How do you measure how much Water your well has? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We are looking to moving from the city to the country. The house we are looking at has a water well and septic. We were told the well had a recovery rate of 3.5 gallons per minute and the well is 50 feet deep. Over the past year the well had a pump put on it. The pump is located in the basement and clicks on often. We are a family of five and have concerns about not having enough water. Local residents have told us that they have run out of water a few times in the summer months and filled water storage tanks and then poured them into the well. Can anyone tell me how we could measure the amount of water we have? The water has passed inspection. We just know how to go about checking for volume and recovery and everything else. We were told it would be difficult to check the water now because the volume would change in the summer. Any truth behing this?


-- Denise Szalkowski (, April 11, 2002


Unless I'm mistaken as to your question, isn't it just a matter of calculating the volume in there? pi(3.14)X (radius of well pipe squared) X 50 feet. To see how high the water is, lift off the top of the cap and drop an ice cube down there and see how close to the top it sounds like the water level is.

-- Christina (, April 11, 2002.

Your 50ft well isnt all the water you have. The water is comming from the ground. You cant really say how much water your well has since thats totally out of your control. Its going to depend on what aquafura your tapped into.

As for the 50ft, You cant use that in your calclulation because thats the depth of the well, not the height of the water.

What you can calculate is delivery rate and recovery rate.

For delivery rate, take a large bucket down near the pump and fill a larger 5gal bucket. How long did it take? Now for recovery rate you drop a sring or rope into the well with a bobber on it. Measure the height the water is below the well head (some wells are sealed an you might not be able to do this). Then you run water for 1/2hr untill the well level dropps down a measurable amount. Stop the running water and now measure how long it takes to recover that 1/2hr of water. Thats your recover rate.

-- Gary (, April 11, 2002.

When they were longwalling here, they usd a lot of things to determine recovery rate. My Dad is a professional well-driller and he will bale a well many time to determine recovery rate.

One of the easiest ways to determine the rate of recovery is to run the well completely dry. You could save this water for animals, laundry or garden use etc... Then wait about 30 minutes allowing the well to recover. After 30 minutes accurately measure the amount of water you can pump again until the well goes dry. Then divide this amount by 30 to determine the gallons per minute. This will give you a general idea, but the rate of recovery will change according to the season. Around here August is normally the month when the recovery rate is the longest.

About the well kicking off and on, there could be many reasons for this, including a leak in the line, or some sort of defect in the pump. The holding tank could also need to have some air added to it.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, April 11, 2002.

There is no way of telling how much water is in the well. It is from an underground source where it be a Under ground stream or the water table. the amount of water available will change from week to week. It all depends on yearly rainfall amount in the area, natural Small shifts of the earth surface, or blasting in the area.

-- Jerry (, April 11, 2002.

I concur with Melissa's methodology. You should also consider how much water will be consumed backwashing a carbon filter if you use one in conjunction with a chlorination system.

If the pump is clicking on often, it may be that your pressure tank needs to be drained of water and recharged or replaced. the exact process will depend on whether it has a bladder or is bladderless.

It might also be that the range setting might be off. We have ours set for a 10PSI differential (35PSI high and 25PSI low). This gives us a nice balance on how long the pump runs. Of course it depends on what your usage is. We don't have a dishwasher and still don't do laundry at home yet (we have REAL sulferous water...before treatment).

Our resevior is 150 gallons and rate of flow is 1.5 gallons/minute. That would be considered a low recovery well. Suits our needs though, however we are just 2 people.

We are looking to redo the cistern which holds 1800 gallons of water. It has buried pipes to the house and a seperate pump/tank. We might hook it into the household piping (before chlorine injection). Most likely though, we will use it for outside watering.

Not sure why the local residents would pour the water back in the well as you describe. I have a 500 gallon settling tank in the basement (before the carbon filter and after the pressure pump.) and that makes a nice extra resevior.

If you can be flexible about the timing of various water drawing activities you can make the available water volume go that much further. Plan to do laundry when people aren't planning to take showers, etc.

Hope the detailed reply doesn't put people to sleep.


-- Mike (, April 11, 2002.

Just had another thought.

You might want to check with the Department of Natural Resources (or comparable agency) in the state where you are buying. In Ohio, the DNR has a well log website where you can look up information about wells drilled since 1948 (or thereabouts).

In my case the well had been drilled in the 1920's so there wasn't any information. When I emailed the DNR though they provided me with information about well depths and flow rates in the area. This allowed me independent verification of the approximate depth and flow rates for the water bearing strata in the area.


-- Mike (, April 11, 2002.

You could ultrasound the well, which costs. I simply ran my pump and calculater the gpm for a 24 hr period and plumb fobbed the depth with a marked line to check the depth. 24 hrs later, the plumb depth was unchanged and I calculated the water that was pumped. repeated this sequence two more times for consistancy.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 11, 2002.

I want to thank you for reminding me to thank the Lord for the great water availability that I have on my farm. I tend to take water for granted.

I measured about 80 feet of water in my well for the first few years after it was drilled. I measured the level this winter and the water level had come up another 24 feet.

The pump I use puts out 35 gallons per minute, and with it I am not able to pull the water level down more than a couple of feet while it is running.

Before I purchased the property I checked with the water district, and they indicated that I should have enough availability to irrigate my 16 acres, i.e. with proper permits, etc. However I have no intention of doing that, and in fact use drip irrigation lines to irrigate my vegetables so as to conserve as much water as possible.

The water quality is extremely high, though I'm told the more I pump the well the more disolved minerals that I will pull to it. Anyone know about that? I live in town at this point, and only wish the city water was close to that quality.

Again, thank you for the reminder. THANK YOU LORD!

-- Notforprint (, April 11, 2002.

What if you well never goes dry ?? That should be my only "problem" in life. Our well is 250' deep. Never have had a problem thank goodnes.. last summer had a family taking care of our animals when we went out of town for a few days. When we returned home we found the the well in the barn (from the house) had been left running with the hose into the horses trough for 22 hours !!!! I almost fainted. !! Fortunately we never lost our water supply. So I guess I'm very lucky. Even with the shortage lately I pray we will be fine again this year. Needless to say, if we use this family again we will take the hose away so they will have to bucket water to the horses. It was scarey !!!

-- Helena (, April 12, 2002.

Get a ball of cotton string. Tie a 3-4 ounce weight to 1 end. Drop that end in the well. Let it keep going down, down, down til the string in your hand goes limp. Recover the string. Lay the wet string out straight, and measure the footage. Do this as often as you like. Keep a record of it to see what your loss or gain is.

-- Buddy in e. Ga. (, April 12, 2002.

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