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Thread: Dirty water after well pump replacement...

  1. #1

    Question Dirty water after well pump replacement...

    Hi all - I was on this forum last week prior to getting a new well pump and pressure tank and got quite a bit of good input (thanks again BobNH, Speedbump, et al). The new pump install went well (went in Saturday, 12/16) and I'm happy about the new pressure tank. Switched from a too-small Well-X-Trol 202 to a Well-X-Trol 255. Pretty big upgrade. Also switched out a 1/2 HP jet pump with a 1/2 HP Goulds submersible, as well as the plumbing between pump and tank.

    Water pressure is good, pump pressure works great (40/60) and the pump runs infrequently with the new large tank.

    The problem, however, is that my water is dirty. I knew this would be the case, as the guys doing the work told me about it and I read it here on the forums as well. Any thoughts on how long this will last? I've found some larger sediment in my sink screens, but nothing that's too bad. I'm not seeing sand or larger sediment too much, just dirty water.

    This went away on Monday for most of the day, but then the water seems dirty again now (Tuesday). Between then and now, used the dishwasher and the washing machine (I held off until the water cleared up). Wondering if something's wrong besides the new pump install, since the dirty water came back after using a large quantity of water. Could the pump be stirring up sediment? Could there be a well problem?

    Thanks!
    Matt!

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    It sounds like a well problem, like pumping it down too far. A potential problem with the use of a large pressure tank; they cause more water to be taken out of the well all at once as opposed to a smaller amount followed by none and then being repeated.

    Increased pressure such as 40/60 when 30/50 will work just fine except for power washing yer butt... causes more water to be used. That causes more water to be removed from the well all at once. If the well hasn't recovered by the time the pump comes on again, the well is drawn down farther and water quality can suffer.

    Water conservation may be a good idea. Did you have this problem before replacement of the pump?
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  3. #3

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    Hi Gary - I was having a problem of this sort before the pump was replaced. It was a jet pump and not producing proper pressure, i.e. - it would cut off at 50 psi, but then immediately jump back down about 20 psi after that. The result was that the pump ran often and never actually remained at 50 psi except for that split second before cycling off.

    When I first moved into the house, the pump ran often and for short periods of time and there were no problems. That ended a few weeks ago, however. The pump started cycling for longer periods of time but still fairly often even though it had a small tank to fill. The water turned dirty and I had the pressure switch adjusted so that the pump wouldn't run for so long.

    Anyway, the water eventually cleared up, but then I replaced the pump anyway, as it was old and presumably had something to do with the problem of dirty water (and sub-par pressure). The water was dirty again, though I've learned that this is to be expected when installing a new submersible. So when it cleared up after a day or two I thought that was it. Now that it's dirty again, I'm worried that something other than the new pump is causing the problem.

    Anyway, the pump does run for a while to fill that big tank but still, the pump runs very infrequently (maybe 4-5 times per day) and the well yield was over 6 GPM during the first 15 minutes of a yield test and then over 4 GPM thereafter, so I can't imagine how the well is not recovering. Hours go by between cycles.

    The only caveat is that when the washing machine was running perhaps we were also running water elsewhere and it caused the pump to cycle twice in a short period of time. Still, shouldn't I be able to a fair amount of water out of a well that produces 4-6 GPM? Is there any test to determine if there's something wrong with the well or the placement of the pump?

    Thanks,
    Matt

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    You have to remember this new submersible is pulling water faster than the old jet pump could. If they didn't run it off in the yard before hooking it up, you will see a bunch of nasty water. If they did run it off till clear, then it's up to you to remove your aerators from all faucets and open all faucets full blast until the water clears up.

    Unless your well pumps sand, it will clear in time.

    bob...

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    What diameter well do you have?

    A 6" has 1.47 gals/foot of water (in reserve) when the static water level at maximum. A 4" has substantially less water in storage.

    I still think you are using too much water in a short period of time for the well you have. Changing the pump and the rest of whatever hasn't solved the problem or eliminated any of the symptoms of a problem although you have better pressure.

    Which as Speedpump says allows you to use more water even if you don't run the water any longer than before the new pump was installed. And you say maybe more laundry was done... Spread out the laundry with 3-4 hours between loads, or do one load a day instead of 2-4 one after the other. Taking showers instead of baths saves water too.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Yeah when they installed that submersible they should have put a torque arrestor on top and that fitting will scrape the inside of the well as they set it in. They also should have chlorinated the well and that will oxidize alot of your minerals in the water. The more water you run the faster it will clear up. Whenever somone is home have them run outside faucets for a good period of time and monitor the clarity of the water. I have customers that had to run there water periodically for a couple of weeks before theirs cleared up.

    What size pump was installed and how deep was it set??

    SAM

  7. #7

    Unhappy

    Thanks Speedbump - just wondering, however, if opening three faucets is eventually going to drain the well to the point that the pump is no longer submerged (or barely submerged)? As I noted, the well produces 4.25-6 GPM, with the lower number being the sustainable level after it's run for 15-20 minutes. I don't know how much water is being pulled with 3 faucets open, but in looking at the pressure gauge while they are running, it's sitting at 40psi and looks like it will slowly lose pressure from that level (just confirmed, and this is the case). Perhaps I should run all three for a while and then close one or two off?

    Also, do you have any estimate of how long the water has to run? Are we talking minutes, hours or days?

    The other strange thing is that the water did get clear, but then when I ran a lot of water, as I'm doing at the moment, the water got dirty again. During the most recent run through the faucets, the water started clean and got dirtier as I went.

    Gary - I got a 5 5/8" well seal when the work was being done, so I'm assuming that's also the diameter of the well. Don't know the depth, but I do know the pump is 45 feet down.

    It seems possible that the problem isn't fixed, but I'd like to try pumping the well via the faucets for a while to confirm. If this doesn't work, is a smaller pressure tank the answer?

    I ask because this was happening when I had the smaller tank as well, and it started out of the blue - I was getting good water for 10 months and then all of a sudden things went bad.

    Thanks again,
    Matt

  8. #8

    Angry

    Update - after running the faucet for about 15 minutes (3 faucets for about 10 minutes then just one for another 5), the pressure started dipping under 40. It then eventually jumped around a bit between 10 and 30 (very quickly) and then both the well pump and the water from the faucet shut down. The water was a trickle, at best, and the pressure on the gauge read "0".

    Well pump running too fast for the well? Or is the pressure tank just too big for the well? If the pressure tank, adjust settings or get a smaller one? Finally, what size would seem good? I had a wx-202, which seemed pretty small for a house this size and 2 people living here.

    1/2 HP Goulds 5GS05 is the new pump - set 45 feet deep.

    I'd like to believe that running the water for a while will fix this, but I'm fairly certain now that if I do that this will keep happening. Also, whenever I do this, the water gets disgustingly dirty (brown) right before the pump shuts off and pressure goes to zero. Then the water is dirtier than normal for a while until it improves a bit, but then never gets better.
    Last edited by mlblevins; 12-20-2006 at 09:15 AM.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    There's nothing strage about the well not having enough (clear) water for your usage or... if you are not getting the rain you used to.

    Being the pump is only 45' down, and you have a fairly low recovery rate, I do believe you will find you are using too much water over a short period of time and the recovery rate flow or a 'seam' is then expossed that allows dirty water into the well.

    If your static water level were say 25' you have less than 1.47 gals/foot and only 20' of water (20 to say 25 gallons) above the inlet to the pump. BUT... since you are not runnng out of water (sucking air), the water level isn't falling to the inlet of the pump.

    You need to find out how deep the well is and then set the pump 10-15' off the bottom. You should also do a pumping level test. They will run water to find out where the water level remains constant after say a few hours of pumping with open discharge (on the ground with the drop pipe only). That's like what you are saying they did for 15 minutes. Then the pump can be set 10' below that level. You may want a low pressure safety cut-off pressure switch ($20) in case the water level falls to the pump's inlet and runs dry.

    EDIT: I see we were typing at the same time.

    You are sucking air, that's when the pressure reads 0 and the water goes dirty. The dirt can be from the air oxidizing iron in the water or there could be rust in or on the drop pipe that Speedpump mentioned before.

    You need to start water conservation procedures now.

    I don't know who sold you a 5 gpm pump but it is not the right pump. It is capable of being much deeper in the well and set at 45' with a static water level of say 20-25', it will produce/deliver much more water than 5 gpm. It is also much more expensive than a 1/2 hp 10 gpm whether it is a Goulds or other manufacturer's pump.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 12-20-2006 at 09:25 AM.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Gary - what exactly should the water conservation procedures be? I can stay out of the house for days at a time if necessary, and without any hardship. So if using NO water for a while is good, I can do that. Sorry - I'm just not real experienced with this (first well ever).

    Also, I don't know the depth of the well or the static water level of the well, just the depth of the pump. The guys that put it in placed it at the same level as the jet pump (the foot valve of the pump, I guess?). Could be that the well is 100' deep and the pump can go down there much further. If that were the case, are you saying that sinking the pump down further would fix/help the problem?

    Also, if the 5GS05 isn't the right pump, what would be - I guess that depends on well depth and static water level, huh?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  11. #11
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    10 gallon 1/2 would actualy put out too much water,close to 16GPM at 30psi w/static water level at 20'. The right pump for that application would be a 5GS05 reduce stage pump. As that pumping water level reaches that 45' mark it will be putting out 6.9 gallons per minute and roughly 7.3 at initial start w/static water level at 20'. A 5GS05 isn't bad but its a little off the pump curve and efficency rating.

    SAM

  12. #12

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    Hi Gary - I'm full of questions, but you're full of answers too, so if you don't mind I'd like to re-phrase my previous post:

    1) As noted, I don't know specifically what you mean by water conservation measures. Any tips?

    If/then scenarios:

    2) If the well is 100 feet deep (let's say), can I simply have the Goulds 5GS05 dropped down? I guess the real question is, how far down below the static water level and above the bottom of the well should that particular pump be for a 5 5/8" well that produces 4.25 GPM?

    3) If the well is much less than 100 feet (say, 55-60 feet), how close to the bottom of the well should the pump be placed, or should the 5GS05 be replaced in that scenario? If replaced, what do you recommend?

    4) I'm assuming that pumping dry is bad for the pump. Is that correct, and how terrible is it for that to have happened twice now?

    5) If the pump can be dropped down significantly, or a new pump is installed, is the wx-255 pressure tank going to work with it then?

    6) If I have a well producing 4.25 GPM, and a pump bringing in 5-7 GPM, is it correct to assume that the their is a "deficiency" of water that is between .75 and 2.75 GPM? If so, and if I can draw 20 - 25 gallons before the water level falls below the pump inlet, it should take somewhere in the 10 - 25 minute range for the pump to remove all the water above its inlet, correct? Just trying to understand some things with this last question...

    Sorry for the all the questions, but I just really want to both understand AND get the problem fixed.

    Thanks again,
    Matt

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    The guys are right about the well pulling down and the pump being sized right for the well. But the important thing is the well depth. If it's a lot deeper than where they set the pump, they did you an injustice. The pump should be placed as near the bottom as possible taking advantage of all the water in the casing.

    The dirty water is a combination of the water washing up and down the casing and the pump getting air when the well draws down. The air spits and sputters and knocks loose more mineral deposits. Don't worry about drinking them, just cut back a little on your Geritol and Calcium supplements.

    bob...

  14. #14

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    Speedbump - duly noted on the supplements! I've been drinking bottled water for 2 weeks anyway, and my fridge has a filter for drinking water and ice.

    I'm going to get in touch with the guys doing the work and ask about well depth and about getting them out here to drop it further. They won't want to hear that, but unless the well is only 50-60 feet, I can clearly see that they did do me an injustice.

    ~Matt

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    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Listen,as far as injustice goes,i wouldn't go that far. I asume you have an artesian well. Alot of times when i come across an artesian well(rock hole) that is fairly shallow it produces a fair amount of water 7 to 10 gallons per minute. Most guys when drilling a well that size and that shallow they hit a good vain and simply stopped drilling,develop,and make a well. The pump they installed isn't that far off from being the correct pump and it will most likely go the distance no problem.the pump is actualy in the curve just a little far to the left. What i do when upgrading from a deep well jet is place that pump 10 to 20 feet off the bottom. but alot of times you can get away w/placing the pump at the same depth as the jet. So if you call them simply state that you want to have it lowered if they can. If your well is 100' deep the lower you get taht model pump in that well within reason the higher the eficiency rating will be. If its a real slow producer but at one time did a good amount of water you could look into having it redeveloped. The tank size is good. The more storage you have ,the less starts on the pump,the longer its going live.

    SAM

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