Problem Caused By Neighbor's New Well?


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Old 07-25-06, 01:31 AM
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Question Problem Caused By Neighbor's New Well?

I have a jet pump/pressure tank setup in my basement, my single 1" black PVC well line goes 400' horizontally to a 90 degree gooseneck through a rubber compression well cap and then 35' down - water level is 20' below ground/well-head level.

Neighbor pounded a 50' deep well 70' to 90' from my well. A couple days after pounding was done, I started losing water pressure like the pump couldn't fill the pressure tank quickly enough and the pump started running continuosly. Turned it off and just turned it on when we needed it.

Pulled up vertical line and replaced foot valve the next day, was unable to prime pump. Replaced plastic straight connector that had lots of white paste in the barbs (mineral deposits and a sign of leaking at this splice?) with brass counterpart. Unable to prime pump.

Replaced pump when our house's previous owner informed me he'd been through 4 pumps in 20 years - the current pump being 8 years old. Old pump had brownish liquid pour out when tipped over. Unable to prime new pump.

Disconnected well line from 90 degree gooseneck at well-head and pressurized well line from the basement - went out to well pit to find evidence of big muddy blowout - although I'm not sure if mud came out of line or big spurt of clean water kicked dirt/mud up on surrounding plants - leaning towards mud in line. Re-connected everything and pressurized again to check foot valve and to search for leaks with soapy water - tightened clamps on pipe connection to the nipple on the gooseneck to eliminate leaks - put pipe back down well and pumped gooseneck up and down to fill the vertical line.

Went to basement and replaced the check valve that is between the pump and the run out to the well with a straight connector, pouring water in the line before reconnecting it (only about a half a gallon went in).

Priming procedure:

Fill pump's priming port (T on top of pump that provides side discharge through clear pipe to pressure tank)

Screw on the priming port cap

Run pump until air bubbles stop going towards pressure tank

Stop pump and watch what seems to be the priming water shooting back up the well line, pushed by the air in the pressure tank

Remove the priming port cap quickly and pour water down the priming port until it comes up to the top and stays

- REPEAT

I did this procedure using approximately 15 gallons of water and the pressure gauge between the pump and pressure tank is up to 40 PSI when running the pump. I barely see any air bubbles during my priming procedure now and I feel like I have filled this 400' pipe but the pump will not prime.

After the pressure tank is a water softener and then a ball valve that shuts off the supply to the house.

Sorry for the novel.

Extremely frustrated,
Nathan
 
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Old 07-25-06, 07:58 AM
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I'm a little amazed that a jet pump would even pump at all with a 400' horizontal run and the water level 20' down. Does your well artesian?
What size jetpump are you using?
Your neighbors well could have a bearing on your well, especially is you are both in the same zone.
It's possible that the pump you replaced had a plugged nozzle, which will keep it from building pressure.
Ron
 
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Old 07-26-06, 04:01 AM
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Still no water

Originally Posted by Pumpman
I'm a little amazed that a jet pump would even pump at all with a 400' horizontal run and the water level 20' down. Does your well artesian?
What size jetpump are you using?
The well does NOT artesian but this setup was worked for 20+ years for the previous owner of my house. The pumps are 1/2 HP jet pumps, the old one a Simer and the new one a Gould.

Originally Posted by Pumpman
Your neighbors well could have a bearing on your well, especially is you are both in the same zone.
It's possible that the pump you replaced had a plugged nozzle, which will keep it from building pressure.
Ron
I replaced the old pump to eliminate it as a potential cause of the problem. The new pump will not prime in the exact same way, so looks like I have a spare now.

I did get some muddy looking water to eventually come down the line, but the pump will still not prime fully. Could my line be full of mud that is clogging it? When I prime without the check valve that is usually 4' up the supply line from the pump, a vacuum seems to be created that will suck water back up the line once the pump is shut off.

My next step is to disconnect the horizontal line from the well head and blow compressed air up the line again from the house and see what comes out. If there's no big cathartic belch of mud or some other clog I'll pressure test the line and make sure it's not losing pressure.
 
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Old 07-26-06, 12:34 PM
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To prime a jet pump you must fill the entire line. If the line goes uphill you will get an air pocket and the pump will stop pumping as soon as it hits the air.
 
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Old 08-10-06, 09:13 AM
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Resolution

We called the company that drilled my neighbor's well and they sent guys out the same day. I still don't know if there are liability issues, but they were very agreeable about coming out and fixing it - for free.

I described the problem and what I had done to try to fix it to the two guys that showed up (the one in charge had worked on the neighbor's well). He pulled up my down line and put a submersible pump down my well, hooking it up to the 400' main run. I hooked up the house end, bypassing the pump, to a garden hose that ran out into the yard. The submersible was hooked up to a generator and cranked up. After about 30 seconds the water started flowing out of the garden hose, sputterring with air. I watched the water go from light brown to dark brown to dark, dark gray and then clear up. The well guy said that it was just rust knocked off the well casing while he lowered the submersible, but I really don't believe that. Everything was hooked back up and water was restored to the house.

I did not bother checking that the well guys put things back together tight/right. I was getting air in the system and while water was being delivered for awhile, I eventually lost prime. I went out and checked the hose connection to the gooseneck that goes down through the well seal - and the hose clamps had not been tightened! I know that I should have checked, but the well guys were the last ones to touch those connections and I ASSUMED they would put things back properly.

My Conclusion:
The neighbor's well being pounded stirred up lot's of mud/silt/whatever and my system sucked it up, eventually clogging the main 400' line so that my jet pump could no longer draw against it. The well guys that came out flushed the line and now things are flowing fine. Indicidentally, I also replaced the galvanized steel gooseneck (which is essentially a pipe bent at 90 degrees that goes down through the well seal and connects the horizontal run to the the downpipe) with all brass and found a pinhole leak on the "nape" of the neck. I would/will NEVER use galvanized steel for any permanent water piping - and to anyone reading this that is in the position of servicing a system that delivers potable water to a household, JUST PAY FOR THE DAMN BRASS!
 
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Old 08-10-06, 06:52 PM
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lONG SUCTION LINE!

You have a leak in the suction line (line to the well). It could be a well with limited flow but I doubt that. Neighbors well had nothing to do with your well. Priming a 400' suction line can be a problem. To prevent air locks, the suction line must run down hill from the pump to the well. Shaking the verticle well pipe will help prime the pump but there can be no leaks. To eliminate possible leaks try moving the pump (temporarly) to the well, connect and try priming again. The problem is a leak in the suction line.

Porky, Master Ground Water Consultant (MGWC)
 
 

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