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Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 8:57 pm
by wattreesmassive
I fell a bit rude in asking as Ive only just joined but has anyone dug their own well for potable water? We need a supply for drinking,washing ect,a borehole quote was outlandish and we have met someone who has their own supply from a spring but the only advice given to me was to "look for a spot that doesnt dry out even in dry weather,as we live in Wales with peat over clay ground,nothing ever really dries out!Also regarding water quality,we can buy a testing kit over the internet but is it possible to filter the water both through a U.V filter and again through a Britas water filter to remove any contaminants? We have been told that the only contaminants in our area are iron {you can see this in the redness of the ditchwater and is believed to be harmless} and manganise,which Im clueless about but the chap didnt seem to think there was an issue with it!Any suggestions?

Re: Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:41 am
by dustydave
Funny you should ask - as i've just dug one.

The method that you use all depends on the geology and the groundwater depth. I'm on clay and the groundwater is only about 5ft below us.

My method was to: start digging a post sized hole with a spade down to 4ft; carrying on with a post-hole-digger to about 6ft; i then lined the hole with a large diameter pipe (i used an old flue pipe - but plastic 110mm soil pipe makes an okay casing). Then the hole started filling with water so using a long bit of plastic 40mm diameter plastic pipe, sealed at one end (with a plug of clay) drilled a small airhole where my thumb rested: pipe goes in the clay/water - air pushes out the hole - thumb over hole - quickly pull the pipe up with thumb on hole - pipe is full of clay/slurry - remove thumb & empty on the ground and repeat; occasionally using a metal bar to break up the hard clay so that it can be slurrified. As the hole gets deeper - slowly push the casing down.

I'm now down to 15ft, i do about 1ft per evening (hour).

I only going to use the water for the garden - so not too concerned over purity.

Re: Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:53 am
by dustydave
The final pump will be based on this:

Re: Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:56 am
by diggernotdreamer
We have a spring well here, but didn't dig it, as far as I can tell, the springs often bubble up, ours is just a slow trickle. We have a concrete collar so as the water is contained and the water is pumped to the house and is very good quality, we don't filter it yet, but have bought a filter to get particles out as I don't want the water tank in the loft filled with silt.

Our neighbours don't have a well, they catch rainwater and save it in a huge tank, they used to get drinking water from the public wells that are around the place, but they just had this system put in that purifies the rainwater so as they can now drink it as well, think it is uv and a charcoal filter

Re: Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 12:47 pm
by GeorgeSalt
Don't work out your filter until you know what's in the water that needs to be removed. Internet test kits are only as good as the least good of the following - the quality of the kit and the competence of the user.

It's definitely worth paying for a professional lab test if you plan on drinking the water - they can advise you what to test for, what the results mean and perhaps guide yu on any corrective treatments required. It's difficult to guess what the minimum number of tests would be - depends on the local land use and the relationship of the proposed bore hole to the local geography and geology. I'd certainly want to have nitrates, phosphates and a heavy metal panel plus bacterial count screened for drinking water use.

Britas filters (insanely expensive per litre, questionable value) and u/v filters will remove some types of contaminants, but they won't remove everything. So don't rely on them to "remove any contaminants" if by "any" you mean "all". Find out what you've got to start with.

Re: Well Digging-Anyone done this?

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:56 pm
by wattreesmassive
Wow! Thank you all! We have now found a man with a digger....hoping Im right in my basic water divining skills! Yes,I think Id better get the water quality tested by the proffesionals,we dont want anyone falling sick,or worse!I love the pipe idea,I may even use it in the veg area as we cant possibly get a digger in there,sounds like something I can do a bit at a time as interruptions are commonplace when theres 5 little ones around!