View Full Version : Drilling well

08-31-2012, 12:56 PM
Does anyone have experience with drilling their own well? Another fellow and myself have given some thought to drilling a well with DeepRock hydra-drill. Does anyone have experience with this unit? Thanks, Charlie

09-02-2012, 01:58 AM
I have not used that specific unit, but my experience (hypothetical experience, in a jurisdiction which would allow drilling your own well, of course), is that adequate water flow is the biggest problem. I (hypothetically) trashed two water pumps before making 30ft in reasonably soft soil, and the planned depth was 40ft, but I decided to set casing when the second pump seized... You'll want to buy the proper mud pump, not try to re-purpose a trash or fire pump.

Do some research on your soil and depth to good water. Rock is very, very difficult with any person-portable rig. Even just in 30ft of clay/gravel, I wore about 1/4" off the steel bit I made up. Rock requires carbide bits, and to function effectively, they need more downforce than any portable unit can provide. They'll probably work, just not very well. If you have hard rock, plan on many days of tedious work, and a lot of money thrown down the hole buying bits. If you need a deep well in hard rock, find someone with a heavy-duty full-size truck rig, as you likely won't make it with a portable unit. If you're unsure of your terrain, ask neighbors how drilling their well went (depth, if they remember what the installer had to drill through, quality of water, does it dry up in summer, etc), or check with whatever state or local agency keeps track of well reports.

Swivels are a constant problem. Mine ended up with, as my helper dubbed them, "loin clothes" on the joints to catch the spray...

Unless you're planning on a well shallow enough to use a suction pump, plan on 3" or 4" casing. According to the hydradrill website, the default package will only drill a large enough hole for 2" casing, and 2" pumps are pretty much non-existent.

Drilling a well requires lots of water. If you don't have a stream or an existing well, talk to neighbors are buying some water from them for a few days, or get quotes on a couple truckloads delivered. Even with recirculating the mud, you might use a few hundred gallons an hour, on top of whatever it took to fill your settling pits.

Losing drillstring or drilling a dry well is always a possibility, and you should make sure you have the financial reserves to drill another well if needed.

Those are all the generic "before purchasing a rig" things I can think of... I'm sure I'm missing some, but oh well. :)


09-04-2012, 02:34 PM
BushyTails: Thankyou for your input. I have been doing more reasearch into the local water tables & well depths. Like you have said it is a huge undertaking. I am told that there is limestone rock about 40 or so feet down. This would leave me with a shallow well if I can drive a point & a whole lot of work if I have to go deeper. The price per/foot is prohibative in the area, that is out of my budget for this property. Lots of thinking to do here. Thank you again for the advice. Charlie

09-04-2012, 02:56 PM
See if any of your neighbors have had luck with a shallow well. Limestone could be (relatively) easy or very hard depending on how porous it is, and I don't know enough to make any guesses there. If you have to go under it to find water, you'll need to know how thick it is, too.


09-04-2012, 05:25 PM
I wonder if adding vinegar to the drilling water would help in drilling through the limestone?

I've been watching this thread for ideas. My land is such that there's no way to get a truck to the most promising well sites, and while there is a stream on the property it would need to be pumped quite a ways uphill in order to be usefull, so I'm looking for alternatives.

There is a spot that looks like it has water quite close to the surface, so I'm toying with the idea of seeing what kind of well I could dig with just me and my shovel. During the worst of the drought, when everything was dead and brown, there was this perfect circle of lush green grass, just 10 feet up the hill from where I'm digging my house foundation.

10-31-2012, 01:24 AM
Although I have no experience with it myself, I saw a guy drill multiple wells with a hydra-drill. I think he had one of their larger models, and he drilled through very hard rock (granite, I think) using a carbide core drill. He was developing a mountainous property in North Carolina, and no drill trucks could get in there. He dug small ponds at each drill site and pumped water uphill to each homesite, then he drilled and drilled--it took him forever, but it worked fine. Me, I'm not patient enough to do it. He had recently retired and had nothing else to do.

11-02-2012, 04:35 AM
Does anyone have experience with drilling their own well? Another fellow and myself have given some thought to drilling a well with DeepRock hydra-drill. Does anyone have experience with this unit? Thanks, Charlie
Generally they are actually worthless when drilling in rock.

Since water is the number one thing you need to survive, the most important thing on your property is that well. Hire a well driller. If you can get your car or pickup into the area, then you surely can get a well drilling rig in there. Most well drillers I know also will douse and find where the water is so you don't end up with a dry hole.

If you can get water in the limestone, then that's good. I have always thought the limestone wells have the best flavored water.

11-08-2012, 03:18 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice and knowledge. Because of the remoteness of the site I am left with more questions than answers at this moment.

At this point I am left with some sort of passive purification process and rain water properly treated to give me drinking water. I am going to keep looking for a solution that will fit long term needs. I have been recently looking into a tri-pod and drop hammer type rig. I understand it is very labor intensive and slow. This being said I am also told it works in situations such as mine. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, recoilless

11-11-2012, 08:27 PM
I owned a well drilling business some years back, what we used was an old pounder rig to drill wells with. Our first 30 to 40' went fairly fast, then you get into bed rock. It's a very slow process, the stem we were using weighed over 1500 lbs. Once you get down 20 to 30' you will have some water coming in, you won't have to put water from an out side source. As your drilling, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP REAMING OUT THE HOLE WITH YOUR DRILL CABLE. It can get stuck, you will also need to bail out your well to remove the sediment from drilling. A pipe with a trip valve on the bottom will work for your baler, as you stated that around 40' you get to lime stone. This is the distance that our grandparent had their wells hand dug to, the board of heath states that it is not good enough for human consumption. I can only tell you that I wouldn't drink it unless it was purified, reverse osmosis if you could find 1 to fit your budget. You still will have to have well casing and some sort of a lift pump to get your water, just more for you to think about. You can build a tripod to get to the lime stone, you will need water no matter how you do it. And it will be very slow going, wish I had some better news for you.

11-12-2012, 02:10 PM
Thanks Mike1206: I won't say that I have grown use to bad news. I can only say that I have had my share of opertunities and challenges. That being said I shall proceed with caution. Thanks for the heads up and input. It does sound like a daughting task to undertake. I feel safe to say that nothing in this life comes without its dues.

Looking for that wiggle room. Cheers, recoilless_57mm