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anybody know anything about irrigation wells?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Mrs.Spud on June 08, 2006 04:25 AM
I have an abandoned well on my property, and it was supposed to be dry but it is wet. How do we get this well up and running for irrigating? City water is very expensive here. Folks with big yards and gardens report $150 during the summer and fall. I have 2/3 acre lot.

The well has water at 34 feet and the shaft kept going to 75 feet when we ran out of string. Hubby went to hardware store to get longer string to see if we can find out how deep the well is.

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Mrs.Spud: Idaho Mom
by LandOfOz on June 08, 2006 04:34 AM
At least you know where the abandoned well is! We're pretty sure we have 1 (but probably 2) wells plus a cistern on our property, but there is no real easy (or cheap) way to find them. It is my understanding that if you live in the US you have a have a licensed, certified professional come out to do ANY work on a well due to the possibility of contaminating your groundwater/aquifer. But maybe that was just a recommendation?? I can't really remember now. In any event, it might not be a bad idea to check with your city or state before starting any work of your own.


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Sarah - Zone 5b/6
by cookinmom on June 08, 2006 04:37 AM
A local welldriller might be able to tell you what you need to do. Around here, it's just a matter of hooking up a pump to it, but be sure to put a check valve on the pipe to make sure no water is able to go back down the pipe into your well.

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by Mrs.Spud on June 08, 2006 04:44 AM
I don't understand how it would contaminate the groundwater if it is already groundwater?

The shaft is 340 feet deep we discovered. water is at 34 feet.

PS. Our house is connected to city water.

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Mrs.Spud: Idaho Mom
by cookinmom on June 08, 2006 05:02 AM
Wow, that's a really good well. I'm not sure where the water comes from in ID, but here in FL it comes from an aquifer, kind of like a giant underground lake. So each well here is like one more straw going into a bowl of water. If somebody spits down their straw it goes into the bowl. Sorry, that's kind of gross. But if everybody's straw has a valve on it so water can only go up, but not come back down, the bowl of water stays clean!

The term groundwater is kind of misleading. It sounds like the water is dirty, but really it isn't. It's actually cleaner than surface water, because it's not open to the air and isn't contaminated by animals and birds and people and plants.

Sorry to go so long..this is one of those few things I'm familiar with, having lived with water treatment operators since I was 5.

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by woodchuck on June 08, 2006 05:23 AM
Mrs spud,

You can get a ' jet-pump' from a hardware or hme improvement store, a backflow valve and the required fittings to use this as an on demand irrigation source. The requirement for licensed plumbers is for a "potable" water source, which this will not be used for, although a water test would be a good idea anyway just for peace of mind, a cool, refreshing, non-chlorinated cup of water while gardening would be greatif you can drink it. The water test would also tell if it will affect your plants in any way.

As far as including your local authorities, you can kiss this resource goodbye and have to foot the bill when the city crew comes over and pours cement down there to cap it. If it were me, I wouldn't make any more fuss than neccesary, you can dig a pit near the well to handle the jet pump and valves, look in a book about underground sprinkler systems and you should find enough information for you and your husband to connect the dots on this.

Good Luck, wish I could find something like that on my place, I will putting in a point well for irrigating my garden, DIY project.
by Mrs.Spud on June 08, 2006 05:29 AM
I kinda figgered it would be a bad idea to talk with the city about it. I think once we figure out how to get the water out-with the backflow thing, we will plumb it outside, to maybe 2 hosebibs and thats IT. We would make it so we could take it all apart back to how it was when we bought this place, iffen we decide to sell the house. The abandonded well is inside my outside laundry/store room. clearly visible to us when we bought it but it was supposed to be dry.

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Mrs.Spud: Idaho Mom
by Budman on June 08, 2006 06:11 AM
Woodchuck, that is some really good advise there. I just put in a 120' well on my property and it is kicking out 15 gallons a minute. It is the best tasting water I have ever had. If you dont mind, what exactly is a point well?
Mrs. Spud, I was instructed to put a gallon and a half of Clorax Bleach down my well prior to using it so that it would kill any bacteria that contaminated the well during the construction phase. I used it to flush out my plumbing to thin it out and it eventually went away. The water test came out perfect and I sure hope it stays that way......
by woodchuck on June 08, 2006 08:20 AM
Mrs Spud, you have a wonderful setup, the potential for a handpump during power outages will keep you in the wet, [Wink] , and it sounds like freezing won't be an issue either, or protecting it from that anyway. All your plumbing can be done with CPVC or copper, each is pretty easy, I favor copper always for supply plumbing, and just a few components will set you up, I'd recommend schedule 100 pvc for the long run down to the water-typical for wells- then, may I suggest a variable speed pump, it will adjust pressure based on demand, cost is not too bad, but it's like having constant city pressure regardless of how many taps are open. Electrical use is more efficient because of this and no need for a pressure tank(yay), so take the time to figure this out, you could run a small ad for a plumber to do a side job, or call some in the area and find out if they'll come and do a side job. The backflow valve is real common, they are necessary for sump pump disharge lines, again check the hardware/home improvment store.

Keep us posted on this, sounds like a fun project, you could cut your water bill for washing clothes with a bypass valve [devil] .

Since you realized water at 34 of a 340 ft well, may I recommend a draw-down test, get a pump-a sumppump will do, cheap to rent- run a 100'x3/4" hose into the well and to the intake of the pump, then a short hose, 10'x3/4" to the outfeed of the pump, you are looking for 7-9 gallons per minute for at LEAST 5minutes without sputtering. A simple measurement method is; have a measured 5-gal bucket and a watch with a second hand, when the bucket is full, time it, how much time to get 5gals, this works better if you can have 2-3 buckets lined up, two thirty gallon trash cans with a plastic bag as a sealed liner would work fine too, then you time 60gal in 5minutes equals 12 gal/min, which would be great, but 7-9gal/min will suffice. Pump size, a 1/4 hp will work, but a 1/2hp will be better and won't work as hard. If you perform this test and get sputtering, then you know to add another 100' hose and repeat the test, now, the rented pump may not be able to draw that water up that far or it may collapse the hose, testing the cheap and dirty way has it's frustrations. Something else you can do is find out who the previous owners were and ask them what the output of the well was when it was in use. OR Call and ask a well company if a test can be done on a well of your description, a phone call will keep you anonymous.

My fingers are starting to cramp, let us know where this goes, I am hitting tilt on my knowledge base regarding this though.
by woodchuck on June 08, 2006 08:33 AM
Budman- 15gal/min, holy gusher batman, that's awesome out of well, now just put a variable speed pump on or after pump controller and there won't be any drops in pressure while in the shower and someone starts laundry.

Before starting this project, it's possible to go to a DNR office, or Land Mangement office in the area and checking for ground water tables and active spring veins in the area.

A point well, or sand point well is accomplished by getting a sandpoint from a store that handles well pumps, and associated irrigation products.
Get a ladder, a slide type post hammer, and start pounding the sand point into the ground, add sections as needed until you hit a water resevoir, which may just be a pocket of water, void in the soil,rock layers, usually twenty feet will get you there. Would you really want to pound more pipe in the ground than that?

Okay, once you find water then you hook a pump line to your pipe and start extracting water from the ground. Depending on the refresh rate you may want to pump into a series of garbage cans or plastic 30 or 55 gal tubs until there is enough to water your garden adequately.

This is the basic theory, you can get more details with more research.
by Danno on June 08, 2006 01:39 PM
also. . . (btw your getting some really good input here from alot of smart people it seems!) You DONT need a licensed guy to do any work. You are a homeowner. . . and you are able to pull any permit to work on any bit of whatever inside your residence. Its only if you f up that your butt gets fried [Smile] If your deep in the city, and have a fear of getting caught. . i would at least investigate with your city town hall, what permit you would need and what testing/approval you need as well. also they are a great information source as to what you can/cannot do legally, as you are (or should be) concerned with when you go to sell the house.

the BIGGEST thing which EVERYONE here has posted on, put a backflow preventer on this system! It is a must! Last thing u want is chemicals from lawn fertilizer to go back into your water without being filtered/used by your lawn & contaminate the water table in earth. I would stress this is a must [Smile]

GL with this project, and fyi if it were me. . i would just put a 3 way valve on either side of your meter socket (water that is) so you can bypass for sprinkling. . . WOOPS did i say that? [Smile]
by dodge on June 08, 2006 02:17 PM
You could put a submersible pump down that well.

Lots of folks do that .


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''''Those who live in the Lord Never See Each Other For The Last Time!''''
by woodchuck on June 08, 2006 05:41 PM
You can buy hose bibs that have built in backflow prevention, the term for this is vacuum breaker, they have been required in new construction for a number of years, so now you have two points of backflow protection available.

A well pump supplier in the area should be able to help you set this up with the appropriate components, it behooves you to ask about a variable speed pump.
by woodchuck on June 09, 2006 02:15 AM
I thought of something else last night, in many municipalities, when a permit is pulled it creates a record that the tax assessor looks at when determining property tax increases, improvements stand out and invite a walk-through instead of just a drive by.
by Mrs.Spud on June 09, 2006 04:59 AM
let me tell you what we did. There are two pipes already in the well. So we capped off one with a quick connect for the air compressor, and the other we put a spigot and valve. We hooked up the air compressor and the hose and blew air into the one pipe and water came out the other.

However, it didn't last long. So, we need to take out the pipes I guess and try the submersible pump.

with that kind of pump do you need a pressure tank?

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Mrs.Spud: Idaho Mom
by Mrs.Spud on June 09, 2006 05:00 AM
PS. for our municipality the only permits required are for electrical and plumbing. if this is plumbing, i'm not real sure...since its irrigation and NOT household, sewer, or gas pipes. However, I believe it would be super easy to do without permit because it could be undone in a real hurry, if you KWIM.

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Mrs.Spud: Idaho Mom
by woodchuck on June 09, 2006 05:46 AM
A variable speed/pressure well pump does not require a pressure tank since the pump runs on demand when it senses any change in the line. This could also be wired using an appliance plug and you putting the required outlet nearby, easy disconnect. This probably would not require any permitting as its temporary, seasonal useage, and not part of any other household system, just make sure the electrical is GFCI protected if the pump turns out to run on 120v or is grounded if on 220v , for safety. If you have an electric stove or dryer, you should be able to mimic the wiring if the pump requires 220v.
by dodge on June 09, 2006 07:29 AM

We use the underground submersable.. And love it .



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''''Those who live in the Lord Never See Each Other For The Last Time!''''
by Budman on June 10, 2006 01:40 AM
Thanks for the info Woodchuck. You all are a great source of information. And here I thought all I could find out from this website would be plant related. You all are great!! I actually had my well set up by a Well drilling co. and they did me right. I have no reduction in water pressure and it is just as pure tasting as can be. I rented a property not too far away from where I am now and the water had a lot of Iron in it and had a bad after taste. I am so glad that my water does not have that problem. Take care....
by Greenthumb newbee on June 11, 2006 06:12 PM
I have a well and here is some things to do.

I too WAS on rural water (same as city but not taste as good) Anyway I too have a well on my property but it was not being used. I was told First to SHOCK the well by using clorine. I used the Pellets you use for a pool. Works great and cheaper then 10 gal of bleach. Let it set for over 4 hours then flushed it out (may get minor clorine taste in water IF not flushed out for a day or 2).

One week later I took a Gallon of the well water to a nearby city water dept to have tested. Not as good test as a lab but close. My water is fine but has 8x the amount of calcium as city water. Safe to drink but the water is very hard.

I was told the ONLY way to remove the calcium is a commercial grade water softener and then get at least a 4 if not 5 stage reverse osmosis filtration system. A whole house system cost like $3500 but it`s no culligan system. I recently found out that there are water companies you can rent those water softeners from. BTW.... I have`nt had a water bill in over a year |-)

Farm and home or places like that will have ALL your water needs for a well water system.

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