View Full Version : Dig your own well----Well, can you?

10-22-2006, 07:27 PM
Ok, I've seen those small drilling rigs that claim you can dig your own well.

Has anyone used one of these things? If so, did it work for you? How much did it cost you?

10-22-2006, 08:54 PM
I helped a friend hand dig a well. We hand dug down so far then dropped a few rings to make it safer when we got down 10 or 12 feet. We hit water at about 15 feet,

10-25-2006, 07:33 AM
It all depends on your location. If your soil is full of rocks, forget it.

We've got an old original "Hydra-Drill" - it's absolutely worthless in the rocks of the Ozark Mountains.

10-25-2006, 09:28 PM
i can with a pick and shovel


10-26-2006, 09:38 AM


;) Ozarkguy


10-28-2006, 10:41 PM
It will all depend on the type and depth of the soil where you live. Remember that if you don't go deep enough there is a chance your water will be vulnerable to contamination. In Michigan the minimum depth for a well casing is 25 ft. At that depth it's cold enough to prevent bacteria growth.
Anything shallower than that, and you won't want to use it as a drinking water source unless you put in a uv light, and constantly test to make sure it's safe.

As far as I've seen, these 'do it yourself' well rigs are fairly flimsy, and will not work if you have hardpan or stones. Check the well logs for the area around you so you know what your lithology is before you start.

I've seen a lot of 'do it yourself' wells go bad, collapse, or otherwise be a nightmare. It might be best to bite the bullet and hire a professional for drilling the well. You could still save by putting in your own pump and developing the well yourself.

11-18-2006, 06:37 PM
"developing the well yourself?"

What does that mean?

It seems the more I learn the more things I find I need to learn.

11-18-2006, 08:18 PM
The well I had drilled a year ago ran $6,000. It went to 220' thru basalt, noooo way to hand dig that! It came in low flow at about 5gpm, sold it befor we put the pump in or cleaned it so don't know how it would test out.
Sounds like a lot of money but if you need a well that is very deep its worth it. Only took them a couple of days too.


04-21-2007, 09:59 PM
hi everyone , my well is 805 feet deep . the first
300 feet are rock ; then came a 100 feet cave ;
then more rock . it cost just under $ 9,000 .
i'm glad i didn't try to hand dig it .

04-26-2007, 11:13 AM
We "dug" our own well w/a jackhammer that we rented w/a special fitting for the well point.We had a friend come and "witch"it.He used a forked branch off our petelca tree.It was exactly where and how deep he said.27 feet.He found another aquafer thats by the garden,some day we'll do that one to.

04-26-2007, 07:03 PM
I looked into a hydra-drill, but as Ozarks-1 said, if you have rocks, it won't do the job. If your water table is fairly close to the surface, you might consider a driven well. Here is a link:

We also used a douser (she didn't want to be called a water witch!) and she called the depth of both veins we hit with great accuracy. She used a forked peach branch, but held one fork in her teeth with the other on her chest with the end sticking out straight ahead. The strong vein pulled the false teeth right out of her mouth! She chose the point where two veins crossed.

Her belief was that God gives at least one child in each family the ability to find water because it's needed for life.

10-04-2008, 06:08 AM
For what it's worth, I grew up drilling wells. You need to get down into the rock and set the casing in the rock to cut off all ground water. Any ground water really isn't safe to drink in this day and time.
As far as drilling in rock, I have drilled a few wells that I went through layers of rock so hard I only cut 3-4' per day for several days in a row. And that is with a churn drill raising and dropping the tools which were 22' of solid 4" steel with the bit on the end.
If you want water for irrigation one of the Hydro Drills will more than likely hit a ground water stream before it hits the rock or just as it does, but as I said, I would not drink it nor give it to live stock of any kind. It is too much pollution in the air that gets washed into the ground when it rains.
But again, if you only wanted it to water your garden with, it would be a great solution, even if you had a deep well for drinking water. I am in Virginia and most of the time we hit rock between 40-60 feet.
It takes a lot less power to raise water from 40-60 feet than it does several hundred feet.
You could pump 10 times as much water from a 50' well as you could a 500' well with the same amount of electricity, and we all know, gardens love water.

10-04-2008, 10:29 AM
Gosh, Crafty2002, I am glad that you signed on! We have an old well pipe on the back hill. It has a stick in it about 10 feet long that stays wet at the bottom end. How hard is it to restart a well that has been let go? The pipe still seems good, but all of the other stuff is long gone. Even the cement cistern nearby is cracked and shattered, full of blown-in sand, and useless... but I'm thinking I could restart it, put up a windmill and put in a trough.

Sorry to co-opt the blog, but I needed to know. You can PM me if you like so I don't mess with this blog any more. I agree with you on most groundwater, but our water table here is very close, runs through miles of sand, and is still pretty pure.

10-05-2008, 02:06 PM
Wiley, to start with how large in the casing and how deep is the well??? The first thing I would do it measure to see how deep it is. You can tie a large nut to a string line like they use for block work and drop it down until you feel the slack in it (kinda like feeling for the bottom when fishing in a boat in a pond) and then measure the string as you pull it out. I don't know where you live but if it is more than 50 feet around here it more than likely is set in rock. I think about 80 feet is the deepest I ever drilled before hitting rock. Mostly 50-60 feet, but I couldn't say for where ever you live. I never drilled out side of Virginia and N.C.
If it has 5 5/8" or 6 1/4" casing, and it's deep enough it may be well worth the time and cost. Especially what it cost to get a well drilled these days.
The cheapest way you can clean a well out is with a mud pump. Most rental places rent what they call around here as "mud pumps" or "diaphragm pumps". They will pump sand and small debri's off the bottom of the well and if there is enough water coming in it will clean the well after a while. Actually if there is enough water coming in they will clean a well pretty fast. And "IF" the bottom of the well is rock and the casing is seated good you may get a good well.
However if the casing isnt seated good in rock you will still get ground water as well as dirt and sand back in the well and it won't be potable but it could still be good for a garden and maybe livestock also for a good while if you keep the pump 10-15' off the bottom.
The second, but more costly way is to have a well driller clean it out and reseat the casing. "DO NOT GET AN AIR RIG". Find someone with a churn drill if you have to mopve heaven and hell. If they set an air rig up "THEY ARE" going to drill several hundred feet in a day, charge you up the yang yang, go home and take a few days off for fishing or hunting, on your money.
I still know well drillers and they drill one well a week. Make people wait while they go fishing or hunting or jet skiing or what ever. That's why I got out of drilling. After the air rigs came into play they were all just ripping people off and that just ain't me.
On the other hand, a churn driller earns his money. He will probably do it in a day but he works for his pay. He will set up and drop the tools and drill for a FEW MINUTES AND THEN BAIL IT OUT TO GET WHAT WAS DOWN THERE OUT. That is when he will decide if you need to go deeper.
According to what you want the water for, he may decide it is OK and you won't have a problem with it for 5-10 years before it needs cleaning out again. In that case, he will probably charge you 2-300 bucks.
If you want drinkable water and he sees it isn't, he'll drill some more and probably cut the ground water off by adding and driveing more casing down.
That is when "YOU" have to make the choice. If he cuts off the ground water looking for another vein, it may be 10 feet deeper or it may be 100 or more before you get any more water. And there is the chance he won't hit water again.
Most churn drillers will tell you up front what they will charge to clean a well out. But that doesn't include more than a few feet of drilling and resetting the casing a few feet. Anything over that few feet will be an extra cost per foot. I am not even sure what they are chargeing now days.
Last I heard it was about 8-9 bucks a foot but with fuel going up I am sure that has also.
If you will measure the casing and the depth of the well I might be able to help you some more, that is if this helped.
Also, you can regrout the top of the well to seal it back up and that will help a lot as far as ground water getting in.
To do that dig up all the "dead" concrete and repour it. I will also help a lot if you add a couple of feet of pipe above ground and berm up a bank around it and just plant grass so the water runs off the bank and not into the well.
You can PM me if you care. I haven't figured out how to yet, LOL.

10-05-2008, 03:04 PM
Some good advice, but a lot depends on your situation. Our well is a naturally occurring spring. Lucky for us.

There are some excellent articles on BHM about developing water, looking for springs or subterranian water close to the surface and digging wells. Here's a link:
There are other articles concerning this topic, but many are not available on-line.


10-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Thank you, Dennis! That is a HUGE help!
(PS to PM someone, click on their name. When their homepage comes up, it says 'send--- a message' and you can click on that and send a PM.
Or you can go to the top of any page and click on your "welcome --- you have -- msgs" msg which will take you to your home page to recieve any mesgs.
Took me awhile, too. ;D

11-01-2008, 03:14 AM
Ok, I've seen those small drilling rigs that claim you can dig your own well.
Has anyone used one of these things? *If so, did it work for you? *How much did it cost you?

Using the old “Impact” technology you could use your cement mixer to “Drill Your Own Water Well For $400.00!”

I have purchased this information and have really enjoyed it !

I have purchased other products from this online vendor that have proven to be well worth the money!


Otter Bob

11-18-2008, 12:26 PM
We did dig a sand point well a couple of years ago. We have very high water tables here with a granite ledge running beneath. We only had to go down 20 ft. We did not register it but did self testing through extension. It is potable although we don't use it except for garden. We do use it for watering critters since they are near the garden. We don't use it during the winter but we could if necessary. It is in our garage.

We also have a deep well for the house. That is registered with the state. Minnesota periodically has talked about regulating all wells. That is scary but they don't know about our garden well and we can hide it if necessary.


09-29-2009, 10:43 PM
We drilled a well on our property to 380 feet, and the water has so much chloride in it that we can't drink it.

So we get our drinking water from this spring up the hill, which dates back to the Revolutionary war:


I recently started digging out a second spring. Down to about six feet so far, and waiting for some pre-cast concrete rings to line it with. Water bubbles up out of the sand at the bottom at a good rate, and if I let it settle for a couple days, it's crystal clear and ice cold:


10-15-2009, 06:50 PM
On my rural land its quite possible, cause there were dug wells in the past. I'd probably have to hire someone to do it though or maybe my two ig and strong grown sons would lend a hand it the time ever comes for that. The hills on my land are filled with sand.


10-15-2009, 08:46 PM
Just make sure that if it is going to be where anyone outside your family can see it, you may want to check with your county on the regulation. Even states and counties with little to no zoning will most likely have regulations on ground water, i.e. wells and who can and cannot dig or drill them and how they are to be constructed.


10-15-2009, 08:53 PM
Even if the nanny state won't allow a new dug well, it's probably legal to repair an old dug well. They wouldn't want it to be unsafe, would they? I bet if you look closely you can find the remains of an old dug well... ;)

10-16-2009, 07:58 AM
On my rural land its quite possible, cause there were dug wells in the past. I'd probably have to hire someone to do it though or maybe my two ig and strong grown sons would lend a hand it the time ever comes for that. The hills on my land are filled with sand.


Judy, make sure you have someone around who knows what they're doing to hand dig a well. Especially if they're going through sand. That soil isn't stable. You sure don't want the well to cave in on the person down in the hole. Not saying it can't be done, but proper safety precautions have to be taken.


10-16-2009, 08:40 AM
We had a spot on our property that was always wet. So I dug a test hole, and hit a spring:


I bought pre-cast concrete rings. They cost $55 each.


We used a tractor to stack them. We dug from the inside and they settled deeper.


Now we have nine one-foot-high rings stacked. Only six of them are below grade, so it's a shallow well. Because of some big rocks, I think that's as far as we can go. But clear, cold water is bubbling up at a good rate.


Next I plan to rent a hammer drill and masonry bit, drill a hole through the side of one of the concrete rings, bury 100' of black poly water pipe, and pipe the water downhill to a cabin I'm working on.

10-17-2009, 12:21 AM
Looks like very good workmanship, Oblio. While your method of digging it has been outlawed here in Michigan, your final result looks very much like one of our augered wells - that cost almost sixty bucks a foot to put in, since there's only one guy licensed to do it. Are you going to put in a submersible pump? Or run by gravity?

10-17-2009, 08:08 AM
.... Or run by gravity?

Just gravity. I'll bury the pipe, and have it come out near the cabin, just splashing on some rocks. Shouldn't freeze if it runs all winter.

10-17-2009, 08:40 AM
Just my 2-cents, but I'd bring it to some type holding/collection area near the cabin for ease of use. That's so you wouldn't have to wait for the flow to fill a bucket to water plants, for example. Could be as simple as a blue plastic barrel buried, to near ground level, with an opening in the side for overflow onto those rocks you mentioned. (Removable cover) Or, much larger and more elaborate, considering the equipment you have at your disposal. ie small spring fed pond.

Again, just 2-cents.


10-17-2009, 09:19 AM
The cabin is right on the shore of a big pond, so I'll have unlimited water. I just wanted to dig out the spring for two reasons:

1. To have spring water for drinking rather than having to boil or purify pond water.

2. To help dry out the muddy spot around the spring by piping the water away.

The cabin is being built where the tent is pitched in this pic:


Here's the view looking out from the cabin site:


10-17-2009, 09:44 AM
Yep! I'd say you have plently of easily accessable water. :) That's a beautiful location for a cabin.

Consider bringing the water right into the cabin. (Please have it tested to make sure it is indeed safe.) I know there are some how-to's, just can't remember them right now off the top of my head. Getting old, I guess. :sad:

Would sure beat having to trudge through snow and rain to get a bucket of water. I grew up on a farm using well water drawn with a bucket and chain and later a hand pump. Sure wasn't fun in the wintertime.


10-17-2009, 10:31 AM
... Consider bringing the water right into the cabin....

I'm trying to keep things simple. Don't want to have to worry about freezing pipes. I'd rather walk outside with a bucket than fuss with winterizing every time I visit during cold weather.