Considering Options To Deal With A Low Yield Well [Archive] - - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information

: Considering Options To Deal With A Low Yield Well

05-06-2005, 10:34 AM
Not sure if this is the right spot to post this. Maybe we need a plumbing section? Or we already have one and I missed it as usual. :bump9:

I discovered the hard way that the well to the ranch house we are moving into has a capacity of about 150 to 200 before promptly running the pump dry. Only reason I found this out is that I was testing the capacity of output (gallons per minute) prior to attempting to run my pressure washer (which requires 4 gpm) on the well. I cut the circuit breaker off ASAP. After an about 2 hours the well recharged enough for normal operation.

So far I have figured on plumbing the well into a 1,000 cement cistern tank in the ground next to the well. From there, I plan to install a submersible pump which will pump water from the cistern tank to a Wellextroll WS350 119 gallon pressure blatter storage tank, through a filter and back into the house. The well does not have anywhere near the capacity to fill the cistern tank all at once and I plan to install a well pump timer box that will allow me to adjust the run times and off times for well recharge to keep the cistern tank full utilitizing high shut off and low demand float switches. To protect the well pump I will install a electric current sensing well pump safety shut off switch.

I talked with the guy who drilled and plumbed the well about drilling deeper but he said we would hit sulphur water. I asked about hydrocracking the well but he said that it is risky and can ruin the well in some cases.

Any helpfull ideas, suggestions, or comments would be welcome as this situation will have to be addressed VERY soon with 4 women living in the ranch house. :fing20: :trink40: ROF

05-06-2005, 11:48 AM
Chief -

Your plan seems to be pretty sound except for the size of the cistern tank. I think your minimum size should be 1500 gallons with 2000 gallons being more the ideal size. You could run a 1000 gallon tank dry in short order especially during peak useage times (i.e., morning showers, cooking, washing clothes, etc.). The larger tank will also allow you to use a "manual only" pump in the well. That way the well pump will only run when you want it to and prevent mud from being pumped into the cistern by accident. A timer on the well pump could malfunction and leave the well pump running until you caught it. Of course the pump from the cistern to the bladder should run automatically.

I live on a well system (well to bladder to house, and yard) and my well gives me a steady 11 gallons per minute. It's 350' deep. I'm no expert but I've learned from those around me that the worst thing you can have happen is to keep pumping when your well runs dry. It will quickly clog and render your pump useless. That's why your well pump should be manual so as not to accidently pump mud into the cistern. I guess you might think a 1500 gallon to 2000 gallon cistern water tank is too much capacity but believe me you'll be surprised how fast water gets used up.

Just a little food for thought. If you have a Septic system, is it big enough to accomodate 5 people using it constantly? You ought to have at least a 800 gallon septic tank or you might be faced with having to have it pumped on a regular basis.

Last thought. Don't mess with your well. Even if you could go deeper for better water, any number of things could happen that would be terrible (i.e., hit a pocket and dump the well and have to drill another, etc.).

Oh, if possible make the pump that pumps from the cistern into the bladder a 120 volt pump. That way you can run the pump during power outages with a small generator and be able to have water.


05-06-2005, 12:01 PM
One thing I would do if this well has sat for any length of time is stir it up. Run a garden hose down inside the casing and pump the water back into the well to get the sediment moving. When the water gets turbid pump it out and let the well recover. If you do this four or five times there is a good chance you will increase the flow of the well and improve the quality of the water.

05-06-2005, 12:12 PM
Thanks for the fast reply Ed! The reason I am going with the 1,000 gallon cistern is that the previous owner purchased it and had it set in the ground next to the well casing. I agree, I would go much bigger if I had to buy one. The well drilling guy says it is a 2,000 cement tank but the previous owner says 1,000. I am also considering adding a second WS350 Wellextroll pressure tank in the house if demand frequently exceeds the capacity of the cistern and tank in the garage shop. Between the capacity of the well (which I estimate at about 100 to 150 gallons), the cistern which worst case is 1,000 gallons, the pressure tank which holds 119 gallons(of which the bladder can push out about 35 gallons), and if needed; a second 119 gallon tank; that should give me around 1,200 to 1,300 gallons to draw from.

The well has NO sediment or mud in it, or at least not so the pump can pull it up. Evidently this well has been run dry on several occasions and when it ran dry on me; not one bit of mud, muddy water or anything came out of the hose prior to running dry. It just quite cold and was running clear water.

I agree with you about keeping things manual but in this case, the well does not have the immediate capacity to fill the cistern without running dry. It must be placed on a timer to allow the well to recharge as I suspect it can safely run about 100 to 150 gallons at a time and even that might be pushing it a bit.

The septic tank is a 750 gallon tank so I expect to have to pump it periodically. It is not too difficult to get at now that I have found it and know exactly where to dig.

I was thinking the same thing as you about the 120 volt pumps and being able to run them on my generator if required.

Again thanks for your thoughts........ gave me some good ideas to consider! :fing32:

05-06-2005, 12:14 PM
One thing I would do if this well has sat for any length of time is stir it up. Run a garden hose down inside the casing and pump the water back into the well to get the sediment moving. When the water gets turbid pump it out and let the well recover. If you do this four or five times there is a good chance you will increase the flow of the well and improve the quality of the water.

Another VERY good idea I had not thought of Slip! :fing02: Very economical to boot. Thank you! Will give that a try also.

05-06-2005, 02:53 PM
What's the big deal about sulpher?? Just use an aerator!!

05-06-2005, 03:04 PM
Before I started selling farm equipment I worked for Joe Samples well drilling as a pump installer, and when we ran into this problem we first put what they call a pumptec in. A pumptec is simply a insurance plan on your well running dry. It will sense when you pumping dry and it iwll automatically cut everything off. The 2 options you have is like you said, either put in a holding tank or dig deeper. I personally would dig deeper, whoever told you that you would hit sulphur does not know that for sure. There is no exact depth that sulphur occurs. It could be a 40' or never. All he can judge by is maybe some of your local neighbors and if they have sulphur. If you plan on living in this house with a family I would really suggest digging and if you do hit sulphur you can do many things to eliminate it. EX. you could put in a chlorinator (makes your water smell like chlorine) or you could put in a peroxide type (no smell). Any questoins just let me know.

05-06-2005, 04:06 PM

You've got several good replies but my first question is... what kind of pump do you have and what is its' pumping capacity? Why would you continue to have a pump that is capable of outrunning your well capacity? Why not simply de-rate the pump to match the well? The method will vary depending on whether it is a jet or submersible.

05-06-2005, 07:57 PM
Chief -

I don't know where in TN you live but if it is near a large city, they may have a water company like Sparklets, or whatever. Anyway, they may be able to bring a tanker out to your place with good, clean, potable water for the initial fill of your cistern. Usually it is fairly reasonable as to cost and it would save a lot of work on your well pump.

I've know people to have two bladder tanks. They use one for the kitchen and clothes washer and they use the other for the bathrooms (showers/tubs, toilets, etc.).


05-06-2005, 08:07 PM
I have a sulphur smell in my well water and its easily removed but city water is just too cheap so we rarely use the well anymore.

Hey, you can always run a sluiceway from that creek to your back porch.......;-)

05-06-2005, 10:19 PM
I also have a low valume well. I have one of those pumptec's and its AWSOME. saves the pump for sure. I never realy have a problem though unless I am useing the hose a lot. It runs dry fast, but refresses fast also. BTW its only about 45' deep.

05-07-2005, 12:34 AM
I agree with Gwill on pump capacity. You won't hurt either a jet or submersible by installing a gate valve between pressure tank and cistern and closing it down slowly until well inflow can keep up with pump.If you have a jet pump, close down gate valve enough so pump can cycle, giving it an occasional rest period. I would also install a pumptec for extra pump protection due to lack of water in well. If this works well, then install a float switch in cistern to cut power to pump when cistern is full.
Hope this helps,

05-07-2005, 12:39 AM
Sorry Chief, I re-read your thread and you had already covered everything but the gate valve.

05-07-2005, 10:30 AM
Not that this will remedy your problem or that I would recomend it, but years back on my grandfather place when his well would slow down or his septic tank / cesspool (big pit lined with rock and brick, not the typical concrete septic tank) he would use a portion of a stick of dynamite, lower it down into the well / cesspool and touch it off, and the shock would again loosen up any sediment etc and it would be like new again.......I am not all that familiar with wells per se, but I assume hydrocracking does the same thing without the use of explosives.........just bumps or jars the well to loosen up any debri and sediment using water power......right?

I sure do not envy you........4 females in the same house and runing out of water........that could get pretty bad if one of them can't wash her hair or do the laundry and misses out on a date! Better start on the sluiceway just incase!

05-07-2005, 11:15 AM
For the time being, I have made arrangments to have a PumpTech installed on the well. I am working with the well driller who has some medical problems and will try to do as much of the work for the cistern as possible. Just have to play it by ear.