Losing water from well


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Old 03-28-14, 11:35 PM
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Losing water from well

We have an 80ft. deep, 2ft. diameter bored well. It is all clay except a 1ft. area of sand where the water comes in at 42ft. From December to June/July, the well is so full that you can touch the water. Then, it suddenly starts draining out and the well will go dry in about 2 weeks. In trying to calculate the rate of the water coming into the well, we have pumped the well dry. Then, three days later, there was only 105 gallons of water in the well. We don't know whether we have an extremely low yeild well, or whether it is just draining out that fast. We considered that it was back-draining through the 1ft. area where it comes in at, but we would at least have water from there down to the 80 ft. mark, but we don't. It all drains away. We have to buy water in the summer and have it stored in the well. We buy 1000 gallons at a time. The water drains out at about 150 gallons a day after subtracting the amount of water that we use. We don't know why we have all the water we can use in the winter and spring, yet have none the rest of the year. Where is it going? If we have a leak in the pipe to the house, wouldn't it leak all year? This is a very difficult area to get water. We have considered trying to put a drilled well in, but have been told we probably wouldn't get water. We have considered putting in a new bored well, but what if it does the very same thing? If we don't have water, we will have to move. Can you, please, shed any light on this situation? Thanks!
 
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Old 03-29-14, 05:41 AM
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Are you pumping water out as it is "draining away" in the summer?

It doesn't sound to me as though the well is all clay except for that layer. If it was all clay, there would be nowhere for the water to get out. When you buy water and store it in the well, does it drain out then?

I've know people to buy 1,000 gallon tanks to store water in when they know there won't be water for a while. They fill it up and then they pump out of that until they can pull from the well again. Someone else I know bought a house that had a 1000 gallon pressure tank which held about 500 gallons of water. The pump died and it was three weeks before he knew it.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 07:03 AM
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How many other wells in your area? Did this just start happening or has it been draining since you moved in? Has your area experienced drought?
 
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Old 03-29-14, 09:14 AM
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Since you problem is seasonal, are there any farmers in the area that might be using irrigation water? Or any other heavy water users that pump on a seasonal basis? It seems to me there is most likely another sand strata lower in the well that is draining the water. You may be able to lower a camera into the well to identify the problem, then dump enough concrete in to seal it off.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 10:26 AM
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There are only two of us here. We use very little water, 10 to 30 gallons a day, and we deduct the amount from our calculated water loss. Well drillers have to record the different substrates as they drill through the earth. The well drilling log that was recorded when they put the well in says that there are different types of clay, designated by colour, but it is all clay, which is typical for this area. That's what doesn't make sense to any of the well drillers. They line lakes with clay to keep water in. We can't figure out where our water is going. Yes, when we buy water and put it in the well it drains out just as quickly. We have considered using a supplemental cistern and buying water. But, it would cost us $280 a month for the water to do that.

The wells around us vary. There is an aquifer about 3/4 of a mile west of us. People in that area find abundant water between 200 and 300 ft. There is a limestone ledge under our property that halts drilling at 152 ft. which is why we must use a bored well. Our neighbors, about a mile away, have a drilled well, but, are not shown to be within the aquifer area, yet they can pump 3000 gallons at a time and not flinch. Then, there are others in the area that are working off of a bored well as we do, but, as far as we know, they don't drain out. We have been living here for 8 years and started recording the movement of the well shortly after. Our area has suffered drought and total crop losses because of it. But, the well did not respond accordingly during that time. It remained draining out at the same rate that it does during non-drought years.

There is no irrigation in the area. The only major water using source close to us is a hog operation about 3 mile away and the well drillers I have talked to do not believe the cone of influence that is created by the hog farm is strong enough to disturb our well. The well is lined with concrete tile sections clear to the bottom and the well pump hovers just a couple of feet above the bottom so there is not really any way to see anything with a camera other than concrete. Pouring concrete in the well would only serve to fill up the area where the pump draws in the water.

The only guess that makes sense to us is a leak. But, there are no mushy or damp spots in the yard that indicate excess water in a specific area. And, why doesn't it leak out during the cold temperatures of winter and early spring?

Thank you all for your time and consideration of this problem. We are at a crossroads that will deem us to invest a lot of money into this house to make it wheelchair accessible or move somewhere else if there is no water here. We would rather stay here, but could not afford the extra money to keep buying water.
 
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Old 03-29-14, 08:16 PM
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The same porosity or channels that bring water into your well during wet season will lose the water during dry season. What is happening is the water table goes up and down.

When the water table is low, there are only a few feet of water soaked soil, at the bottom, surrounding the well from which more water will drip or pour into the well. If you pour additional (bottled or whatever) water in, the well will behave like a leach field and lose the water to the surrounding soil.

So you don't want to buy water and store it in your well. Use a tank.

Sometimes the well gives you more water if you try to pump it again a short time later compared with postponing your next usage of water. For example, at certain times you might get, say, ten gallons out before the well runs dry, but you will get no more than ten gallons out each time whether you wait fifteen minutes or two hours before trying again. Other idiosyncrasies may be the well recovering enough for 10 gallons every 15 minutes but only 20 gallons at a time if you wait 2 hours between tries.

By using a storage tank, you can pump small amounts of water, as much as the well can give you, all day long or all night long when no one is using water, and then have enough water to use when needed.

If you have a non-pressurized storage tank, then you need a pressure tank and a second pump in the house.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-29-14 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 04-01-14, 05:13 AM
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Thank you, AllanJ. Water harvesting may be our last resort. If we can harvest water from our well into storage tanks, then that is one thing. But, if we have to buy water to store in the tanks, then we'll have to move. It is just too expensive and undependable to buy water. As it is now, we pump mud throughout the summer and fall. We would have to harvest enough water throughout the winter to get us through the summer and fall. I'm not sure that amount of water storage tanks would even be practical. What is baffling the well drillers here is that our well if full during the season that it should be low, and it is empty when water should be filling it. Without having that answer, no one will drill a secondary well here for fear it will do the same thing. My husband has decided to run a new water line to the house in case a leak is being over-looked. If that is not the problem, and we can't harvest water through the summer, then we will have to move. Thank you for your insight.
 
 

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