Wells & Pumps
Supplying water to meet people’s needs is the general purpose of a well. There are also other uses for a well; such as returning water into the ground from geothermal heating, and using the warmth of ground water for geothermal heating. Wells are necessary when central water is not available; however, wells cannot be used for domestic use where central water is available. The exception to the rule being, wells can be used for irrigation and other non-domestic uses where central water is available.
The Well Drilling Process
The process begins with drilling a hole deep into the ground. While drilling, (mud rotary style), we look at the soil that is coming up out of the ground. The soil coming up out of the ground tells us where and how much water is located at that depth underground. The soil coming up can also tell us about the quality of water located at that depth. Once we locate a depth that produces enough water without any signs of quality issues, (if possible), we stop the drilling process. Upon finding acceptable water, we sink a piece of pipe to the bottom of the hole. The piece of pipe, called a well screen, has very thin machined slots in the pipe that allow water to flow inside the pipe. These slots are designed to allow a certain amount of water into the pipe while keeping sand and stones out. We then extend solid pipe to the surface of the well. We install small diameter gravel all the way around and up the entire section of well screen.
The Well Water Gravel Filter
The gravel serves as a filter to keep dirt and sand out of the well screen. We install grout around the well to prevent any surface contamination. Grout seals off the hole around the pipe, so that surface contaminants do not find their way down the hole around the outside of the well casing. We usually do not have a problem finding water on Delmarva, however, the area is known for having several water quality issues. Iron, nitrates, and sulfur issues are the the most common. As well driller’s, we use a database of all previous wells and well depths, along with other resources, to try and anticipate what type of water quality issues to expect.
The Well Pump
A well needs a pump to get the water above ground. We utilize many types of pumps, tanks, and fittings to get the water out. We have two basic styles of pumps for water wells. Suction pumps are trending to be antiquated, due to their lack of reliability, when compared to submersible pumps. Suction pumps sit above the water table and pull the water out of the well like a straw. Then, the pump pushes the water to the house/source demanding the water. Submersible pumps sit inside the well as they push the water to the house/source.
Once we have water flowing to the house/source, we generally install a water expansion tank. Water tanks have a lining inside of them and the tank has air pressure inside. When water enters the tank, the air pressure creates water storage under pressure. When the tank fills up to capacity, the pressure builds up to the point where the pressure switch turns the pump off. When the house/source uses water, it comes from the water tank until the pressure drops low enough to activate the pump. We do not want the water pump coming on everytime the kitchen sink is used. So if you turn the sink on for just a second, the water comes from the water already stored in the tank instead of the pump. This prevents the pump from turning on and off rapidly. The other purpose of a water tank is to ensure that when the pump does come on when not needed and that it runs for the minimum amount of time.
There are many ways to design a system and its components to extract water from the well. We do everything we can to put pump hookup packages of all styles, efficiency, and demand within our client’s budgets.