Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Homesteading and Self Reliant Living

Bacteria in my well

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ga-qhd:
I put the Berkey into service.  The water is still full of coliforms (and whatever other bacteria I'm not testing for), but the Berkey does filter it all out (albeit very slowly even after priming--I had another quantitative bacteria test done and it was zero).  I will probably at some point do the new well, but for now this is working.

IKN:
Does your concrete casing come all the way to the surface ???
Modern bored wells are capped at least 15' below the surface and either a PVC or iron pipe run to the surface.
If the concrete casing is ran to the top, surface water with bacteria can seep through the concrete due to its porosity.
If you can access it, you might try coating some sort of non-toxic concrete sealant on the first 10-15 feet down.

Drilling a new deep well is an alternative, but if the deep water in your area tends to be laden with iron, it can cause a lot of issues and the water treatment equipment to remove the iron isn't cheap.
I remember years back when my wife's uncle built a house and drilled a deep well about a mile down the road from where we live now. The water was heavy with iron so much that it came out of the taps orange and discolored all their laundry.

ga-qhd:

--- Quote from: IKN on January 17, 2020, 12:28:20 PM ---Does your concrete casing come all the way to the surface ???
Modern bored wells are capped at least 15' below the surface and either a PVC or iron pipe run to the surface.
If the concrete casing is ran to the top, surface water with bacteria can seep through the concrete due to its porosity.
If you can access it, you might try coating some sort of non-toxic concrete sealant on the first 10-15 feet down.

Drilling a new deep well is an alternative, but if the deep water in your area tends to be laden with iron, it can cause a lot of issues and the water treatment equipment to remove the iron isn't cheap.
I remember years back when my wife's uncle built a house and drilled a deep well about a mile down the road from where we live now. The water was heavy with iron so much that it came out of the taps orange and discolored all their laundry.

--- End quote ---

I had wondered if the concrete casing might be a problem. Yes, the concrete comes to the top, and it's a series of pieces about 3' high that fit together tongue-in-groove.  When I look down the access hatch it can be seen that the concrete is damp starting where the first seam is. The well company that worked on it applied some cement to the outside of the seams for the top two segments--but nothing on the inside.

I don't know that the iron problem is bad enough to tint laundry and stain sinks and tubs here.  I'm going to check with the county extension office, which should have well test data for the area from others.  Iron is one of the tests in the basic analysis they run.

IKN:
If the old well produces enough to make you happy, you might consider another alternative.
Using a holding tank like one of those 100-500 gallon plastic water tank to hold water pumped from the well. Install a level switch to start/stop the well pump to fill this tank.
An injector pump can be added that can be set up to run whenever the well pump starts to pump sodium hypochlorite (basically bleach) into the water line coming from the well pump. The injector pumps are usually variable displacement positive displacement pumps so that the injection rate can be easily adjusted. The holding tank will need to be vented to allow the chlorine to evaporate out.
From the holding tank you can use a small shallow well pump that feeds your pressure tank.

If you don't want to use chemicals, a UV filter can be installed on the well pump line to the holding tank, as suggested in another post. Either of these options should be way cheaper than having a new deep well drilled. When I priced a new well some 15 years ago, I got estimates at $10,000+ for a 400 foot drilled well. This only included the drilling, casing, pump, and plumbing to the top of the ground. It was going to be an additional cost to plumb it to the house.

ga-qhd:
I haven't seriously looked into chlorination, but did investigate UV.  The one thing that gave me pause with that was when my water turned up with some turbidity after a heavy rain (and after the nominal 1-micron filter). Clay particles can easily be sub-1 micron, but I usually don't have a problem with them.  The slightly cloudy water made me think it was coming in from the top again, but I just had a well camera inspection, and it isn't.  After they looked over the site they said it was probably just a rapid increase in groundwater following the heavy rain causing inflow from the bottom that stirred up the clay.  If that is true, the same thing should happen again: I got 6" of rain yesterday.  The UV would probably still work (it can't handle very turbid water, but mine wasn't that bad even after the one event), but the sedimentation is problematic for other reasons (appliances with plastic parts in their pumps, etc.).

I would expect about the same cost for me ($10,000) to drill a deep well, which would probably need to go down about 300'.


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