenished so I'm thinking once that happens (if it happens?!?), you will be fine.

We've lived at our house for 17 years now. In all those years, we've only had the well pumped down to nothing two or three times. And letting it sit overnight let's it get some water in it. At one time (year's ago) our well supplied the house (with up to 5 people) plus the barn with a few cows and horses. Currently the house has only 3 people in it, and the only animals I have are some goats, chickens, & dogs.

Of course, you almost seem to be in a whole different dilemma if your well has NO water in it. If refilling the cistern (from the brother-in-laws hosue) isn't that big of a deal, I'd wait until we have had sufficient precipitation and then see if your well has returned.

As has been said, there is no guarantee drilling a new well (or deeper) will result in water.
 

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We put in an identical system 2 yrs. ago. (500 gal. concrete reservoir) I don't see the need for the alarms. In our system the pump in the well is controlled by a float switch. When the reservoir is full it turns off the pump. The pump in the reservior by a pressure switch. When the pressure in the pressure tank reaches X lbs. it turns it off, when it drops below X lbs. it comes on. If by chance, the whole system runs dry, (which happened last summer when we forgot & left the water on the garden all night) Then the pump controllers (a seperate one for each pump) will automaticly shut off the pumps. The controller for the pump in the well is set to come on every 30 minutes. The well produces 3 gpm, the pumps rated at 10 gpm, so after about 3 minutes it shuts off again & continues this cycle untill the reservior is full. Unless your well is dry or your pump in the well is bad, you may be losing water somewhere (broken pipe maybe). Good luck
 

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agmantoo
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The reason I wanted to know depth that the pump is set is that it can impact the recharge rate. An empty pipe/hole will fill faster than a one that is holding water. This was also an unanswered question. I provide water to 5 residences from a well that produces only 3 GPM. Knowing how to manage a low output well can keep you in water. There is a person that visits here that thought after drilling very very deep that she had a dry hole . Her water needs are now being met by this "dry" hole.
 

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the well submersible pump pumps water into the cistern. (we know it's working..we can hear it, and it fills to a designated place in the cistern which then it shuts off) then the pump in the cistern pumps into the house/garage. Paul...the well is 'turned on'...LOL



and if so...did you drill the original well deeper? or new? and for your decision, were you glad you did what you did? it's ok if you can't help. I was just asking...ya know, just in case someone might help. :) thanks!
We would love to help you, but you are leaving a lot of info out, so not much we can do from 'here'. :) :)

It's good that you can hear the pump running, and now you say it does fill your cistern full??? So - where is the problem? If it fills your cistern......

What is happening? Why is your cistern full sometimes, and empty other times?

It sounds like you have some control issues, not water issues.

How does the pump fill the cistern? Run every few minutes? Run with a float? Run whenever it feels like it? does it run when it's dry? These things can be controlled so very little water flow in the well will still supply your water needs - that cistern is what helps you make this work out. On the other hand, you need to use water a little all during the day - not a huge volume all at one time. If you do 5 loads of laundry for example, don't go back to back - do 2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon....

Anyhow, if your cistern is filling up sometimes, and not filling up other times, I'd look at the pump controls as being the problem, not the well itself? But we don't know what or how it is set up, so we really can't help.

We aren't really understanding the problem - why are you running out of water?


Here, in my state & county, you can't redrill a well unless the new hole is 5 inches or so less than the exsisting hole - so really you can't redrill a well unless it is some huge 20 inch municiple well or something. So, 'here' it is drill a new one....

--->Paul
 
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