Well problems

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Old 04-19-16, 10:57 AM
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Well problems

I've been having issues with my well ever since I bought this house 9 years ago (technically before I even bought it, but my home inspector was too dumb to catch the problem).

My jet pump is in a "deep well" configuration, with 2 black plastic irrigation type pipes coming out of it and going through the foundation of the house. About 3' from the foundation I have some sort of metal riser that I assume is the well, but I have no idea how to service it. The pipe out of the ground doesn't hardly even look big enough to house the 2 black plastic pipes (maybe 3" diameter?). I have a plan from the county for when the well was originally installed in the house from 1977, but it's just a crudely drawn hand sketch and I believe it shows the depth of the well to be something like 21 feet and doesn't mark the location or diameter. I have no idea what it REALLY is.

The full story is kind of long, but I want to be as detailed as possible.

Before I bought the house, as part of the inspection, the inspector turned the bathtub on and let it run for 20 minutes (that was the goal anyhow). After about 5 or 10 minutes the pump started making a horrible howling noise. Turn the water off, the noise stopped and the pump shut off shortly after (I later figured out it was cavitating). He told me that the bearings in the pump were failing... not a huge issue.

So... I bought the house. I installed a brand new pump and repaired a bunch of other plumbing issues, including installing a whole house filter AFTER the bladder tank but before the softener (which is required by Kinetico). The bladder tank appeared then, as it does now, to be working correctly.

Anyhow, within about my first week in the house it was time to do some laundry and the NEW pump started howling. I figured out what was going on (the pump loses prime any time it gets under 20psi) and "fixed" the problem by partially closing my supply valve to the house from the booster tank so that the pressure couldn't drop under 20psi anymore. My plan at that time was to save up and just have a new well drilled (my lowest quote was $4600). My well has stinky bacteria in it anyhow and literally every neighbor on my street replaced their shallow wells (although mine is plumbed in a deep well configuration) with deep wells back in the 1990s. They all also claim to be getting higher quality water from their deeper wells (110' seems to be the average by looking at their permits). My filter housing also has large amounts of silt (and sometimes rust chunks) in it every time I service it (which is usually monthly because it gets so much crap in it... I just shake the filter out in a bucket of water and rinse the housing).

About 9 months later I received a notice from my local city that they were condemning ALL of the septic systems in my area and forcing us all on to city sewer. As part of that project we all had to agree to be annexed into the city (or have our homes condemned and be dragged out at gun point by the sheriff... Good times!). The city is currently supplying water to several large neighborhoods that almost entirely surround my property so my assumption was that city water would be coming soon anyhow so if I could "nurse" the well along for a couple of years I'd be fine.

That was 7 years ago and there is still no plan to offer city water (sewer came 2 years ago and the city has only now just started annexation proceedings, so it's not like I can even "demand" services)... In that time I've had to slowly further restrict the flow to the house and continue to back the pressure off on the pump and booster tank that now it's so low that it cycles on at about 10psi (instant cavitation) and will only make about 22psi of pressure. I usually have to go in the basement and unplug the pump to get it to stop (the spring plunger thingy seems to "stick", but as soon as power is removed and reapplied it pops back up and shuts off). I assume this is an artifact of having it adjusted well below it's design specs (it's 30/50 switch).

So... I'm fairly confident that I have leak in my well, be it a foot valve or injector or the pipes themselves (I actually think all of it is roasted) in addition to having a pump impeller that is horribly eroded from years and years of pumping garbage and cavitation. I actually have access to a cheap (possibly free) almost brand new jet pump and booster tank that has been sitting in my neighbor's garage, unused, for 10 years. She had an entire new setup installed before just having a new well drilled and it's been sitting there ever since.

I'm also now in the position that I've been unemployed for 2 years and am recovering (very slowly) from a back injury. I'm likely going to need to sell my house soon but I seriously doubt anyone would buy it with basically no water. I also can't go outside and start digging 4' deep holes with a shovel to go exploring.

---

So... On to the actual questions. Do I have a snowball's chance in hell of a new pump restoring at least SOME normal function to my well? I wouldn't have a problem disclosing to a new owner that the well is in poor condition, but city water is "on the way" and let them make the call. Again, I can probably do this for free (my neighbor and I are good friends and it's just taking up space in her garage).

and... can anyone tell me how to open this thing in my yard up and pull the pipes out of it? Is it even possible? I've never seen a well that looks anything like this before and I also don't understand how 2 fairly rigid plastic pipes could be bent and routed around inside it. Is excavation the only way to get inside it to replace the pipes and hardware? Is this even the well at all? My house, as far as I know, isn't served by natural gas (I have an above ground propane tank on the opposite end of the house and copper line from it runs directly from the tank, into the house, and straight to my furnace) so it seems like that is the only thing it could be.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide me. I'm getting pretty desperate to get some normal form of water restored to my house. Oh... I'm located in NE Indiana if that should make a difference.

I have attached a few pictures of what I think the well is for your reference. I can take as many pictures of anything else as anyone wants.

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Old 04-19-16, 01:33 PM
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I no nothing about jet pump setups, other than what has been posted on this site. As far as the well goes, I'd be checking that out, insofar as to depth, static water level, any wet spots in yard?...rule out the obvious issues.
If you have an android cell phone, you can download a 'well sonar', but with the all junk down the well, you may not reach bottom.
If it is a shallow well, pulling the pipe shouldn't be a big deal.
 
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Old 04-19-16, 02:55 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, and I will definitely use them, but I first need someone to tell me how to take the top off of my well. I have no idea how the pipe sticking out of the ground works. To me it almost looks like some kind of union on top.
 
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Old 04-19-16, 06:02 PM
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Your well at 21' is not a deep well and based on what you've said.... is probably contaminated like your neighbors from septic systems.

A "deep well" setup means it uses two pipes. Normally the only reason to use this type of setup on a shallow well is for quicker priming.

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That may be a lifting point for the well point. Some type of pitless adapter system. If you have two poly lines going out to the well then they should be there. I know it's tough but I'd try carefully digging down a few feet around that fitting.
 
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Old 04-19-16, 06:25 PM
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The bacteria in the well isn't harmful to humans (I've had the water tested) thankfully, it just smells bad (the sulfur smell some wells get from the water heater).

If I start digging what should I expect to find? 2 black plastic pipes siliconed to the side of that steel casing or something? I'd like to have at least some bare minimum idea of what I may discover if I disturb something with a shovel and make things go from bad to worse.

Thanks for the advice!
 
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Old 04-19-16, 06:43 PM
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You'd have to hit the pipe pretty hard to hurt it. The following video, although a little silly, shows installing a pitless adapter.

you tube/watch?v=0XYoa2vu9Q4
 
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Old 04-19-16, 07:26 PM
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Ok. So if I dig down around it I should find 2 pitless adapters (one for each size pipe)? Then I have to take the nuts off of them, push the adapters inside the casing, and unscrew the top to pull the well up?
 
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