Porky's Hole Thoughts: Reflections on Drilling through the Years
February 6, 2013
Before state well regulations and drilling licensing was required, our company would occasionally drill a well inside a property where a basement was to be built. When the basement was done, the well would be inside. All they had to do was cut the casing off near the basement floor and install the pump system.
Other times we drilled the well inside a foundation before the building was constructed (such as in a garage). That way the well and pump system would be protected from weather and vandalism.
Back then, we used a special 5-inch 22 gauge galvanized tin well casing and if we didn’t immediately install the pump, we would cut a length of tire inner tube and tie one end shut with wire, turn it inside out and stretch it over the well to prevent anything from falling in.
My dad and I had drilled a well for a policeman friend in the corner of the garage foundation before they poured the concrete floor. Sometime after the home and garage were built, the policeman decided to install the pump. He removed the inner tube cover and started to run the pump in the well, it stopped at 7 feet, right at the top of the static water level. He removed the pump and found that someone had dropped a concrete block in the well and it had lodged about 7 feet down. The policeman called my dad, told him what had happened and asked what he should do? Dad said, “I’d call a cop!”
We solved the problem by welding a ring in the top of a heavy 4-inch steel bar, tying a rope to it and running it inside the casing. By raising and dropping the heavy bar with the rope by hand, we were able to bust up the concrete block and drive it 60 feet to the bottom of the well casing where it wouldn’t be a problem. This well was drilled some 60-plus years ago and the last I heard, about 30 years ago this well was still working fine.
Our company, Cutter & Dad Drilling Company was one of only three drillers around Enid, Okla., to drill water wells.
A little history: Some of the first well casing in Oklahoma was manufactured by rolling 22 gauge galvanized tin into 9-foot lengths. This was accomplished by rolling three flat, 3-foot pieces of galvanized tin into a tube and then riveting them together. Then three large threads were crimped in the ends so that they could screw together.
The perforated sections were made in 3-foot lengths with the same threads crimped on the ends. Before the perforated sections were made into a tube, they were run through a chisel-type perforator that perforated the tube from what would eventually be inside out. This allowed the installer to hammer the chiseled slots to the opening size they preferred.
There were hundreds if not thousands of water wells completed using tin casing around Enid, Okla., and I’m sure our company drilled a third of them.
Hand bailers, windmills and a few piston-and-jet pumps were about all there was in the 50s. Most were farm wells and there were very few jet pumps.
Many of the wells water came through were veins (small holes) in red shale. These veins produced 1 to 15 gallons per minute. Unfortunately most wells over 60 feet deep in the northern part of Oklahoma produced salty water, which was probably due to the many oil wells in the area. I know many owners in those areas would be willing to trade a producing oil well for a good non-salty water well.
I remember a gas station called Midway about 20 miles north of Enid that had to have water trucked in because all the well water we found was salty.
But that was years ago, and I believe many areas in Oklahoma now have community water systems. ND