Need Help with an Old Well : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I'm trying to help a neighbor resurrect an old well.

Our initial plan was to pull the old pipe out, but even with the aid of a Caterpiller, we were not successful. Apparently, sand has been impacted rather tightly.

To loosen the alleged sand in the mere hope of using the old pipe, we tried air pressure, also to no avail.

Our next step is to use water pressure. My problem with all of these pressure theories is that foot valves are designed to hold standing water in the pipe. How is it that water pressure (from a garden hose) could "blow out" impacted sand, the foot valve being designed as a one-way valve?

Anyway, does anybody have any tricks or tips to help us novices out?

-- Zach Anderson (, October 23, 1999


Maybe someone brighter can figure out what you mean, but for myself your info is to vague. Is it a drilled or driven point or possibly bored well? It almost sounds like you were trying to pull the casing out! If you succeeded, you would no longer have a well.

-- Jon Johnson (, October 23, 1999.

Assuming that it is the pipe that carries the water, which is attached to the foot valve....can you move it upwards at all? You need to figure some kind of leverage. We use a thing called a cludge, which is designed to fit over the pipe that carries the water.. and is attached with a rope and a pulley directly over the well. If it IS the pipe that carries the water, it is probably connected at 20 foot intervals, and the reason it is so heavy is because it is full of water.

If, as the first person commented, you are pulling on the well casing won't have a well at all!

-- Mary (, October 23, 1999.

We tried pulling the water pipe (not the casing) out. The only way we could try was to wrap and hook a chain, which tended to bend the pipe. It did not appear that the pipe was being bent so much that it impinged with the casing, hence we concluded the culprit must be sand. We lifted it about 18", but that's all she wrote.

It is only 80 feet deep and we are using a hydraulic lift, so I doubt water weight has much to do with it, but it was a good thought anyway.

Now, we could go with a more serious wench, but the pipe is quite old (rusted) and we do not want to risk breaking it, rendering the entire project hopeless...

-- Zach Anderson (, October 23, 1999.

somebody posted a pretty practical description of a well cleaning device, I think it was yesterday. You could try cleaning the sand out of the well using this idea. Have you tried spinning the drop pipe (clockwise) while trying to lift it?


-- Al K. Lloyd (, October 23, 1999.

Zach, I found it--about eight or ten posts below yours. Here it is:

I'm an old well driller, but i can't draw worth a darn, so I'll see if I can explain a simple vaccuum for removing the silt from your well. First, a parts list, you'll need: an air compressor, capable of sustaining 40 psi continuous thru a 1/4" tube ( not as hard as you think) 1 1/2" pvc pipe, as long as the depth of the well you wish to clean, plus a 1 1/2"pvc ell, and 2' of 1 1/2"pvc pipe 1/4" copper tubing ( at least 10') Next, assemble the 1 1/2" pipe, to the length required to reach the top of the silt, with an additional 5' of pipe ( I think you said 38', so 43 to 45' would be ok), and add the ell and 2' piece to the top. Do not glue the upper pieces (ell and 2' section, as you'll need to remove later) the copper tubing is attached to the outside of the pvc, running to the bottom, and turning up inside the pvc at least 6". To the copper tubing, attach a 1/4" rubber air line, and run to your compressor. Lower this contraption into the well, until it rests on the silt. Turn on the air, ( be sure the discharge pipe is turned away from folks) and let it blow the water and silt to the top and from the discharge. If you have at least 2 feet of water, and water percolating into the well, this will work. If it dries out, you will have to increase the air pressure to remove dry silt. When you have vaccuumed as far as the first pipe assembly, remove the ell, and add another five feet or so. I have successfully cleaned wells to 200' this way, but the more head of water in the bottom, the better it works.I added my pipe in 10' sections, but I didn't care about getting wet. Living near the gulf coast of Tx, most of the year, thats a plus.

LUCK- Dennis

-- D. R. Green (, October 22, 1999.

-- Al K. Lloyd (, October 23, 1999.

Zach.. Sorry I don't read as often as I would like. The above air lift ( as described) may work in your situation if there is enough room between the water pipe and casing. It can be made with smaller pipe, but I've had no luck with lifts of less than 1". What I would recommend is to use a piece of 1/2" pvc pipe,enough to reach the sand you wish to displace, connected to an air line, producing at least 60 psi, and try to loosen the silt down to and around the foot valve. If your casing is steel, though, it sounds as if it has rusted and imploded. If you did succeed in removing the water pipe, insert a pvc casing . Even a 1 1/2" casing, with the home made hand pump I've read about here, will supply drinking water of better quality than most surface water.


-- D. R. Green (, October 24, 1999.

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