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  1. #1
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    Default Where should we locate the well?

    We have zero experience on using a water well or ever live in a place with your own water well. We are about to have one drill in our rural property that we plan to move there and live full-time. So, here the situation and questions.

    The property is 120 acres on the side of a mountain. There's no utility power (probably never will in our life time...) so we'll be off the grid using solar and diesel generator. Also, there's no other well in the area within a few miles. The neighbors below use spring water. There are many year-round springs with plenty of water 400-500' below us at the base of the mountain. No spring on our property.

    So, common sense tells us we should have a gravity feed water system so we don't rely on power everytime we use water.

    We chose our building site in the middle of the property for the view and privacy. There's small hill about 100' above and 1/4 mile away. This is where we think the water tank should be located for the gravity feed water system to get maximun water pressure. This also probably the worst location to find water.

    About 150' below the building site and another 1/4 mile away is a meadow area where a seasonal creek runs though. Several ravines converge there. It seens like the perfect spot to find water. Another 200' elevation below the meadow is the neighbor's property with several year-round springs with plenty of water. I don't know if this is an indication that water is 200' below the meadow area.

    So, here are some of our options:

    1. Drill on top of the hill near the tank and go as deep as neccessary to find water. The pump and generator will be near the well & tank. Run a 1/4 mile of water line to the house. We'll get 40-50psi water pressure and sounds perfect. The down side was less chance of finding water or have to deal with pumping water from a very deep well.

    2. Drill at the meadow area 150' below. Then we have to pump water up 250' and 1/2 mile run to the tank location. After that, still have to run a water line 1/4 mile back to the house.

    3. Drill the well near the house. Take our chances in finding water. Pump water up 100' and 1/4 mile run to the tank and back. The generator/pump system will be near the house. We only need 1 integrated power system.

    4. Some other combinations...

    What do you think? Here's a few more questions:

    Is there any advantage for having the well/pump near the house? Any maintenance issue? Sure it's no fun to walk 1/4 mile to find out what's wrong with the pump or generator.

    Is there any advantage for having the well close to the water tank? Again, if I can avoid a 1/2 mile of water line and on going maintenace...

    We talk to 3 well drillers so far. None seem very interested in our water system situation. They seem very reluctant to drill on our property probably due to difficult access. One guy said water should be 2-300 feet below. The other said 5-600. The 3rd guy said 800-1000 or may be more. They all point to the same location which at the entrance right off the road or where ever I want them to drill. There'a building boom in the area. They all said they drill a well everyday and there's a 4-6 week waiting period to get anyone of them to drill. The 3rd guy wants an extra charge above their normal rate because it's more difficult to bring drillling equipment to our property.

    Sorry for the long post. I hope to learn from you guys. What would you do if you were us? We welcome any sugguestions.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    Just a few thoughts.

    Water line. If your line to the tank goes anywhere near the house location you do not need two lines. The same line can be used to fill the tank and to feed the house.

    Cost of running pipe to/from the tank will be a minor part of the overall cost of the system so don't let length of line be the overriding decision factor.

    Barring catastrophies, there should be no maintenance needed on a buried water line if it is installed correctly and using the proper material (plastic, not galvanised).

    Location of well will be mostly dictated by where the drill rig can get to.

    My personal preference is for the well to be near the house but it is not an overriding consideration.

    No well driller will gaurantee finding water at any specific depth unless you are blessed with being over a known aquifer and you don't seem to be. They won't even gaurantee finding water at all.

    The elevation of the springs are a good (but not certain) indication that you will find water at that level, actually somewhat above it. You could hit water a good distance higher than that.

    Harry K


  3. #3
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    Sounds like a huge money pit with limited chances of success. Have you consideree an alternatives to drilling a deep hole in the ground?

    The seasonal creek and springs on your neighbors land make me wonder if that's an alternative for you. I've dug around dried creeks befor and found water near the surface.

    A friend in Central CA had a sistern dug off the side of his seasonal creek that stayed full year round. It was dug with a backhoe and around 12 feet deep. Even during the drought in the late 80's to early 90's, it never went down!!!

    He used a generator to pump water through a filter system before it went to a storage tank above the cabin. The water flowed from the tank by gravity.

    As for locating the pump, it doesn't matter where it's at. If it's a deep well, then the pump will be at the bottom of the well anyway. Shallow pumps work fine above ground.

    Once you figure out the location of the well, than run wire to the location for you pump. Leave the generator at the house or barn.

    If you do get lucky and find surface water at some point, you might want to look into Ram Pumps. They don't need electricity to pump water, just a minimal amount of fall to generate the energy used to lift the water.

    Eddie



  4. #4
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    I'll say right up front that I know little about springs, the water kind anyway.

    That said, is it possible that a new drilled well uphill from these springs could disrupt water flow. Maybe his well would disrupt the flow so that it would be less, or ever stop altgether. Has this ever happend that anyone knows about?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    I think you are approaching it totally the wrong way. My well is 1200 ft from my house because that is where the water is. It is 100% solar powered. The pump in the well runs off of solar panels no generator long wires ect. It pumps into a 1800 gallon storage tank. I then have seperate solar panels charging two golf cart batteries that run two 12 volt pumps to pressurize two standard 50 gallon pressure tanks. It works perfectly and is almost no maintenance. Drill your well where the water is and pump it to your house. Or if you really want gravity feed up to the storage tank and gravity feed back to the house. That would save you the pressure tanks. A good solar pump and 400 to 600 watts of panels will pump all the water you can use.

  6. #6
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    In Arizona a solar system sounds great.

    I rather like the approach of a tank on the top of the hill to gravity feed the system with a reservoir that will last several days. Figure 60 gallons per person per day to size a nice big plastic tank set into the ground to keep it cool in the summer and not frozen in the winter. Put the well where the water is and pump into a line that runs past the house up to the tank. Then tee off of that line near the house and feed the home with it. You will note that the line between the house tee and tank will flow both ways depending on whether your filling or draining the tank. In the trench between the pump and the house run the power lines to the pump. A pressure switch anywhere in the system can be used to activate the pump to fill the tank back up. Or you could just wait until it runs dry and then pump it up to the pump cutoff pressure. You will soon figure out how often to fill the tank.

    This is how my city's system works. Wells in the valley fill tanks on the hill and the tank elevation provides pressure. You can stuff water from a well into the water system anywhere to fill all the elevated tanks at the same time.

    If I had a high hill, you can bet I'd use a tank for reserve flow in case of a power outage. Also, get this, the tank is a surge device meaning even if your pump only produces 2 gpm you can pull from the tank at super high flow rates until it is empty without sucking your well dry.

  7. #7
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    stumpfield,
    I'n no well expert so these suggestions are from what I've learned and from advice my well driller gave me.

    My guy told me drilling for water at the low pints such as in a ravine that carries water is the worst place. He said the rock has pushed together so tight that there are likely no or small fishers in locations like that. He suggested right off to look at a ridge and as high up on it as possible. took him about 5 minutes to suggest a likely place for the well and he ended being right on. My guy also said often some wells lower on the ridge have to drill deeper to get to a good source.

    First, is there a chance you can water witch your property near the top of that hill? If so, that would be the best all around location...gravity feed, possibly good water source. You'd have to level an area for the drilling rig. Get your solar power to run the pump from there. Drilling near the house is not a requirement, just need more pipe. that is the least of your problem. Locating the best water source is the first step, and then there are no gaurantees that they will find water there anyway! Be prepared for that at the worst. He might move over a few feet and find water, but you'll most likely pay by the foot, as I did. In any case, you really got no choice becasue you need the well.

    Personally, I'm going to keep the generator, water tank, propane tank away from the house. One reason is the best place to drill was there. In my case that's about 500' or so. My experience and from what my neighbors told me is that you can hear that generator kick on and it does it in the middle of the night too. My solar battery house will be about way closer to the house, where I'll build my barn and shop. I feel with proper plumbing and a good shed/house for the solar batteries, those systems will need little maintenance. Only periodical checks, etc.

    Try witching up there. If you don't have a concern to push a maintenace road up there, you can always jump on your ATV to check things out. I don't have a link, but I read on the net about hard rock well drilling. Helped me understand what my well guy was trying to explain. One more thing...you're lucky you only have to wait 5 or 6 weeks to get in line. I had to wait 1 year for my guy!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    Wow! that's great information. I think I got most of the questions answered.

    -Locate the tank on the hill for gravity feed.
    -Drill where the water is and not worry about pumping.
    -Run the water line so it can be tee off to the house. ...I have no idea that the water line can be use for both pushing water up and drain down. I wonder how water is kept from draining back into the well???

    Now the $20,000 question is how to find water? What location have the best chance of finding a good quantity of water? Out here, it's solid granite a few feet below the soil. Digging near the creek is out. The creek is solid rock. I learned that the best chance of finding water is drill on fractured rock. Is a ravine an indication of rock fracture below?

  9. #9
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    "I have no idea that the water line can be use for both pushing water up and drain down. I wonder how water is kept from draining back into the well???"

    The standard submersible well pump is "always" equipped with a one way valve to prevent water from draining back into the well. A check valve.

    Finding the water is a gamble. I would almost spend more time worrying about proper access to the well location, setbacks from septic components, setbacks from roads, setbacks from potential floods, and distance to house than trying to guess where the water is.

    You're looking for the underground water. The shape of the earth's surface several hundered feet above the groundwater table has little effect on the elevation of the groundwater table. Erosion and glacial action don't change the water table level to great extents. If I had to guess, I would look to a low elevation on your property away from a surface water feature.

  10. #10
    Elite Member SPIKER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should we locate the well?

    that 20K question is that no one can make sure to hit water, even drilling 20' away from a known sourece.

    deeper does not mean better either. or that you will iht anything. usually can hit salt wells the deeper you go. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] not sure on the fractures IN the ravine or on TOP of it? I'm no geologest and even if I were more than likely each area can be so different with out ground pen radar you really have little or know idea what lies below.

    if it IS solid granet then you will not get much water below it unless it has fractures for the water to penetrate it. not to mention getting the drill through it [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    anyhow like others said I pretty much see there points & agree with em. solar powerd is way to go up high and some south facing location.

    mark M

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