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Thread: anything get oil out of well water?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member moparcolt's Avatar
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    Default anything get oil out of well water?

    Had a small accident the other day and a small amount of oil got into the pit where my well casing is. The seal was bad on the top of the casing and some oil got into the ground water and thus into the well. It was a small amount but it tainted the water. It smells like motor oil!

    Is there anything I can do to get the oil out?

    Will it dissipate over time?

    How long will it take?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Chris

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member TJanak's Avatar
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    Pump the well wide open until the smell is gone.
    Travis

    When I need a precise measurement of something I often use the highly technical method of eyeballing it.

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    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Pumping the well will do no good. Oil is lighter than water, and will float on top of the water. When pumping a well the water will come in from the bottom.
    To get oil out of a well, it must be bailed out. It is very time consuming.
    Trying to use air to blow it out will be a waste of time as well, the oil will stick to the side of the casing.
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


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    DIY Junior Member moparcolt's Avatar
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    Isnt there something that will break it down?

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    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moparcolt View Post
    Isnt there something that will break it down?
    There is nothing that will break it down that I would want in my water. Anything that is put in the well will not only
    be in your well, but could also go into the water strata, and contaminate it, and render it polluted and unusable.
    Adding a contaminate to combat a contaminate is never a good thing.
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member moparcolt's Avatar
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    How would you go about bailing it out?

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moparcolt View Post
    ... a small amount of oil got into the pit ... into the ground water and thus into the well ...
    If the oil spilled onto the ground in the bottom of the pit and the well casing extends farther on down into the ground where water is then drawn from the lower end of the casing, I would think the oil slick should/would not have ever made it into the casing. So, are you sure the oil did not also go directly into the well? But to clean any small amount of oil from wherever, you might try adding some dish soap inside the casing and then running a garden hose with recirculating water from the well back in at the top of the casing until the oil is broken down, and then pumping the well out and away until all the suds are gone.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    you might try adding some dish soap inside the casing and then running a garden hose with recirculating water from the well back in at the top of the casing until the oil is broken down, and then pumping the well out and away until all the suds are gone.
    NEVER put soap in a water well. If this water is for drinking, you would be in the bathroom for a very long time. If a small child were to drink this water, it could put them in the hospital.
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  9. #9
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterwelldude View Post
    NEVER put soap in a water well. If this water is for drinking, you would be in the bathroom for a very long time. If a small child were to drink this water, it could put them in the hospital.
    What suggestion *do* you have, eh?!

    If neither had been completely flushed out after a simple recirculation-treatment, any remaining bleach typically used for sanitizing a well would likely be far more potentially-harmful to a human than would a bit of soap used for removing a bit of oil ... and that kind of thing is commonly done by homeowners and professionals alike.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Oil floats on water. So I would think it best to skim it off the top instead of mixing it up in any way. Maybe just a bucket and a rope would be best. There are some very sophisticated ways of skimming oil out of wells. There is an entire industry dedicated to Ground Water Remediation. I have seen a cloth conveyor belt that skims the oil off the water. Maybe even dropping a rag on a rope would soak it up, since it is a small amount.

    The most important thing is to set up the wellhead where this cannot happen. Counter sunk wellheads or pits are not even legal in most states, and shouldn’t be in others. If you don’t have proper wellhead protection, anything that is on the ground can get in your well. And that is not a good thing.

  11. #11
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    What suggestion *do* you have, eh?!
    .
    Go back and read my first post.
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  12. #12
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterwelldude View Post
    Go back and read my first post.
    I had seen that, but the OP had mentioned the problem having originated outside the well ... and at that point, and without knowing exactly how the oil actually got into the well in the first place, an overall "sanitation" (scrubbing) type of approach would seem to address all possible issues. However, I freely admit that might only be my own DIYer approach.

    Peace!
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    I had seen that, but the OP had mentioned the problem having originated outside the well ... and at that point, and without knowing exactly how the oil actually got into the well in the first place, an overall "sanitation" (scrubbing) type of approach would seem to address all possible issues. However, I freely admit that might only be my own DIYer approach.

    Peace!
    I would drop a air line down and let the air bring the top part of the water and oil to the top.

    Or a Cotton rope may/could work.

    Then dish soap and then rinse.

    Then shoot whoever put the oil in there.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  15. #15
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    A single air line down the well that relies on the casing to carry the water up out of the well, would simply coat the inside of the casing as was mentioned. A second pipe with a packer seal to the casing could mitigate that.

    A submersible could be worked up and down at the water level to skim the surface but it would be abusive to the pump.

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