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Thread: Shallow Well Help

  1. #1
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    Default Shallow Well Help

    I have a shallow well with a Myers Jet Pump. I have had issues with it in the past, but was always able to get it to work. The pump was here when I bought the house, so I do not have all the details about depth and etc.

    Here are some general facts. I am in Florida so the soil is sandy and the water table is high. The pump has had issues with sand clogging up things before (like the pressure switch), but I have always been able to unclog the sand and get things going again.

    Currently the pump runs but does not suck up water. Or I should say barely sucks up water. The water kinda of bubbles out.

    So as you can see in the picture I disconnected the pump intake from the ground and put into that 5 gallon bucket showing in the photo, which I filled with water. I wanted to test the pump seperate from the well. When I did this the pump ran and pumped fine. Of course it is possible the pump works fine from the bucket, but has problems pumping up 20 feet (or whatever the well depth is)

    You will also notice a check valve by the bucket. I remove the check valve and tried to reconnect to test the pump without the check valve. Ran pump and again water just barely coming out.

    I then took my snake to clean out the well in case any sand was clogging. One thing I noticed is the well does not go straight down. There is a 90 elbow about a foot down. Is there a reason that one would not want to drill the well right next to the house. Anyway that 90 elbow makes it difficult to try and drop a string down to determine the well height.

    After snaking out, I got the same results.

    I am not sure how to test further to determine if the well is the problem. One person said if I fill the well pipe with water; the water should flow back down the well. My water does not flow down or if it does it is very very slow. But it has always been like that. I am not sure what is at the bottom of the well, but being it is a shallow well, I doubt there is a check valve at the bottom. is the fact tha the water does not drain down a problem?

    I am thinking about digging up to where that pipe bends again and goes straight down to the water supply and try and determine how deep the well is.

    The pipe was full of water and when doing this test I filled the pump with water so there is not a priming issue.

    Any sugguestion on what to do next?
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  2. #2
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    To try something else I connected my shop vac to the well to see if it pumped up water. I am not sure it that was a meaningful test or not, because I do not know if the shop vac can pump water that far. But one thing interesting is that when I remove the shop vac hose, nothing pumped up. The well pipe was full of water to the top still. See photo.
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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I am betting you have a suction leak. It maybe right where the suction pipe threads into the pump. But that rubber connector with the hose clamps is not a good idea either. There could also be a leak in the pipe underground to the well. If all the leaks are fixed and it still won’t pump, I would be looking at the well itself.

  4. #4
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    The black connector is just a temporary connection I used to connect the pump to the well without the check valve. In the temporary setup all my connection where only hand tight. Nothing was glued, but I thought it was tight enough just for a test.

    In doing more research my pump is offset from the drilling down point, maybe because they could not get the equipment in to drill the well next to the house.

    My next plan was to dig up that horizontal pipe between the pump area and the actual point the pipe goes down into the ground and see if there might be a check valve underground in that horizontal pipe.

    I am not that familiar with wells. The pipe I see is 1.25" PVC, but I imagine that is not what is in the ground or is it? Is there normally a galvanized steel pipe with a pvc pipe inside it? I was hoping that was the case and maybe I could pull out the well if I had to.

    Also in case the screen is clogged and that is the problem. How does one clean it. Remember my pipe is full of water and it is offset.
    Last edited by rwbil; 08-01-2012 at 01:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Might just be a well point? Find the well, see what you got before you start fixing it.

  6. #6
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    O.K. I dug over 4' or so from the pump to fine the well. Attached are pictures of what I found. Being the water stays in the well pipe, I expected to find a check valve in the horizontal line.

    The 1.25" PVC line leaving the pump was reduced down to 1" PVC. And then it connects to 2" pipe going into the ground. The 2" pipe is rather rusty looking as you can see in the picture. I assume it is galvanized steel.

    I am not familiar with the various type of check valves. Could that Big connector where the PVC ties into the steel pipe be a check valve. Or where the 1.25" pipe reduces to the 1" pipe be a check valve?

    If not does that mean there is either a foot valve or the wellpoint is clogged. I know the pipe did not drain down before when it was working though.

    Someone mention to me about trying muric acid to try and clean the well point screen.
    Any suggestions on how to proceed.
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  7. #7
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    It's still anyone's guess what is still in the ground. Some well drillers will swage in place a checkvalve inside the casing. Others will put one in-line just above the sandpoint.

    You might have to pull up the casing or abandon it and drive or drill a new well.

  8. #8
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    If I have to drill a new well, a couple of questions:

    1) How far past the point where you hit water do you keep going down to,

    2) What length 3', 4' or etc well point and what type of well point such as mesh or slotted would you recommend.

    3) What type of check valve, brass, PVC, or etc. and distance from check valve to pump.

    4) Do you need drive couplings or are regular couplings good enough. I am going to 1st look at jetting the well, but if that does not work I was thinking about renting or buying a fence post driver.

  9. #9
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    looks like a standard 2" steel well to me. not sure where u are in fl but its probably not a "shallow well". i doubt there is a screen but i could be wrong. its probably a rock well. the steel fitting on top of the well that the pvc is hooked to looks like a double tap fitting threaded into the 2" coupling. there is likely a pvc pipe or "drop pipe" about 30' deep inside the 2" well casing with a foot valve on the bottom, which is why the pipe is holding water.'

    i think valveman nailed it with a suction leak, in fact i'd bet on it. the fact that the well pumps sand means that the old 2" casing has a hole in it. thats a totally different topic there.

    i wouldnt get too carried away on doing a new well yourself just yet.

  10. #10
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    If there is a foot/check valve, it will probably be at the bottom of that PVC pipe like justwater said. Can’t hurt anything trying. I would pull that PVC and see what there is to work with. You might at least find out how deep you need to go with a new well, if the old well is not salvageable.

  11. #11
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwater View Post
    looks like a standard 2" steel well to me. not sure where u are in fl but its probably not a "shallow well". i doubt there is a screen but i could be wrong. its probably a rock well. the steel fitting on top of the well that the pvc is hooked to looks like a double tap fitting threaded into the 2" coupling. there is likely a pvc pipe or "drop pipe" about 30' deep inside the 2" well casing with a foot valve on the bottom, which is why the pipe is holding water.' i think valveman nailed it with a suction leak, in fact i'd bet on it. the fact that the well pumps sand means that the old 2" casing has a hole in it. thats a totally different topic there.

    i wouldnt get too carried away on doing a new well yourself just yet.


    I took apart the horizontal pipe and cleaned it out. It had some sand it and reconnected everything with glue this time. If there is a suction side leak I do not see it, so I think it must be in the pipe going down. Still the water just barely comes out. Sometime a bit stronger than other times, but never close to what it should be doing.

    I unscrewed the PVC from the steel pipe and there is no check valve. So you might be right about the foot valve.

    I am located in Jacksonville, Florida. My pump is a jet pump rated for 25 foot lift maximum.

    You mention that there might be a pvc pipe inside the galvanized pipe. I could barely unscrew the PVC piece more less try and take apart the rusty galvanized part.

    You said do not dig a new well yet, but I am running out of ideas. I know some folks around here have dug wells by water jetting them in.

    What do you suggest I try before digging a new well.

  12. #12
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    Not sure if it helps but here are a couple of pictures of the steel pipe with the PVC pipe removed.
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  13. #13
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    The picture shows what looks like justwater described, namely a double ended fitting and drop pipe.

  14. #14
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    Tell me what part of jax ur in and ill tell you what you're up against. I do alot of work in the northside and westside of Jax but have done a few all over jax. I can't see the pics for some reason probably because I'm on a phone right now. I'm 99% sure that's a rock well. If it was a shallow well, it would be 1.25" pipe. The 2" pipe could be completely clogged with sand from the hole, but I still suspect a suction leak is the culprit. I can almost promise you can't drill a well like you have by yourself. You might jet in a shallow well, but thats alot different than a rock well as far as water quality. Ive got some 2" rock wells that are 200' deep on the west side.

  15. #15
    DIY Member rwbil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwater View Post
    Tell me what part of jax ur in and ill tell you what you're up against. I do alot of work in the northside and westside of Jax but have done a few all over jax. I can't see the pics for some reason probably because I'm on a phone right now. I'm 99% sure that's a rock well. If it was a shallow well, it would be 1.25" pipe. The 2" pipe could be completely clogged with sand from the hole, but I still suspect a suction leak is the culprit. I can almost promise you can't drill a well like you have by yourself. You might jet in a shallow well, but thats alot different than a rock well as far as water quality. Ive got some 2" rock wells that are 200' deep on the west side.
    I doubt this well is 200' deep, because the water has lots of iron and smells like sulfur. Also have a jet pump only rated for 25' of lift.

    I live in Mandarin. The water table is pretty high here, though I am told you have to get through a hard pan.

    I do not care about water quality, don't use it for drinking. Right now what water does come up is black mostly.

    Here is my plan at this point.

    1) I am going to connect that line that I disconnected from the well to a bucket full of water to supply the pump. This will tell me if there is a suction leak from at least that point. If the pump works fine then I must assume that there is a suction issue from that point down.

    2) I will try and see if I can dig more and remove that galvanized fitting. And then see If there is a PVC pipe that goes down.

    Being you work in Jacksonville. What is your number and what would you charge to come out and remove that 2" double ended fitting and evaluate the well to see if it is salvageable.

    If there is a PVC pipe that goes down without a well point and I can get it up. Can I just add a well point. If the 2" pipe is damaged and allowing sand and dirt does that mean a new well must be dug.
    Last edited by rwbil; 08-02-2012 at 05:41 PM.

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