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Thread: Making an old well sanitary

  1. #16
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    Ok, so I went up to flush the well again yesterday afternoon and the water was much clearer than the previous days flushing. I assume this was because there was not a bunch of CL2 sitting down the hole over night.

    Everything was looking good until I realized I had not turned the oiler on while the pump was running. If you look at the picture there is a 1" dia verticle cylinder on both sides of the motor. One of them was empty so I began filling it with the oil that my father in law has been using in it for eons (30w motor oil). This thing just sucked everything I poured into it even though the little cylinder can probably only hold maybe 8 oz.

    From what I can tell these oil tubes (reservoirs) feed the motor and bearing that the pump shaft comes up through. Is there any direct connection between these cylinders and the actual water ? The reason I ask is because I started seeing a little oil slick on the water that was being flushed out onto the ground which seemed obvoius to me that there was some kind of contact/connection between the oil I just put in and the water coming up the column and out the discharge.

    -Should this oil be a special food grade oil instead of motor oil?
    -When the oil goes from the little cylinder, through the copper tubing and into the bearing around the shaft does some of it drip down the entire shaft down in the column?
    -Should I be concerned about this happening?
    -Does it indicate a problem/malfunction with the well?
    -How is this avoided in other verticle turbine wells used in potable water situations?

    Thanks

  2. #17
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    Some submersible turbines have oil filled bearings. They are fed with a tube from the top kind of like your describing. I have only seen one of these and the inside of the well had many feet of oil floating on top of the water. Needless to say, these things do leak oil.

    Sounds like that's what you have and if you don't keep adding oil, the pump bearings all the way down will start to wear out quickly.

    I had to hire a guy with a camera to map this 8" well. The poor guys truck was dripping with oil when he pulled the camera back out of the well. It was over 600 feet deep and the cable the camera hung on was covered with oil as it went back on the spool in the back of his box truck. The entire floor of his truck was oozing with oil. I suspect he spent the rest of the week at the car wash.

    bob...

  3. #18
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I can see the sight glass for the oil dripper in the photo. This changes everything. An oil lube turbine has a tubing over the shaft all the way down. Some of these tubes are brass bearings and others are wood lined. Either way there is a drain hole in the bottom of the oil tube. This lets oil drip out the bottom as the dripper is adding it at the top. I use to have to go around and check these drippers when I was a kid. They need to drip about once every 10 or 20 seconds. Brass bearings will lock up quick if the dripper stops. Wood lined tube is more forgiving as the wood soaks up the oil and won't lock up as quickly if the dripper stops.

    Water quality is going to be a problem. What you will find when you pull the pump is the oil is floating as Speedbump said, and will be all over the column pipe and well casing. I have cleaned these type well up for domestic use but, it takes a lot of work. You can add certain soap and chemical to break up the oil and help flush it out. Then you need a bailing truck to clean out the well. There will also be a few feet of black muck in the bottom of the well where the slug has settled over the years. It will take a lot of bailing and test pumping to get this well cleaned out. You may never get rid of the oil completely.

    Most people have switched to vegetable or mineral oil in recent years. But the years of that regular 30 weight dripping is going to be hard to get rid off. Most wells, including Municipal wells, now use a water lube turbine. There is no tube around the shaft. Every 5' or 10' there is a spider with a rubber bearing. The water flowing up the pipe lubricates these bearings, as there is never any oil allowed close to a municipal well.

    I would switch to a vegetable oil and only use this well for irrigation. Then I would drill a new smaller well just for the house. I would drill the new well as far away from the old well as possible.

    You will also have problems trying to seal a turbine well head but, that doesn't make much difference if you are pouring oil down the well anyway. I wish I had better news for you. You will probably spend more trying to clean up that well than it will cost to drill a new one. Would have been a different story if that were a water lube turbine instead.

  4. #19
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    I was afraid this would be the situation...

    Let me ask you guys this...
    The existing well is a 3 phase and we have just finished putting in a new underground Edison conduit and new 3 phase pump panel for the existing well. If I have another well drilled nearby (not sure how far "far" is to you Valveman) but lets say 10 feet away?
    - Can I run a new, smaller submersible well off of the 3 phase panel?
    - Are smaller submersibles 110V?

    If not, I need to stop Edison from completing their conversion project so that I can get another electrical service in place.

    Thanks

  5. #20
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I would move further than 10'. The further away from the contaminated well the better but, you still have to drill in an area that has water. You might even be better off moving the new well closer to the house. You don't need a very big well for just the house.

    You can pull 230 volt single phase power from a 230 volt three phase line. Most house pumps are 230 volt single phase. Or you can also set up a house well on three phase power.

  6. #21
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    If you have 230 volt three phase, two if not all three of the wires will have 115 volts which can be used to make up 230 volt single phase. You won't have a neutral to make up 115 volt single phase unless someone ran one out there for that purpose. The only submersible motor that is 115 volts is the half horse. All the rest up to 5 hp are 230 volts.

    I don't think ten feet would be far enough away for me.

    bob...

  7. #22
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    I just spoke to my well guy and he said any new well has to be 20 feet from the old one. I guess that is our County requirement.

    He basically said point blank "You don't want to use the existing well for your new home's potable use, You should drill a new one".

    I know, I know...he wants to make $$ by drilling me a new well but his reasoning was that we could dump ~$15K in "attempting" to rehab the existing well with no guaranteed positive outcome or spend ~$20K to drill a new well, install a 3-5 hp submersible and have it be pristine. He also said we could use the existing three pahse electrical service to feed the additional well while still keeping the existing well in place and active for our orchard's irrigation system.

    At this point I am leaning to the new well. I am still meeting him onsite Saturday to further discuss the situation.

  8. #23
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I agree with everything except the $20K for a new well. That sounds like a lot of money. I would get a quote from another driller or two.

  9. #24
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    Will do. Thanks Cary!

    Also, what do you guys think is a reasonable cost for the drilling of a new well approx 300' deep with a new 3-5 hp submersible pump/motor?

    Thanks
    Last edited by riverside67; 03-25-2009 at 09:25 AM.

  10. #25
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    Why in the world do you want a 5hp pump in this new well? I thought it was just for the house. Aren't you going to use the old well for the trees?

    I don't know if we are mixing apples and oranges; but here a 300 foot well would run you around $3900.00. That's just the well, but a normal pump package with 1hp pump, tank and csv would be around $1695.00 installed.

    bob...

  11. #26
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how big a pump I would need but I do know that we will have fire spinklers in the home, and knowing that, the demands at the home would be between 20-40 gpm to cover all domestic/irrigation/fire protection demands. We will have a lot of slopes to irrigate around our home as we are building on a slope and will have large cut and fill slopes that will require slope stabilization planting and irrigation.

    I am putting together a request for proposals from 4 local well drillers. One of them told me today on the phone that it is costing $19/ft for air drilled and $25/ft for rotary drilled. His price included all drilling, casing, gravel pack, sanitary seal and pump pad per local requirements (California). We anticipate needing to go between 250-300 feet deep.

    I can purchase the pump/motor myself and have them install it if that would save me money. I will also do all discharge piping myself.

    And yes, the existing 10hp well will be used to irrigate the apple orchard.
    Last edited by riverside67; 03-25-2009 at 11:49 AM.

  12. #27
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverside67 View Post
    I just spoke to my well guy and he said any new well has to be 20 feet from the old one. I guess that is our County requirement.

    He basically said point blank "You don't want to use the existing well for your new home's potable use, You should drill a new one".

    I know, I know...he wants to make $$ by drilling me a new well but his reasoning was that we could dump ~$15K in "attempting" to rehab the existing well with no guaranteed positive outcome or spend ~$20K to drill a new well, install a 3-5 hp submersible and have it be pristine. He also said we could use the existing three pahse electrical service to feed the additional well while still keeping the existing well in place and active for our orchard's irrigation system.

    At this point I am leaning to the new well. I am still meeting him onsite Saturday to further discuss the situation.
    IMO, you want a new well and it must be out of the well head protection area of the old one and, the old one out of the wellhead protection of the new one. IOWs, you do not want either well effecting the recovery rate of the other. That 20', even in a rock bore well is nowhere near enough to accomplish that.

    Another way to say it is, neither well should be in the recovery area or especially in the cone of depression of the other. If that is not done, your water quality can suffer and both wells will be drawing the other well down; especially the old well because it will be pumping more water than the house will use.

    When you get the new well, then you must find the peak demand gpm the house requires and size the pump to be able to provide them at the pressure you want to run the system at, and then you find the hp to get the job done from whatever depth the pump is expected to have to pump from. To be thinking of a 3-5 hp pump for a 300' deep well and just a house, you must be building an 8 bathroom mansion with 4-6 body spray 2 person showers and large 2 person whirlpool tubs...

    I think his prices are way high.
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  13. #28
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    3 bdrm, 2.5 bath home
    3632 sq ft
    1 - 110 gal soaking tub
    1 - 2 person shower with body sprays
    Lots of irrigation.

  14. #29
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A submersible pump comes in two parts, the wet end rated in gpm and then the hp. Without looking it up, a 35 gpm 1 to 1.5, or 2 hp pump will do that 25-40 gpm.

    Don't forget water treatment equipment, like a softener etc., or the space it needs to be installed. It also has to be sized for the peak demand gpm.
    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.

  15. #30
    Water system engineer riverside67's Avatar
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    I just got another cost estimate from another driller for $40/ft but that included:

    -drilling
    -casing
    -gravel pack
    -sanitary seal
    -6'x6' pump pad
    -2 hp pump
    -85 gal bladder tank
    -pressure switch and all related piping

    In addition he would charge
    -$1000 mobilization
    - ~$500 for all permitting

    So basically about $13,500 said and done.

    I'm not sure what the materials and installation cost for a 2 HP pump, capable of producing 25-40 gpm, would be and if that additional cost per foot is reasonable.

    ???

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