Well casing. Metal or plastic??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Pros and cons of either?? I'm trying to put in a well and I can't compare "apples to apples" because some drillers only use plastic and some only use metal. (Galvanized, possibly? I don't remember).

    Is there a danger in the welding material leaching into my drinking water?

    Will plastic disintegrate after time, or break?

    The metal well is cheaper by far, but I'm concerned about the safety of the water.

    Thanks again for your help! I wouldn't have made it this far in my "adventure" without you!

    CC
     
  2. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    Here in NC, the law allows the use of plastic casing, but we strongly recommend using metal. Part of my job involves diagnosing well problems with a down hole video camera and doing groundwater research work that involves installing wells.

    The casing needs to be seated 5 feet into competent bedrock. That requires pushing down on the casing with the drill rig. Plastic casing sometimes shatters or can't be driven in far enough. The result is that water from shallower sources (more potential to be contaminated) can get into the well.
    Also, I have seen where the concrete used on the outside of the casing heats enough to melt the plastic.

    If, however, you are installing a well in an all sand aquifer with high salt content, the installation procedure is often easier and the plastic won't rust
     

  3. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    My soil is VERY yucky, hard clay. They should hit limestone at about 60' (according to the well drilling report I got off the ODN site for the neighboring property), and water at about 70. The neighbors' went to 180' to hit a decent flow. 15 gpm, I think. (Is that decent/sufficient?)

    Will there be a problem with metal in clay? What about the solder to put the pipes together (or do they screw together)?

    Also, unrelated..... they charge an average of $1600 around here for "hook-ups". I assume that is the pump, pressure tank, tiling, etc, to get the water from the well to the house. I'm not paying that right now... I don't even have electricity yet, nor a building, so no need for it..... but is this something I can do myself later? Buy the components and install them myself? They sell those things at Menards, etc.

    Thanks again!!!!
     
  4. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    The rig will drill a hole through the clay to the limestone, then drill a few feet into the limestone. then they'll either screw or weld together the casing pieces and put a hardened ring on the bottom called a "drive shoe" then they'll drive the casing down into the limestone. then they'll pour some concrete or bentonite (a swelling clay) around the outside to the casing to seal out any water from getting into the well from between the casing and the limestone. then they'll drill inside the casing until they hit water. The clay won't attack the metal any more than any other type of soil.

    Oh I forgot..another thing that happens with plastic casing is that the drill rods spinning inside the casing sometimes rub a hole through it.

    the amount of water you need depends on how much you use. My well has 1.5 gpm, but it is drilled deep (600 ft) and it is full of water, so we have the equivalent of a big tank of water stored. (600 feet of water in a 6" diameter well is 900 gallons in storage). When we use some, it will refill at the rate of 1.5 gpm (that's 2160 gallons a day!).
    My well can supply several houses with water. The next well over is the same as mine and it is supplying 4 houses with water. Everyone is conservative with the water...but even so, that's 3 washing machines and 9 people worth of showers and whatnot.
    You can buy and install the pump, piping and wiring in NC in your own well without a liscence. Doing so for a living requires a registration.
    There is a lot to know and there are several ways to do it wrong. I recommend you ask the driller lots of questions and learn about what to do. the pump can cost 200 to 600 dollars and the wiring is kind of expensive. the bladder tank and switches are maybe 200 or so. You should also get a "torque arrestor" and "centralizers" and rope to hang the pump and waterproof connectors to attach the wire to the pump and a specific type of electric tape to attach the wire and the rope to the drop pipe, etc, etc.
    Like I said, ask lots of questions and expect to spend 600 to 1000 in parts.
    I'd also recommend installing a hand pump while you're at it. If the water is within 22 feet of the top of the well, a cheap ($20) pitcher pump will do. If it is deeper, a several hundred dollar hand pump is required to lift the water.
     
  5. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    The "static water level" of the neighbors' well was 30'. Does that mean that water is just 30' down in his pipe?

    I was wondering how I could get water out of the well to water my garden without having all the stuff.... a pump, and pressure tanks, etc.

    Can I drop a pump in that just pumps it out into a hose of some sort?? I can get temporary electric out there. My reason for putting in a well NOW, before I build the barn or house, is so I can get the grass, garden and orchard in. I live too far away to tote water.
     
  6. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    CC, a pump can be installed above ground. If memory serves correctly, "Shallow Well Pumps" (economical and easy to install) can lift water up to 20 or 25 feet; deeper than that requires a "Deep Well Jet Pump" (which is still above ground and a little more difficult to install) can lift a lot farther. A a submersible pump (down the well and more difficult to install) can lift a great distance (known as "head" I believe).

    A hand operated "Pitcher Pump" will probably NOT lift water from 30'. Though there are hand operated pumps that can lift further, they are a lot more expensive.

    Others can advise about specifics. Raymilosh obviously knows a lot about wells and pumps. I'd be listening closely to him.
     
  7. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    If the static water level is 30 feet, then yes, the water level is about 30 feet down from the top of the well. A standard hand pitcher pump will pump from maybe 23 feet Maximum. It just won't do 30 feet. I met a man who bought a pump from Northern Tool and Equipment Company that cost about $70. It is about twice the size of a standard pitcher pump. he pumps his water from about 30 feet depth. I tried it. It's not that difficult.
    If you just want water for domestic use, you could use either that pump or get a simple 12 volt pump (called Whale pumps or typhoon pumps or monsoon pumps or geosquirt pumps)for about $50- $100. They can run off a car battery. Ben Meadows, Geotech and other environmental companies sell them. there are several sizes, pumping abilities, etc. They go as high as maybe $300. They can pump up to maybe 3 or so gallons a minute. They don't last near as long as a regualr house pump and they don't have pressure tanks and automatic cutoff switches, either. They're basically just turn it on and use the water and turn it off type pumps. That's what I'd recommend trying first.
    I'd recommend you get grass, orchard trees and garden crops that don't require much (or any) water, except maybe to help them get established. If you plan to irrigate gardens and orchards, though i'm thinking the little 12 volt pumps couldn't handle being used for so much water.
    I'd recommend you talk to someone at an environmental equipment company and tell them what you are wanting the pump to do and see if they have any products that will work and won't be too expensive. There are probably plenty of options.
    Lehmans also has information of pumps and has several types of hand pumps available.
    Good luck. Ask more questions if you need to.
     
  8. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    One of those pumps sounds like it should do what I want it to do. At this point, I don't need a pressure tank, etc., because I don't have anyplace to PUT one!

    I'm trying to plant the grass and wildflowers (1 acre of wildflowers in front of where the house will be.... I don't want to mow grass!) and I need to be able to water it.

    I've got a dozen fruit trees planted and a few dozen other assorted trees and shrubs, and I've been just carrying jugs of water from town. That's do-able. Watering an acre of wildflowers and another 1/2 acre or so of grass isn't. <grin>

    I'll look into one of those smaller pumps! Will they need to be "housed" somehow?

    I'm getting electric hooked up soon, so I'll be all set!
     
  9. momanto

    momanto SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND

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    May I Ask?? What Is The "odn" Site You Consulted.....is That A National Site Or Local? I Plan To Build Later This Year And Am Curious About Wells...... Thanks. Mom
     
  10. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Ohio department of natural resources (ODNR) keeps records of all wells drilled in ohio since 1950 or so, and most are avialable online. That's what CCRider was refering to. Other states probably have similar records.
     
  11. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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  12. leoaloha

    leoaloha Well-Known Member

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    My dad told me when he had his well drilled this guy did metal. Because to seat 400 foot of metal pipe, he raised it 5 feet and let it drop. His brother did plastic, and when he seated the casing it cracked. Tha t said I had my well redrilled. I live in an area of iron bacteria and metal pipes would be corroded in 10 years or so. But i dont live over bedrock. He drilled thru the clay layers and put in a plastic casing by pushing it in to seal and adding bentonite clay to the outside. I think it all depends on your circumstances

    L
     
  13. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    I vote for STONE! :)