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Thread: No Water from Shallow Well

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    Default No Water from Shallow Well

    Hello All,

    The house I live in (South Florida) is on city water but also has a well pump for watering the lawn. The pump turns on but no water (lived here one year). A water well technician came over, said the pump appears to be okay, most likely a blockage in the horizontal pipe and quoted me a figure that I cannot afford. He attached a hand pump device and was able to bring up a trickle of water after a few minutes. He said a PVC pipe would need to be hammered down through the existing metal pipe.

    I decided to dig until I found the horizontal pipe which has a cap that screw’s off. At this point I would prefer to attempt the repair myself. I see PVC and metal “well points” (is this the correct name?) at the local big box stores but I don’t know what length to buy. Here in South FLA I believe the water table is not far below our feet; I’ve heard 5 to 10 feet.

    Can anyone suggest how to proceed at this point? Many thanks.

    Jim
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  2. #2
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    I suggest that you google or lookup Youtube for "driving a well point".
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    Here’s what I have done:

    1) Primed pump with garden hose, still would not pump water
    2) Dug until I found vertical pipe, removed cap, lowered twine with a weight on it until it stopped. I pulled it back out and measured about 30 feet. The lower 20 feet of twine was wet, upper 10 feet dry.

    I believe the water table here in South FLA is not far beneath the ground, I think 10 feet might be about right, but then 20 feet of water? The vertical pipe seems clear and unobstructed, so I don’t think driving a well point would do any good. Am I wrong?

    Any suggestions on how I should proceed?

  4. #4
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Its not the verticle pipe, or well casing that is obstructed, it is the perferations in the casing down below. The water can't get into the casing. A new well point screen would need to be driven into the ground. There are chemicals like New Well Tabs than can be put in the old casing to open up the perfs. But nothing is a guarentee, and it is hard to get the chemicals down where they need to be if the perfs are really stopped up.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    Valveman – Well point screen? Are these items I see at the big box stores usually in 5 foot sections made of PVC or some kind of metal that have a point on one end? If I were to drive this into the original casing, I’m assuming I would have to drive it deeper than the original to get past the occluded perforations? Should I use PVC or the metal ones?

    I also re-checked the depth and my original calculation was wrong. The twine and weight went down 9 feet and the bottom 1 foot of the twine was wet.

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    It's no good putting it down your existing casing. Either you pull up what you have and reuse the hole or start a new one.

  7. #7
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    next time u remove the plug from the tee, see if u can fill the pipe with a water hose and see how many gpm it takes to maintain the water level at the top of the pipe without running over. this is just to be sure the screen is plugged.

    is that 1-1/4" or 2" pipe?

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    Hello Justwater – I ran the garden hose for a ½ hour and it did not fill up.

  9. #9
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    Then that doesn't sound like a plugged screen to me. if a well will take water it should make water. wonder if that pipe has rusted a small suction leak somewhere.

    what size is that pipe?

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    I measure the inside diameter and got 1 and 5/8 inch.

  11. #11
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    you sure about that water level and well depth? work that line/weight up and down a little and make sure you arent getting hung up on a coupling or something... i think the 30' sounds better, but i'm not a shallow well guy nor have i ever installed a screen.. but wouldnt think there is a 9' well out there with an 8' water level. the 1-5/8", is that measuring inside of that tee? if so probably right for 1-1/4" pipe..??

    sounds like a rusted hole or some kind of leak in the suction..? whether it be in the horizontal pipe from well to pump (hopefully), or the vertical well pipe.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Jimmi328's Avatar
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    Actually I rechecked a 3rd time with a 25 foot metal tape measure. I extended it then entire 25 feet and could not hit bottom.
    Yes, the 1 and 5/8 is where I measured at the Tee
    The horizontal pipe is only about 5 feet and just beneath the surface, so I can dig this up to look for rust.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Wallysurfr's Avatar
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    Let's try the free stuff first before you start buying stuff:

    1. Does the pump have a priming port?
    2. Is there an above ground check valve? ie: is there anything above ground that looks like a coupling but is not a coupling and might say flow with an arrow on it?

    Determine FOR SURE how deep the well is and at what depth the water table is. You may need something longer than the 25' tape measure.

    Try this:

    1. Prime the pump assuming it has a prime valve and attempt to prime the well pipe (garden hose on full blast until it overflows and then some)
    2. Immediately plug the well pipe making sure you get the plug back on that T nice and tight with dope to seal the threads
    3. Put plug back in the prime port and tighten loosely
    4. Start pump and air will escape from port then tighten down plug
    5. See if it will pump, if not, shut off pump and wait a few hours. Then when you loosen either prime plug do you hear a hissing like air is entering the system? This should be able to let you know if you are holding prime. If it hisses you have vaccum if not, no prime and there's a leak somewhere.

    Could also be a broken foot valve. Need to know if there's a check valve anywhere above ground.

    If you have 1.25" galvanized this may be a $20 fix. You will have to remove that galv T and see if you can fit 1" PVC down the pipe with internal slip fittings. If you can you just drop that down (shouldn't need a new screen) and then plumb it with new PVC to the pump with as little connections as possible.

    Let us know how you make out and see my thread on the first page for more info on the potential PVC fix.

    Post more pics of the pump and plumbing to it.
    Last edited by Wallysurfr; 04-24-2013 at 07:02 AM.

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