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Letter Re: Water Issues

I have some trepidations about water wells and altering those wells.

After reading the comments about Water Issues, I wanted to provide some additional thoughts.

A pitless adapter in a well is used to support the submersible pump and allow for the top of the well casing to be terminated below the surface of the ground. The pitless is not just a plumbing fitting but an engineered piece of well hardware that is fitted to the well casing.

Altering the well head by installing new well casing above, or over, the original casing will require that the well head be engineered to support the below-grade well components and protect against surface contaminates, which may leak into the water source through, or around the well casing modifications. This protection cannot be overstated. Sealing the well head should be viewed as an integral part of any well development strategy.

Many states and municipalities require certain minimum requirements for potable water wells; so a call or two to the servicing public health professionals may prove useful.

Changing a water well constructed to use a submersible pump is doable, but an appreciable amount of thought should go into the alterations.

The homeowner may be served best by retaining the services of a competent well driller to make changes in any potable water well.

Caution should be taken in any attempt to raise, remove, or otherwise lift an installed pitless adapter. The weight supported by the pitless adapter, along with the supply piping, cables, electrical wires, and submersible pump and the column of water it supports should not be dismissed. Companies that service wells usually have a rather sturdy A-frame they use to lift submersible pumps for service or replacement.

Also, some have discovered a tough lesson about the costs of having a well driller retrieve the internal well components, which once freed suddenly disappeared down the black hole! – D

Hugh responds: That’s wise advice. While servicing your well can be done (I service mine), it is important to know what the specifics are. I do know of a person who attempted to service his submersible pump. He didn’t realize that the well was 900 feet deep or that the combined weight of the pump, pipe stack, and contained water greatly exceeded the capabilities of the simple rig he was using to pull the well. The result was a destroyed rig, broken arm, and the humiliation of having to pay someone to fish the pump and pipe out of the well as well as the for the service that originally started the project. It was an expensive mistake.

Most wells in the U.S. are under 250 feet deep, which can easily be serviced with simple homemade equipment. Wells as deep as 500 feet can generally be serviced with rented equipment. Anything deeper usually requires specialized equipment and is best left to those with the experience and access to the equipment.