Recovering an old well .....
We discovered a brick-lined well on the property of our 1860's farmhouse. The family who owned the property remembers there being a hand pump on top of it at one point many years back. I'm trying to decide what to do with it now. Here are the specifics; the well is 4' wide and 33' deep. Regardless of conditions, time of year, etc. there is always 3' to 4' of water sitting in it. It is cool, clear, clean, no ordor, etc. I tossed a trash pump down with a 2" fire hose connected to it and ran it for 15 minutes at about 10 gallons a minute before it started sucking air. After it rested for 10 minutes, I pumped another 60 gallons out of it before it got tired. With this being said; what can I use the well for ??? Will it produce enough water to water the lawns with ??? Would I be better off going back to an old style hand pump and use it for small watering tasks, etc. An 1860's map of the area shows springs surrounding the property. Any thoughts at all would be appreciated. Thank you !!!
If You Want to Use the Well
At 33 ft deep with 3 or 4 ft of water, you have about 30 ft of lift. That is too much for reliable operation with a shallow well jet at the top of the well.
Most inexpensive sump pumps don't have enough head to give you any useful pressure if they even have enough to get over the top of the well. High pressure ejector pumps are serious overkill for both flow and $$$$$$.
My engineered solution, given your 4 ft diameter well and apparent capacity of maybe 6 gallons per minute, would be to hang a 1/2 HP shallow well jet pump about 10 to 15 feet down in the well (Maximum 20 ft or so above the water, lower is better). Use a 1 1/4 suction line with a foot valve, and a 1" poly discharge line. Make provision for priming from the top.
You can make a little rig to let the pump down from the top without having to climb into the well. Put the pump on a wooden base and suspend the base from three separated lines to a suspension point about 5 ft above the base. That will keep it from tipping due to unbalances. When you balance it, keep in mind that the pipes will be full of water after it starts to run. If you sling it right you can let it down with a single rope.
Put a secure but vented cover on the well to keep the pump as dry as possible, but the heat from running it ocassionally should protect the motor.
Since it is a low capacity well, I would put a float switch in the bottom of the well to shut off when the water goes low (Get a Normally Open "load duty" switch; USA BlueBook 47709 or 47710, 800-548-1234). You can put a weight on it, or buy one with a weight if available, so you can install and adjust it from the top of the well.
If you use a pressure tank, I suggest taking the pressure switch off the motor and putting it outside the well, connected in series with the float switch. It will be so much easier to adjust float and pressure levels.