Did you know......
Commonly asked questions:
Q:” I am purchasing a house/property with a well; do I need to have it tested?”
A: It is always a good idea to know what you are getting into with a water system or well. The cost to drill a well and install a pump can run into many tens of thousands of dollars; it can be one of the most expensive systems in your home. Knowing that your well will supply enough water - and safe water- is vitally important. Many lending institutions require proof of safe water prior to approving mortgages. We can evaluate your well and determine that it will deliver enough water, and we can have your drinking water laboratory tested to ensure potability.
Q: We are thinking of purchasing property that does not have a well on it. How do we know there is water?
A: There is no guarantee. and that must be remembered! We have been involved with unfortunate customers that purchased property without being able to find water in quantity or that was safe. There are some areas in the Okanogan where there is no water, or what water they have is toxic and undrinkable, as it is contaminated with metals (lead, uranium etc) occurring in the rock formations. The safest bet when considering the purchase of such a property, consult with a hydrogeologist, or at least a reputable well driller. They can use a combination of local knowledge and access to resources to determine if water is likely. ALWAYS have well water tested before purchasing property, even with established wells.
Q: The property we wish to buy has a dug well. Are these safe?
A: Dug wells (surface wells) can be perfectly safe sources of abundant water, but their proximity to the surface, and their openings leave them highly vulnerable to contamination. Furthermore, these sources of water can change dramatically through different seasons. A surface/dug well really should be inspected and evaluated plus we can collect samples for laboratory testing. these types of wells are often the only option for water because the surrounding area may not have deeper aquifers to supply a well. We have extensive experience in the well drilling field and have very good knowledge of areas where water has typically been a problem to find. We have also installed many surface wells and can discuss this option with you.
Q: How do I know how much water my well produces?
The best place to start is with the Well Log. The well driller makes a best guess estimate based upon the water extracted at the time the well was drilled. Sometimes these estimates are way off because deep wells may not allow the full amount of water to be measured. Over time many bedrock wells will produce less water. or well screens in overburden wells can become plugged off. If you have experienced problems with your well producing much less than usual, there are a number of possible explanations. We can help determine the cause. You may find your well’s log on-line if the well was registered by the driller.
Q: “Our well is in a pit outside, is this a good idea?”
A: The short answer is no. Well pits were the early answer to preventing well plumbing from freezing. They are typically awful spider and mold infested holes where humidity quickly corrodes electrical components. They are also at risk for introducing contamination because the well opening is below ground level. Legislation does not allow for wells in pits anymore, except in rare circumstances. We can convert a pitted well into a safe and legal pitless configuration.
Q: How much water do I need?
A: Most families typically need and use less than 500 gallons per day. Even with laundry, dishwashers and bathing, the amount of water a typical family uses is generally not that much. Meaning, anything more than half a gallon per minute is quite adequate. Remember, each foot of water in a 6” diameter well contains about 1.5 US gallons of water, so if there is a column of water above the well pump, that acts like a water reservoir from which you can draw
If you plan to water lawns and gardens, then the need for water can be higher. This does not mean that having a low producing well makes that impossible. Storage tanks or cisterns can be added or installed that fill up from the well when you are not using the well, and act like a reservoir, meaning you can have several hundreds of gallons of water always on hand. These tanks vary greatly in size and can be indoors near your pressure tank, or can even be installed in-ground. Such tanks are typically quite large. We particularly enjoy designing systems that make the most out of low volume wells!
The bottom line is that “low producing” wells can still be completely functional. The best advice, is be prepared to know what you are getting into before purchasing, and the best way to find out is to have a flow test done on the well... that is our specialty!
Q: Do wells produce more or less water over time?
A: Rarely will a well yield more gallons per minute than when it was first established. While most wells if properly used are capable of supplying water for decades, many wells, particularly wells in bedrock, tend to produce less water over time. This can be from mineral build up in fissures and it can be from simply drawing down the water at a rate that is slower than the aquifer replenishes itself. Another common cause is more users drawing from the same aquifer.
Wells that are drawing water from above bedrock may have their screens build up with sediment which reduces the amount of water reaching the well lumen. Sometimes these wells benefit from screen cleaning, but a visual (camera) inspection needs to be undertaken and analyzed before undertaking any attempt at remediation.
Occasionally the reduced water yield is actually due to pumps that are worn and no longer pumping properly.
The only way to know for sure is to consult a well expert (that’s us!) to determine if there are steps that can be taken to identify the cause of decreased well yields.
Sometimes the best and only solution is a new well, but this is a costly step!! You should be making the decision to drill a new well in consultation with an expert. We do not drill wells and therefore have no vested interest in pushing this option. We will give you our expert opinion based on 4 decades in the water well business.
Q: Does my well need to be registered and do I need a license?
Any wells drilled today must be registered. If your well does not have a well plate identification number, and was drilled several years ago, it is likely not registered. There is no requirement to register that well (yet) but it is encouraged. As to licensing, any non-domestic water use now requires a license. If you are irrigating crops, or using water to fill a swimming pool, you must apply for a water use license. This is a controversial issue right now, but failure to do so can result in ridiculous fines. It is also a process that takes a great deal of time.
Q: How much does it cost to test a well to determine how may gallons per minute it produces?
There is no simple answer. It is based upon how long the test must be performed, what equipment will be needed (larger volumes require more specialized equipment) the depth of the well and where you are located. We would be happy to provide you with a quote.
Q: How much is a pump installation?
I know this is the natural first question... The reality is, it depends on many factors such as what the well is to be used for (determines size of pump) the well depth (more depth means larger wire, more/larger pipe and the gauge and type of wire) how much water the well produces, the distance between the the well and the building, the number of hydrants etc. and a number of other factors. We would be MORE THAN HAPPY to discuss these options and help work within your needs.
THERE ARE OPTIONS! The reality is that replacing a well pump is not cheap. That does not mean we are unable to help when your budget is constrained. We will work with you to design a solution that will provide safe clean water. We stand behind our work and the products we install, so to that end, we will not install anything we would not install in our own homes. eBay and tire department stores may have cheap pumps, but if they were a reliable option, we would have bought them... believe me.
Ewwwww...... When replacing a failed pump on a customer's system in the Kamloops area, we encountered a significant amount of gelatinous slime all over the pump, wire and drop pipe. Although this looks disgusting, this is the result of non pathogenic bacteria living in the well, which produce this ‘biofilm’. This type of growth can be very difficult to eradicate; while it is not harmful to people, the slime can build up to the point of clogging pumps and plumbing. Some forms of this slime are associated with “Iron bacteria” and can produce thick rusty red slime.
An example of a “Flowing Artesian” well... a well where water flows above the top of the well under pressure. While these may be seen as ‘hitting the water jackpot’, the reality is these wells can be highly problematic and a real liability if not drilled and sealed correctly. We have extensive experience and expertise in flowing artesian wells and can help with your needs.