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Thread: Well Drilling info

  1. #1

    Default Well Drilling info

    I've been looking for some well drilling info for remote cabins. The link leads to a UNICEF document about some different primitive drilling techniques. If you are in a place where either 1)you can't mobilize a rig or 2) mobilizing a rig is more than you care to pay for a well, them maybe these will help.

    http://www.unicef.org/wash/files/06.pdf

    THat is the link to the jetting document. If you have enough fluid velocity coming out of the end of pipe you can cut solid rock. I wrote an SPE paper about it. I think they were pumping on the order of 150 GPMs through a 1/2" orifice. Im not sure if a trash pump will provide the pressure, but you should be able to get that rate through a big hose. I was thinking a 2" jetting pipe that necks down to a 1/2" opening at 5,000 to 9,000 GPH inside a 4" well casing might work good. Some bentonite in your drilling fluid would really help wash the sand and pebbles out.

    There are other techniques in that UNICEF series as well.

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    Give it a try and let us know how it worked. I got a feeling water jetting with affordable pumps won't work in much of the Susitna Valley. Way too many rocks. But, I'd love to be proven wrong because then I might give it a try. The description of the mannual you linked to has this to say:

    This handbook describes in detail the various jetting techniques that can be used to drill wells in
    loose and soft soil formations. With this technique, wells are drilled in a number of hours rather
    than days.

    Which, isn't what I have under my lot.

  3. #3

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    With the right pump you can jet some hard stuff. I always try jetting junk in the bottom of oil wells before we move to milling or under teaming . I think any type of manual well drilling needs multiple techniques. You mind need to bail or smash up rocks occasionally and go back to washing.


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    A friend and I tried this a couple decades ago.
    Soil comp was sand, loam, and a layer of sandstone.
    We got 20 feet down, hit sandstone, and that ended that.

  5. #5
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    You might want to check out the Horse Power required to pump 9,000 GPH which is 150 gallons per minute at the pressure you need, it takes 1 horse power to pump 1 gallon per minute at 1,500 PSI. I am working on a project right now that pumps 1000 gallons per minute at 175 PSI, it is taking us about 205 diesel horse power and we are over heating the engine. There are a lot of inefficiencies in power transmission, You can use a pressure washer at 3000 psi, but only a couple gallons a minute, 5 HP engine. Put a long pipe on the wand and you can go down a long ways.

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    I've sunk two water wells in the Su Valley using hydraulic jetting. Most of the depth was sand with some rocks and that was easy. Layers of clay are much more difficult to blow through. The water quality under the clay layer was awful. That's why I've done two. I did a second well and stopped above the clay layer and it's been producing great water for 10+ years.

    The smallest submersible pump I could find at that time was 3"/120v so that dictated a 3" casing. For the hyraulic jetting I used a 2" trash pump and 3" poly pipe necked down at the bottom to 2" with a 2" jetting nozzle on the bottom end and a 2" 90* threaded fitting on top to accept the water hose. The nozzle is simply a 4-pronged turbelence creating tip with a check valve to ensure one way flow (Alaska Pump sold them). The biggest problem with my setup was the lack of weight and rigidity from the poly pipe. I know guys who've sunk steel casings with this technique and the pipe just sinks as the sand and gravel boils out of the hole. The poly pipe needed down force. I used ratchet straps tied off to the cabin and a four wheeler because once started that was the best I could come up with. The 4 wheeler was barely enough. I had it picked up off the ground a couple of times to keep the pipe moving down. The weight of the 2" water hose hanging on the top fitting 20' in the air is troublesome, too. I had to make a rope choker to tame the hose. The pump was adequate and overall the process worked well. Once you start you need to try to not stop. Re-starting the pipe is much more difficult than keeping it going. My well is only about 20' deep and after the first go-round I knew exactly what the stem length needed to be and had it all erected before I started the pump. A guy might be able to add stem on top but the re-start of the hydraulic jetting will be determined by how the cuttings settle in around the pipe when you turn the pump off. If I had to do it again the only thing I'd do differently would be to use steel pipe.

    Check with Alaska Pump to see if they still sell the jetting nozzle. I did lots of research and planning and happened upon that item by accident while there buying a pump, wire, and pipe to hang it on. They've always been a top notch source of parts and supplies.

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    One more detail. I was alone when I did my wells. That made standing the pipe a problem while starting. I used a bucket auger and hand dug a hole for about 6' so the pipe could stand vertical while I did all the other tasks.

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    you got pictures???

    I need to re-do a well on the backside of my place.. and I just can't afford to have a "professional" do it

    Chris

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    If the photo question was directed at me? No, I was solo and had my hands full. Setting up was easy enough but once the pump starts it's all one guy can do trying to keep it going. The results are satisfying, though. I didn't do a pitless or underground water line. I have a power switch next to the pipe and a ball valve with a relief drilled so the water drains down after I use the pump. I attach a hose with a quick coupler when I need to pump water and in winter bring the hose inside when finished. It operates all year round and hasn't had any hiccups so far.

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    Prior to having completed the first well. Where did you get the water used for jetting? Seems like it would take a lot of water.

    Are you flushing ALL of the excavated material out the top of the pipe? If so, there must be a limit to the possible depth, eh?
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    The cabin's on a creek. Abundant water. Flushing the hole is very effective until you hit an aquifer. It's like when driving a sand point. We used to keep the pipe full of water. When the drive point hits water the water in the pipe drains out. Water seeks it's own level. I have no idea what the depth limits might be for jetting. It would depend on soils for sure. For riverbed properties it's a good technique. Lots of guys sink dock and bulkhead wall pilings hydraulically. Same deal.

  12. #12

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    I was actually thinking about starting a steel casing in a dug hole, and then putting a steel pipe inside the hole and using that as my "digging jet" and sledgehammering the casing down as the jet dug. Hopefully the returns come up the annular space between the steel casing and the digging jet. I suspect at some point that will start to happen. Hole cleaning depends on your drilling fluid, the fluid velocity in annular space, and the type of chunks you are trying to lift. There are equations, but basically if you have trouble with hole cleaning you can weight up the mud, add chemicals, or pump harder. Bentonite is cheap. Fancy chemicals are expensive, and I'm pretty sure I don't want that in my well. Otherwise, pump hard, and pump fast. That's interesting about breaking circulation when you hit the aquifer. Some clay in your fluid might have helped with that. You'll want to flush that once you find your target depth. The State has a database called WELTS. You can check the surrounding area to get a sense of where the water table might be, and what you might encounter along the way.

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    Am all excited about this do it yourself well drilling info until I started digging into it. The creek pond to creek is 250 feet away so water is plentiful. The creek water has a dark tannish iron look to it. Large minivan size boulders lay about the creek. In my younger days I dug a root cellar under a cabin within a few miles of the area by pick and shovel. I found one of those 6 foot boulders of decayed granite. Whenever the ex and I would get into an argument ( which thankfully for the cellar was often) I would go under the cabin and pick away. Sparks would fly. Threw out the swamp systems one can see rocks the size of houses here and there. Talking with a well driller in the area a few wells have been drilled. At 30 feet water has so much iron in it one cannot drink it. At 80 feet in the second aquifer the water is good. Now for the bad news. So far have found a drilling rig mounted on a Nodwell. Price is $65 a foot. Trucking costs to get the rig close is another $4500. Guess its time to start saving up the big bucks.

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    Hitting a giant erratic is a show stopper.


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    Spent the last couple days with a mini excavator. Digging down to 8 feet. Gravel is very sandy with lots of boulders. Many weighing in the 80-90 lb range. Tried picking one or two of those up by hand. They got my attention. Hard digging with the mini. Wants to pull me across the frozen dirt right into the hole. Don't think jetting action is in the cards here.

  16. #16

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    Digging with water is a different deal that digging with a shovel. I was talking about this with a ****ed inventive tool hand the other day. Jetting will move sand and pebbles. You might be able to wash down past the bigger ones.


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    Jerbear, I was looking over some coil tubing drilling mills the other day and it occurred to me that sidetracking an oil well with a mill and a mud motor isn't rocket science. If your jetting pipe isn't moving earth as you'd like why not reduce the surface end down to 3/8" and put a Milwaukee Hole Hawg on it and start milling up the bottom of the hole with your jetting pipe? All you'd have to do is cut some teeth in the end of the pipe and start turning it. After you've made a couple feet of hole with it take the drill off and hook it up back up to your trash pump and clean the cuttings out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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    I'm just a guy who's jetted a couple of wells but you make it sound much easier than it is. My property has perfect conditions for jetting a well and I only went 20' and it was some of the hardest work I've ever done. Mostly because the clock is ticking from the moment you start the pump and there is no stopping. Stopping means you scrap the pipe and start over.

  19. #19

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    Did you have something on the bottom of the pipe to cut the hole larger than the pipe? I'm thinking like a coupling with some cutters poking out. Maybe as simple as bolts ground off into scrapers. When I'm washing into the hole and can work that up and down to ensure that the hole is bigger than the pipe. Circulating with bentonite clay instead of water will help support the wall of the well when you shut in the pump as well. Being able to break circulation so I can add more pipe is critical. Im also thinking about starting with 6 inch that is set in a hole I hand dug as deep as possible. If I can get 20' (or whatever it ends up being) of 6" in the ground as my surface casing I've got a leg up. Then I can drop my 4" into that and start jockeying it down (in a slightly oversized hole) as I use the jetting rod to excavate out down below inside the 4".

  20. #20
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    I was a drillers helper for a couple of seasons. We drilled a lot of 6" wells in the Talkeetna area back in the 1980's. Also worked as a drillers helper running air drills for a year on the Talkeetna Intertie. While not claiming to b any kind of expert I do have limited experience on the subject. Some of those wells were pretty tough to put in even with the drilling rigs we were working with. We were using air, rotary, hammer rigs. Maybe just maybe water with enough pressure would work better. It is a neat idea. From the look of the gravel down to 8 feet it looks as tough as any ground I have had the pleasure to work with. From the drill logs in the area 80 feet is where we need to go. I would b very worried venturing 2 inches past the casing let alone 2 feet. Get that bit stuck good and lose the hole.

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