Dug well is flooding basement


  #1  
Old 01-15-23, 11:20 PM
F
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 5
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Dug well is flooding basement

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a house on an island in rural Nova Scotia. It is at least 85 years old and has a dug well lined with rocks. The well is not open to the surface. It has a large rock slab on top and then a metre or two (6feet) of ground. I assume the well is as old as the house. The well is just outside the foundation of the house. you access it via a small opening in the unfinished basement through the concrete basement walls (foundation walls).
It has a jet pump with a small tank that has a bladder.
It has a "Home Plumber - Professional Series" label. I think it is sold by the Canadian hardware store "Home Hardware".
The pump draws water from the well via a 3" (I think) PVC pipe that has a foot valve.
All this works well and I have more water than I need.

My problem is I have too much water.
The basement has a some of the floor covered roughly with concrete. It runs slightly downhill from the well. Where there is just bare earth I could see that water had obviously run over the ground to the drain at the lower end.

This December when I stayed in the cottage for the first time, I saw where the water was coming from. My cup runneth over! The well is filling all the way up and overflowing into the basement!

I would like to concrete the rest of the floor but obviously would like to not have it flood with water every rainy season.

I have power in the house so I was thinking to dump an additional sump pump into the well together with some sort of level switch to turn it on when it gets close to the top and drain it for a bit just to keep it a foot or so below the basement floor.
There is a drain at the far end that drains out down the hill.
I do not think I will need a pump as strong as the well pump because when we are using the water we seem to keep the water level below the floor. It is just when we are not there consuming water that it overflows.

Any recommendations as to a pump and a switching method (with some hysteresis to avoid it turning on and off too frequently) would be appreciated.
I am a very handy person competent enough to carry out any electrical or plumbing work.

The access to the well is via a very small, shoulder width, hole in the foundation wall (4) so my thinking is that it might be easier to put a second pipe into the well rather than try to mount a pump in there. Space is very limited and I really don't like the spiders I found around the entrance to the well!

Key to my little drawing:

1- Water level when being used.
2- Water level when it overflows.
3- Pump.
4- Entrance to dug well.
5- Drain to outside.
6- Basement floor.

Thanks for reading,
Dennis


The system

Yup, it's old. Those are actual logs holding up the floor. Again, crazy plumbing.

No comments on the plumbing or electrical. It is not my handy work! I will be fixing it all.

Entrance to the well. I can just fit my shoulders in there. Shows the drain to the outside.

Photo of the well in the summer with the water low.

The rather shady foot valve that I need to replace.
 
  #2  
Old 01-16-23, 05:17 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 9,745
Received 1,210 Upvotes on 1,098 Posts
Quite the set up there.

Really what you have is a conventional basement drain system (in reverse) that needs to evacuate the water in the sump (well) as the water level rises. A conventional sump pump with a float switch would work, simple, reliable, inexpensive.

What has to be worked out is how to install something that is designed to sits on the bottom of the pit and now will have to be hung in the shaft. Is access possible?
 
  #3  
Old 01-16-23, 01:22 PM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 27,941
Received 2,222 Upvotes on 1,983 Posts
Yea, you may have to hang a submersible pump. Make sure you account for the torque when the motor starts and stops as it can a fair bit. Also make sure your float switch can't catch or snag on anything in the well. You can also attach the pump and switch to a framework that gets lowered into the well. Of course everything should have a safety line to prevent loosing things into the well and be very careful when working around the well.
 
  #4  
Old 01-16-23, 08:08 PM
F
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 5
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Marq1 and Pilot Dane, yes that is what I was thinking but access is not easy and so fixing a pump in there is going to be tricky. If I drop anything or slide in myself, that would be it...

What sort of pump with separate float switch would I use that would be, reliable, reasonable cost that I could put the pump on the floor so that when the float signals it to pump, it would only ever be lifting water say about a foot. I could dump it's intake as far down as the well pump with it's own foot valve so that it never ends up draining.
Any suggestions on that? It may be as much trouble as trying to securely hang an inexpensive sump pump, ensuring it doesn't spin from its starting torque.

Thanks for your input Marq1 and Pilot Dane.
 
  #5  
Old 01-16-23, 08:12 PM
F
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 5
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Marq1, you ain't seen nothing yet. I will look for a photo of the shower plumbing. I have never seen such a convoluted setup in all my life. Looks like an Escher drawing!
 
  #6  
Old 01-16-23, 09:40 PM
F
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 5
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts

Crazy plumbing! There are two drains here alone. Numerous unnecessary elbows. Nuts. Another drain in the cupboard on the other side of the wall, hidden and open of course. Just to try me!
 
  #7  
Old 01-17-23, 01:41 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 9,745
Received 1,210 Upvotes on 1,098 Posts
What sort of pump with separate float switch
Your talking about a dewatering pump that would sit on the bottom of the well with a remote float vs a conventional sump pump with the float attached that I had in mind.

How deep is the well and how fast is the inflow of water? Deeper you go the lower the volume of water this can put out, it's in the spec sheet.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Zoeller-...caAqavEALw_wcB
 
  #8  
Old 01-20-23, 09:22 PM
F
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 5
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Marq1, your question got me thinking an I think I have solved it myself.
I will get a pump that I will put on the floor next to the well opening. I will put it's inlet pipe down into the well about a metre down. I will install a foot valve so the water in the pipe will not drain. This should be ok as I will never turn the pump on unless the water is a foot from the top and I will have it turn off before it drains to a metre below the top.
That should work. The pump will only ever be dealing with about a metre of head so all should be good.
The flow seems to be slow, a litre or two per minute.
Now I just need a reliable little pump that will work in that application.
 
  #9  
Old 01-21-23, 04:36 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 27,941
Received 2,222 Upvotes on 1,983 Posts
The problem with your idea is sitting long periods without use. Placing the pump above the water level and using a foot valve REQUIRES that the foot valve seal perfectly to preserve the pump's prime. This can work if you use is somewhat regularly but it will need periodic attention to insure that it will work when you need it. If you go this route make sure you locate the pump where you can prime it in the dark during a storm.

For your situation you really want a submersible pump. They can sit dry for years but still work reliably when needed. You can still use part of your plan by not using a float switch. That would require you to manually turn on the pump when needed. Another huge benefit of the submersible pump is it can drain when not used. No water means no freezing concerns. If you add a float switch (highly recommended) it can operate unattended.
 
frostyfriday voted this post useful.
  #10  
Old 01-21-23, 05:02 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 9,745
Received 1,210 Upvotes on 1,098 Posts
I will install a foot valve so the water in the pipe will not drain.
Your referring to a check valve, that is what holds the water in the pipe to keep the pumped primed.

In theory it should work, but I agree with PD it's not fool proof and the submersible/dewatering pump would offer more reliability. All that you would have to do is drop that pump to the bottom with poly sprinkler pipe and attach the float to the wall at the height you want to maintain. Would be a simple installation!

Assuming the depth is workable, if that is too deep your option may be needed!
 
frostyfriday voted this post useful.
  #11  
Old 01-26-23, 06:37 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,556
Upvotes: 0
Received 285 Upvotes on 260 Posts
Here are the magic numbers (magic levels) you need to deal with.

A -------- basement floor
.
.
B -------- basement perimeter drain pipe top
C -------- sump pump turn on
D -------- basement perimeter drain pipe bottom
.
E -------- foundation footing bottom
.
. sump pump hysteresis zone
.
F -------- sump pump turn off
.
. well draw down capacity
.
G -------- well is dry level
H -------- well bottom

You need two pumps because there are two criteria for pumping the well: (1) to get water to use, and (2) to keep the water level down so as not to flood the basement. I use the term sump pump for the second criterion although any kind of pump that will work in a sanitary fashion can be used

(You could get away with one pump but you need a complex control system to turn the pump on and off. )

You can get a separate sump pump switch assembly with hysteresis (separate turn on and turn off levels) to be suspended in the well. The sump pump can sit on the floor next to the well provided it can suck an unprimed pipe. (The theoretical sucking distance of an unprimed pipe is about thirty feet down to the water.)

In order to get the hysteresis (spread) for starting and stopping the sump pump you have to sacrifice some of the well drawdown capacity. Twenty gallons between C and F should be sufficient to prevent excessive sump pump cycling.

The water level in a "shallow" (under 30 foot) well after no usage for several hours is the water table. This level varies from week to week and maybe even from day to day. This level rises when it rains and drops during drought. This level can be different in the back yard compared with the front yeard. If the water table rises above basement floor level you get basement flooding. The purpose of a perimeter drain and sump pump system is to artificially lower the water table near the house but moving away from the house the water table slopes back up to where it would be without the sump pump system.

Choosing level C to be above level B or too close to level A can lead to unexpected basement flooding during sudden or long rain storms.


 
frostyfriday voted this post useful.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: