Eventually, every water well drilling contractor will encounter a challenging job that tests his skills as well as his patience. Over my years in the drilling industry, I have run into many well problems as well as the solutions that solved them. There have been many such situations over the years, however, the following stand out in my mind.
1. Problem: A customer’s water well pump wouldn’t build pressure. The grass,
green around the well, told us that the offset line apparently had broken at
the pitless adapter.
Solution: Dig a hole beside the casing, and repair the PVC. Everything was
2. Problem: A well was contaminated, and the well drilling contractor of the
new well would not assist the owner with the contamination, stating that it
wasn’t his problem.
My son and I took on the job, and discovered that surface water was entering an
abandoned well almost 100 feet away from the new well. The surface water was
entering the old well near the surface, and traveling down to the first
fractured rock, then traveling along the fractured rock and into the new well.
The old well casing had been cut off below the surface, and the old well never
had been properly plugged.
Solution: The surface was saturated, and when digging at approximately one
foot, we found the old casing. We suspected surface water was running into the
old well and down to a fractured rock. We installed a temporary casing above
ground on the old well. Then we plugged the old well from the bottom to the top
with concrete. The static level went down immediately in the new well. We
super-chlorinated the new well with 500 gallons of water and bleach. Afterward,
we pumped the new well for one week, and the water tested OK. We removed the
temporary casing in the old well, covered it and marked the
3. Problem: A new well was contaminated, we suspected from nearby hog lot. The
old abandoned well was 10 feet from the new well. The customer had plugged the
old well by pouring dry cement in the top of the old well, and it bridged at
the water level.
Solution: We drilled out the surface plug in the old well and cleaned the well
to the bottom. We cemented the old well from bottom to the top, placed the
cement plug in the new well at 50 feet, let it set for 24 hours, and then
cemented the casing inside under pressure from 50 feet to the top to hopefully
plug any fractured rock formations. In 48 hours, we drilled out the casing, and
cleaned the well to the bottom. We installed the pump, pumped for 24 hours and
had the water tested; it tested OK.
4. Problem: A new well was contaminated: You could hear water running in the
new well. We focused sunlight down the well with a mirror, and you could see a
stream of water running into the well at the bottom of the casing at 10 feet.
Solution: We removed the casing, and reamed the hole to 30 feet. We set 30 feet
of new casing into the newly reamed hole, and grouted with neat cement to the
top. We cleaned the hole to the bottom, and then super-chlorinated the well
with thousands of gallons of water and chlorine. We installed the pump and
pumped for 30 days. The water tested OK.
5. Problem: In a new Pennsylvania
well, the casing apparently was seated into fractured rock. Surface water was
leaking into the well below the casing, and was contaminated.
Solution: We pulled the pump, and because we couldn’t remove casing, we
installed a cement plug at the top of the water level, and let it set for 24
hours. Then we cemented the well from the plug to as near the top of the casing
as possible. We let it set 48 hours, and then drilled out the remaining cement
inside the casing and the hole and cement plug. We cleaned the hole to the
bottom, and tested the gpm flow with air. Afterward, we super-chlorinated the
well with 500 gallons of water and chlorine. Then we reinstalled the pump, and
pumped for 48 hours. The water tested OK.
I have presented these scenarios to demonstrate that there are solutions for
troublesome well jobs, provided you have the willingness to do what it takes to
solve the problems.
Porky's Hole Thoughts: Well Problems and Solutions
January 3, 2012