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Thread: New well setup - getting murky water with particulates...

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member AMeador's Avatar
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    Default New well setup - getting murky water with particulates...

    We have a well drilled to 360' We have a 1.5hp Grunfos submersible pump in the well to 300'. We had the well drilled about 3 years ago, and only just got the pump put in the well about a week ago.

    We used those cable organizer/protector things on the pipe about every 15' and put nylon zip tiess in between these instead of electrical tape (I was concerned this might come off after a while). The pipe is 1" black pipe (200psi?). The pump should produce at about 20GPM at this depth. The pipe comes into the house and then goes through a complicated valve configuration to a whole house filter. This then feet the house, hot water tank, water hose connection, etc... Our well driller detailed the well as going through limestone and sandstone layers alternating about every 10' to 15'. Orignial output was only 1.3 gal/hour after first drilled and the water level came up to 157' and stopped there.

    When we first turned the pump on, the water was very "red" - like it had gone through red clay. And it has sandly like particulates in it - all the way from typical sand looking particles to very very fine particles that sparkle and flow around in the water. Anyway, I was concerned about how "red" this was - if poured into a pitcher, you could only see maybe 2 or 3 inches into it. I called our farmer neighbor and asked them what they thought we should do - pump it all out, or just run it for a while to see if it would clear up. They suggested pumping it all out being that murky - didn't want to cause hot water tank issues, faucet issues, etc...

    So, I pumped it all out. About 150 gal in about 15 minutes through the waterhose connection. All the water was murky - it seemed very consistent and it had a bad smell - iron? sulfur? mix? Very funky odd smell. The next day I pumped it all out again - about 24 hours later and got 50 gal. So a little improvement ~2 gal/hour. This time it was still pretty murky at the beginning, but cleared up a bit after about 30 seconds of pumping and the smell was not as bad. A few days later I pumped again - but it seemed to stall at only about 40 gal. I went inside the turn the pump off, but realized that the pressure guage (before the filter) was reading 40psi. So I figured the filter had clogged up. Took the filter off and yep - about .5" of fine sand like stuff at the bottom of the filter canaster and the filter was plugged up. So, I told everyone in the house not to use any water, and put the filter canister back on without the filter in place and turned to pump back on to pump the rest of the water out. I noticed in the filter canister when I cleaned it out that there were also so small pieces of rock - like slivers from the drilling process? They were maybe 2mm by 1mm by .5mm? Fairly smalll, but still, stuff I would think would have long ago settled to the bottom of the well - which should be some 60' below the pump at this point. Could this have been from the water above the pump causing the little flakes to come off the side of the well walls?

    So, I decided to get a tank of city water and dump that down the well - to help wash the sides of the well and to help diluted this murkey water. I put 100 gal down the well, then pumped that water out. Again it started out pretty murky, but after 30 seconds or so, it looked very clear. Then I put another 100 gal down the well and pumped it out again. Same thing - murkey, then clear. Then I decided to fill the thing completely up and let it set - one to dilute, two to soak the walls of the well all the way up to help get everything loose, three - to see if the well would hold water above the 157 point that the water level came to initially, and finally - maybe to generate a little extra pressure on the incoming water source to see if it may help increase the flow any (low pressure hydro-fracturing ) I know that's nothing in comparison to real fracturing - but it's potentially an extra 1000lb of pressure or so on the source that it didn't normally have. Sooo, I ended up putting 420 gal in the well (6' well) and only got it to about 40' below the surface. I could 'just' see it with the flashlight. Now from what I was told, a 6' well holds ~1 gal/foot. So, when I pumped the well out with the pump at 300', this should have only taken 300 gal - but it took 420 and still needed another 40 or so. I suppose there must be a void somewhere.

    I let it set until the next day and re-checked the water level - I couldn't see it anymore, so it went down - but to where? So, I pumped it out again. The water was pretty murky again at first. Then it cleared up a bit - but not as wood as before - most of the color was gone, but can't see the bottom of the 12' tall pitcher from the top. Also, I pumped out 200 gal and had still not run out of water - to the water level did not go down to the origina; 157'. I didn't have time to pump more, so I don't know how much it was holding total.

    I any case - this was a lot of clea water added to the well and it's still fairly murky. Small seems to be significanly gone if not completely, but It is still getting this fine sand in it. I'll have to check then filter canister for larger particulates, but again, with this pump setting 60' from the bottom and this much water pumped out and clean water/washed, is this normal? Has the bottom 60' of the well filled in with this fine sand and the pump is setting on the bottom? What does the larger particulate mean in this situation? That bothers me the most as I can't see why it would be pumping stuff like that out when I'd think that stuff should be at the bottom of the well - not near where the pump is pulling in water. One other thing - there is stainless stell casing in the first 70' of the well. The well driller said he usually only puts about 20' but he hit a couple of voids initiall and had to go to 70' to pass the last void by about 10'. With that much casing, would it be likely that we are getting water intrusion from the surface? We do have red clay at the top of the well, but from ~10' from the surface to the bottom of the well is solid rock - and I think maybe a layer or two of shale. Or... is this all normal and we just to need to be patient for it to clear up?

    Thanks for your time and thoughts!

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Wow, 1.3 gal/hour? Most drillers would call that a dry hole. I generally round down to a gallon per foot for 6" casing but that's in Imperial gallons. I think the bore hole has to be bigger than the casing so US gallons would be about 1.5 even with what the pipe and wire displaces.

    Anyway, I had a similar problem where the low yeild was challenging whereby I could not pump continuously. To get more wash time, I was dumping the water into a large barrel and syphoning the water back down the hole to reuse. The fines and cuttings would settle in the bottom of the barrel. I would alternate between recycling the water and drawing it down as it's the drawdown that really opens up the aquifer. A few days of that and I increased the production to the point the well produced as fast as the pump could draw full 1" bore at the wellhead, no house plumbing involved. I'm not suggesting you can get that sort of results, just that recycling water might beat hauling so much town water.

    You did not mention shocking the well. Yes you dumped city water down it and presumably it had traces of chlorine but I think you should shock it.

    I think if you shock it and then pump it long enough, it will eventually clear up. I think you should also throttle back that 20 GPM pump so it doesn't draw down your borehole storage so fast.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member AMeador's Avatar
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    Yeah, 1.3 isn't what I was hoping for, but it's better than nothing. Plus we had a real dry summer at the time and some other around our area had went dry, so we were hoping once we got it up and running that the volume would be better. It seems to be at about 2 gal/hour now - so some improvement - but - I still wouldn't mind more 8)

    I'm a bit concerned about these fines and cuttings - the pump has a built in screen to keep out large stuff - but still these small pieces I described are still getting through - is this something I should be concerned about damaging the pump?

    I like the system you used - I didn't put in a hose connection right at the well head - maybe I should. It is still not completely burried yet - close but having a full sized pipe right there could be useful for cleanout and then water hose to nearby garden later... Anyway, even if I do this, the water will still be very murky - I see how this would get out the larger particles, but the super fine stuff that looks like sparkles in the water won't settle fast enough - if at all. But, I can do this, just pump from hose back to hauling tank in my truck and from that back into the well.

    I did not shock it - I figured if just pumping it out and doing this over and over would make shocking it pointless as it would just get pumped right out. Should I put the bleach in it and run the cycling system you talked about, then let it set for a day or two and then pump it out clean?

    The pump is capable of 20 gpm, but it lookes like it's only moving 10 gpm after going through the 1/2" PVC in the house before the filter. Right now the path is 1" from pump to 3/4" PVC entering house then to 1/2" PVC to filter, then back to 3/4" house connection (the rest of the house is 3/4" CPVC). I don't know how else to slow it down, well, actually, I do have a shutoff valve in the 3/4" PVC from the pump - I could just turn it back a bit.

    Andrew

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Chlorine is sometimes used on a low producing well to improve production so that may be an added benefit. Yes, you would want to recirculate the chlorinated water back into the well and then let it sit.

    The sharp cuttings could wear on the pump some and may result in some reduction of GPM, but in your case you have way more pump than well. Sounds like your 1/2" redution is already flow restricting.

    In my case, I have a micronizer for air entrainment to remove iron so it is a significant flow restrictor. My old pump was worn from all the sand that went through it and could no longer produce the needed vacuum across the venturi, so I used the old pump to develop the well before dropping in the new one. When I was developing the well, I had pulled it out of the pitless and put on a long section of 1" poly pipe with a 1" ballvalve on the end.

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