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Lost pipe down well

 
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So, did a major fail luckily it is only pvc pipe no pump on the end we had a jet pump but there is a check valve so I'm having to pull up water filled pipe and I did manage to snag it and pull it up a couple of times but something always happened and it slipped back down. After the second time I sent down a probe to see how much further it was and that must have wedged itself between the pipe and now the whole freaking thing is stuck. It's never coming out now, but there is good news I am below the water table it's only 20' however I am surrounded by orange groves and would like to be as deep as humanly possible as I'm sure there is runoff. I sent some more pipe down to try and maybe bang it unstuck but what has happened is I think I am banging the whole thing into the silt and substrate. I ran another 20' of pipe down by just beating the thing, I guess my question is how far down below the water table is normal? It got dark on me but I'm hoping to go out there tomorrow to see how much further down I can go. This is just for a hobby farm but we would like to drink water while we're there. Thanks in advance, it's been a bad day -Steve
 
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From what I remember from many years ago, the issue is not so much water depth as recovery rate.  You want the well to be able to handle, if it is for residential use, about 8 gallons a minute, a little more would be better.  If the well us for occasional use, less would be ok.

Oh yes, welcome to Permies!
 
pollinator
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Steveabcdefg Anderson wrote:So, did a major fail luckily it is only pvc pipe no pump on the end we had a jet pump but there is a check valve so I'm having to pull up water filled pipe and I did manage to snag it and pull it up a couple of times but something always happened and it slipped back down. After the second time I sent down a probe to see how much further it was and that must have wedged itself between the pipe and now the whole freaking thing is stuck. It's never coming out now, but there is good news I am below the water table it's only 20' however I am surrounded by orange groves and would like to be as deep as humanly possible as I'm sure there is runoff. I sent some more pipe down to try and maybe bang it unstuck but what has happened is I think I am banging the whole thing into the silt and substrate. I ran another 20' of pipe down by just beating the thing, I guess my question is how far down below the water table is normal? It got dark on me but I'm hoping to go out there tomorrow to see how much further down I can go. This is just for a hobby farm but we would like to drink water while we're there. Thanks in advance, it's been a bad day -Steve


Hi Steve,
So is this a drilled well 4" in diameter?  How deep is it any idea? Usually you hang the pump at a lower level then water table to allow you to have a reservoir in the pipe above the pump. Here the recharge rate of the well must be above 3.5 gallons per minute to qualify for insurance or mortgage. How does the pipe enter the well? Often times you just abandon the old, run a whole new line down with a new check line and splice into the old line out of the well... It really depends on your local setup
 
S Anderson
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Thanks David and John, if my calculations are correct it was drilled to around 250' I had talked to a well professional and he thought that was outlandish because the water table is around 20' down. Right now I am probably at 100' with my rig and was heading out there now to see how much further I can pound it into the substrate. The good news is if there is any, it was a jet pump and there is a foot valve at the end of it to spear the pipe on down as long as I don't hit any rocks. It has a 4" steel casing, not sure how far down that goes. The land is paid for and I don't carry any insurance on it, it's strictly a hobby farm right now but as I trench out some irrigation for whatever we decide to grow like you say I need to have a fairly decent flow. I purchased this property in disrepair, the old galvanized pipe had broke and I had to pay the well guys to pull it out. That was a big bill which is why I don't want them out there again haha, switched to the jet pump but it being out in the weather and all it seized up on me so we're going back to submersible.  Thanks for the tips, I'm heading back out there now I'll let you know how it goes!
 
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Fascinating problems with wells!
Is it practical to send a camera down on a cable, then design a hook or something to pull the bits out?
 
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I would certainly have a sinking feeling if I dropped a pipe in my well. Accompanied by a fairly comprehensive expression of language that would not remotely pass for sacred. Yep, not a good day.

@John C Daley -- I am certain those tools and techniques exist amongst well drillers and servicing companies. It certainly exists in other, deeper drilling industries (love 'em or hate 'em) and it is completely amazing what they can do down a deep well bore -- laparoscopic surgery by remote control.
 
John C Daley
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haha
 
S Anderson
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Thanks John C and Douglas, yes I was using my front loader to pull it up 10' at a time and clamped it with vise grips to hold it while I cut off the PVC so when I lowered the bucket to get the next 10' it must have knocked it off. It was definitely not a good feeling and there is still a dark cloud over the property from the expletives uttered that day. I watched a youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgPbxGCa14g  from a fellow DIYer and he gave me the idea of this rig that has a swivel bite and I had actually snagged it 3 times but since there is a check valve at the bottom I am pulling up water filled pipe and it kept slipping off. I should have used the proper tool for the job instead of regular vise grips. I just purchased the correct one with the bicycle chain on it for the remainder of the job, don't want that to happen again. But as I was pondering on what to do next with hammering of the pipe deep down I was curious as to how far down I was already at and how much electrical wire I needed as I am using the old wire to power my RV. So, I measured the wire and it was only 60' long. Puzzled, I measured the old galvanized pipe we had pulled out a couple years ago, 60' also. Then it dawned on me, where I got that number of 270' was when everything was out I dropped a nut on a string down there and I guess that number just stuck in my head. So I am already deep enough to just drop the pump down on top of the old pipe yay! My concern now, is on top of everything else that is stuck down there is about 30' of survey string I used for my probe floating around. I am worried the pump might suck it in and seize up, I may try to fabricate a plastic or brasas grate to stick on the bottom of the pump just to keep it away from the inlets. So I went to Lowes to get some threaded schedule 80 and it is non existent, I didn't want to wait and everywhere I looked on the internet said to not use schedule 40 and definitely don't use couplers with pipe cement. So as I was looking through the manual of the submersible they said that it was OK to use 1" black polypro, and as luck would have it lowes had a 100' in stock at my store I never would have thought to use that for a well has anyone ever heard of that? So, I bought the brass fittings hose clamps and everything else and will probably save it for next weekend. I'll try and take some pictures next time but I think I am in the clear now! I hope this polypro works out, I'm all for a single run and it's good to 160 psi and I got the torque arrestor per the manual. I'm worried about the hose clamp on the pump rusting once it's down there, I didn't think of that when I bought them. Anyway, thanks again for all the comments and I will let you know how it turns out with some pictures hopefully. Cheers!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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You know, if you could find the old pipe and run compressed air down there, it would almost be buoyant as a result, and much easier to pull. Just a thought.
 
John C Daley
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Can you drop down something like a group of fishing hooks to retrieve the string?
I am worried it may snag something.
 
S Anderson
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Wow Doug I wish I would have thought of that when it broke the surface I have a lot of air hose but it's a lost cause now I am equally as worried about the string. I have an excess of 3/4" pipe I was thinking of maybe putting a hole saw bit on the end of it and once it reaches the bottom connect the other end to my drill and hopefully shred it to bits. But then I'd be faced with the same problem of those bits getting sucked into the inlet of the pump. I may just take the risk, if it does get gummed up it will be much easier to pull up using the polypro pipe than that schedule 80 that's for sure. Thanks for all the tips everyone really appreciate it!
 
S Anderson
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Hello again my friends, finally got the pump down the well today and connected up to the power and I guess my heat shrink skills are good enough to where it pumped up some water yay! Here are some pictures as promised thanks again for all the tips and support 👍 if you take a look at where the water is shooting out it started sucking up muck I am assuming since I didnt have the pressure tank connected I probably pumped out so much water it was dredging up sludge I just wanted to test my heat shrink connections before I closed it all up. Have a good one!
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S Anderson
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I did install a torque arrestor on the end, took the photo prior to that so don't be worried ha! Here is the dirty water I was talking about, forgot to add that to the other post
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