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Thread: Irrigation Well Issues

  1. #1

    Default Irrigation Well Issues

    Newbie here, please be gentle. So here is my story...

    Location: West Central Florida (Tampa area)

    I have a home on a half acre lawn that was originally hooked up to municipal water for everything including irrigation. About 2 years ago I installed a shallow sandpoint system with 4 points and a 1-1/2 hp self-primng pump. It worked pretty good until recently. I think the problem is the drought has dropped the water table to the point that there is not enough water to run the system. The system loses prime when at rest and surges on and off when running for more than 15 minutes. I found one of my check valves went bad so I replaced it, but it hasnt helped.

    SO...... first, is there anything that I should check before I resort to more drastic measures?

    If not, I have been researching a deep water well solution. Here locally a resident can install there own well that is 2" or smaller. So I'm looking at a used hydra-drill 2000 that will drill a 4" hole. From what I gather this would allow for a 2" casing and the required 1" of concrete around all sides for contamination sealing. This well will only be used for irrigation and maybe to top off my pool occassionaly. Other wells in the area range in depth from 40' to about 100'. So with this said, what sort of GPM should I expect from a 2" well? I'm assuming a deep well jet-pump is my only choice. I have 13 zones with no more than 4 Hunter PGP rotors on each zone. I think my max GPM need would be 12-14GPM.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by kboyette; 03-19-2009 at 04:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I think you will find that 2" casing is a little small for a deep well jet. The water level must be less than 25' or so, for a shallow well jet with one pipe in the well to work. I am afraid this may be the problem you have now.

  3. #3
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    Exactly where in Tampa (cross roads would be nice). Your shallow wells are probably nearly dry and will get dryer before April/May comes and goes. We are in a draught (according to Tampa city water folks since they just put a new restriction on all you City Folks of from $100 to $450 for watering with anything but a garden hose) according to all the other water bureaucracys. This makes them look important and nets them some more dollars.

    Depending on where you are in Tampa, you may have a high water level which would work well with a centrifugal pump. I would never drill a 2" well if I thought I could do a 4" instead. You may find that your little drill rig is a bit small for drilling through lime rock, flint and chirt. The last two are harder than tempered steel.

    Everybody thinks they can drill a well. Maybe one out of ten of them is successful. Drilling shallow wells can be done by a DIYer, but going into and through the rock is a whole different story.

    If you want any advice from a local Driller, save your money and have it done by a pro.

    I am located in Riverview.

    bob...

  4. #4

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    I'm in Odessa, so not in the city limits, the hand watering doesnt affect me yet. I'm near Gunn Hwy & Van Dyke. I'd love to have some info on the water table out here.

    I have water, but I think the drought has really slowed the recovery rate for the well field. I can only pump effectively for about 20-30 minutes then it starts to cavitate and the sprinklers stop then start, stop then start... How about this thought...

    I add a tank, say 100 gallons +/-. I get rid of the pump relay that I am using to start the pump and use a ??? (I forget the name) that senses the water drop in the tank and turns the pump on to fill the tank. It wont help the recovery issue, but it may help run the sprinklers longer. I'd love to have a 4" well drilled, but I don't have the $$$ to have one drilled right now. I also don't have the $$ to replace all of my St Augustine if it dies.

  5. #5
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    I'm not familiar enough with Odessa to give you advice on drilling there. I had a friend years ago who decided to get in the drilling business part time. He was a sheriff by trade. He got on his first job with this home made rig, got into rock at 20 feet and thought he hit iron. He beat on it for hours then called me. I went out, set up my rig, hit it for about 5 minutes and broke through into water bearing soft lime and really ticked him off. He could have done the same thing. This was in Clearwater somewhere by the Bay. One thing about Florida, the drilling is different everywhere you go.

    If you do decide to get one drilled, be very careful who you hire. Call SWFWMD and ask them who has the best record for the least complaints.

    bob...

  6. #6

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    do you think adding a tank will help?

  7. #7
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    Only temporarilly. Unless it's a very large tank, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

    bob...

  8. #8

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    I think I am going to give my shallow system one more try. I think I'll wash each point out with my hose to make sure there is not a clogged screen on the points. I may replace my pipes, as well, I have regular sch 40 with inside couplings. This may be giving me quite a bit of friction loss. I may switch to bell end pvc pipe. Who sells bell end pipe? I don't think the big box stores do.

  9. #9
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    If you buy it in 20' sections it should have a belled end.

    bob...

  10. #10

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    Who sells 20' sections? HD or Lowes? or do I need to go to a plumbing supply place like Rite Flo?

  11. #11
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    Sure, Rite Flo has them in 20 footers. The big box stores are the only place I know who sells 10 footers. It's so the soccer mom can get them in her van.

    bob...

  12. #12

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    Thanks Bob. Thanks everyone for suffering my questions. I have a couple more...

    1) Should a sandpoint system lose prime? I would think not, but it always has. I have a self-priming pump so it does prime itself after about 3-4 minutes.

    2) If the answer to #1 above is NO, then is it possible that the pump is losing prime on the discharge side? Reason I ask is that the pump cavitates and temporarily loses prime when it switches between zones. Seems like this would not be the case if the system was tight on the discharge side.

    Here is a bit of potentially useful info.

    I have 4 sandpoints that are joined together in shape of a Captial "H". They are all equal distance to the pump. See my crude diagram below. All pipes are PVC and are 1-1/4" except where it comes from the middle of the "H" and goes to the pump. That pipe is 1-1/2". The points are minimum of 10' apart for recovery. See my crude diagram below:

  13. #13
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    I like where you have your check valves.



    If your pump loses it's prime, it's because you have an air leak somewhere in the suction line. If it's on the point side of the check valves, it allows the water in the well to seek it's static level and when the pump sees the air after starting up, it loses prime.

    Putting any fittings in a suction line that are not absolutely necessary is a bad idea.

    bob...
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  14. #14

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    By pressure-side are you talking about the discharge side? The pump itself does not have a plug or fitting for priming. I do not have a tank.


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    A picture is worth a thousand words.
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