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Pounded/Driven Well vs. Drilled Well (Catskills, NY)

 
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Hey everyone,

Could use some advice. I'm putting in a water well at my place in upstate NY, just south of the Catskills. So, not in the mountains but below. I'm talking to both pounded/driven-well installers, mostly old-timers, who swear that pounded are better than drilled. But the drilled-well guys say the same thing about theirs. Drilled says I can expect to go down ~400 feet. Pounded says they've drilled second wells to replace dried-out drilled wells, but have only had to go down ~200 feet to get 10 gpm.
Does anybody have any thoughts on drilled vs. pounded in general, or in the Ulster/Greene County area of NYS?

I know pounded costs more upfront, and take longer to install. Neither of those are deal-breakers. So, all other things being equal, which would you go with?

Thanks!

Dave

 
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Hi Dave;  Welcome to Permies!
I get my water via artesian/gravity off the mountain.  So I have no direct experience to share.
However...
I am one of the old timers around here and I have watched both methods.
My observation is...
If you expect to hit a lot of hard rock then the drill is better.
Soil / clay / normal rock, a hammer seems to work best.
 
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I have limited experience.  From my limited knowledge drilled wells tend to be more reliable, deeper, and more expensive.   All of the pounded wells I have encountered have been shallow ...20 feet or less. I know of a person who put in a pounded well through his kitchen floor. It went down all of 5 feet.  Of course, pollution becomes a concern the more shallow the well is.
 
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Hi, We pointed a well ourselves. A tripod with a rope attached to an anvil. Pull the rope & release it.We hit clear clean water 30 feet down. We went through mostly sand and rock. Unfortunately the well ran dry after 5 yrs and we had a well drilled and hit water 70 feet down. The drill truck did a number on the property and the tailing were a mess to clean up.
 
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Driven wells are common in our area due to the extensive lacustrine unconfined aquifer under our area of NY. I use a New York DEC online well drilling database that documents wells driven since the program was instituted. Between Greene & Ulster Counties I think they list something like 1,000 records and scrolling through I saw only a handful of very shallow wells that I categorize as less than 30 foot. I include a screenshot of the only well less than 20 foot which could well be a typo, but this gives you a idea of the data provided. The link on the table under “registration number” provides the name and contact info of the company that drilled the well.

So looking at that I would say that drilled wells are far more common in your area of the Catskills versus my area in the lower Adirondacks due to the local geology. What is better between the two methods is contingent on what they find when they drill, informed by knowledge of the geology and past results nearby, but even that doesn’t guarantee good water at any anticipated depth as two wells 100 yards apart can provide very different results.

The other obvious issue with shallow wells is the concern about surface pollution finding its way to the water table whether it be improperly maintained septic or agricultural pollution, hence many localities no longer allow shallow wells because of these problems. Our point is at 25 foot and provides something like 10 GPM (there is a 100 foot well nearby that provides over 100 GPM from this underground sand aquifer). If I lived on a small lot with nearby neighbors and septic I would be reticent relying on a shallow well depending on the details.

Good luck!

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[Thumbnail for 65E9582C-3C9F-411A-A102-30A5B9A4FC7B.jpeg]
 
Dave Michaels
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Thank you all for your advice! Very helpful, I appreciate it.
 
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Do it once, drill deeper, less fracturing that opens up the surface to the bore hole with pounding.
 
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Hi!  We are now in a similar scenario - and have been told the minerality is different at different depths.  We are considering the pounded so as not to go as deep and potentially hit sulfur??  But it's a guess.  Would love to know how your experience went.  Thank you!
 
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I seriously researched driven vs pounder wells when I built my homestead in central Maine  44 years ago. My neighbor was at 170 feet getting about 3 gals a minute out of a rotary drilled well. Anyone with a drilled well within a mile or so was in the 150 - 400 ft depth at under 10 goals per minute  with some as low as less than a gallon a minute. Most pounded wells were under 200 feet and had better than 5 gal per min. I had a pounder do mine  He hit water at 30  feet but went to 90 on his reccomendation.  Ended up with more than 20 gal per minute,( it was as much as he could test for) of beautiful nearly neutral ph  water that is still flowing  with out a hitch today.  Same pump , same setup that was put in over 40 years ago. Your mileage may vary, ask around , and don't be afraid of the "old ways" The  wisdom was that rotary  drills seal the rock and block off smaller streams of water. Pounders shatter the rock  and open it up. My well man said that the hole probably caved in at the 90 foot Mark creating an underground cave that held a tremendous amount of reserve. I had less than 10  feet  of depth. of steel casing installed as they hit ledge rock at about 24"
 
Dave Michaels
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We're going with a pounder, and he starts in a couple weeks. Our neighbor has great water and other wells in the immediate area the guy has dug have been less than 70 feet. So, wish us luck!
 
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