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Thread: Well info

  1. #1
    Member Longkj's Avatar
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    Default Well info

    So I have a dry cabin in the northern Matsu and I would like to have a well drilled on the property. Do any of you have any recommendations?

    FYI my cabin is difficult to get to. 15 Mile 4wheeler ride, or a 10 min jet boat ride to 4wheelers then a 15 min boat ride to cabin.
    Lastly, I can put 4wheelers in my boat and get them across the river.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

    LONG K J

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    From the sounds of it no well drilling truck in going to get into your property....right? So were you thinking of somebody with one of the smaller portable drillers? If so, another thing to consider would be to buy one yourself, especially if you feel that there are others around the area that may want a well too. If I recall, I remember a couple people here on the forum that have done that and didn't have much of a problem finding people that also wanted water, and thus were able to offset the cost of the rig. Or you might see if your neighbors may want to split the costs at the start.

    I guess I'm assuming you have neighbors....
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    Pen Jersy will helicopter in a drilling rig.
    Costs some stacks of $1000 bills.

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    Winter access any better, ice road or river to drive on?
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    Keith. Where is your cabin? Let's hammer in a sand point one weekend


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    Had similar issues with water at my place in the Mat-Su which I suspect is easier access than yours (8 miles of ATV trail after the end of the gravel road....or a XX-minute flight from Palmer):

    - No big rigs would even contemplate (common response was "yeah, right") driving in.
    - Jeep mounted unit wanted a full indemnity for damage.....I didn't like the language in the paper work but it might have turned out OK: being a paperwork kind of guy, we never got to the point of trying;
    - Might have done the helicopter option, but was concerned about the cost of that PLUS the unknown cost of drilling down to who knows where for water.

    In the end, I invested about $7500 (outside) in storage tanks, instant heater, 12-volt pump and a rain-gutter feed system and now have water from May - late September as well as an option to pump from the lake if need be. No easy water in winter but if needed, I can use the system to fill a 100 gallon temporary tank for winter weekend use (PITA as it requires complete drainage after each use).
    Back in AK

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    Thanks for the reply everyone. I think at this point I going to try and make one. the problem is getting the materials out there... And the homemade drill working! I am going to contact other property owners around me, but there hasn't been much movement out there in years.

    Rob, I would like to put a sandpoint in, but I was told by the previous owner that there is too much rock and that I need to drill. You need to see this place, its been working out well : )

    Otternorth,
    We still need to meet. Do you have water on your property?

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    My cooking and drinking water is hauled in.
    I use a submersible pump in a natural spring (that's at the base of the bluff on the property) to pump water into buckets, an 80 gallon storage tank and to soaker hoses for the apple tree irrigation. Plenty of water during ice free seasons. Have yet to test the spring water for consumption.
    Have talked to a driller about getting a rig in. Lots of money. One neighbor was interested in sharing costs but he pulled out of the effort.
    Let me know when you want to meet.

  9. #9

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    There are plenty of portable well drillers that will skid there rig out with track rigs, Penn Jersey did ours, highly recommend them. Another one is T&K Enterprises in the oilwell road area and he does take his rig around the whole valley. Helicopter/track rig sounds like your best option. Helicoptering is usually in the 4-8k range for drop off and retrieval, while the wells is usually 100-125$ per foot. Ours came out to be 15k including the pump and we had the well put in with extra casing.

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    I have a remote place on the Yentna and I had Penn Jersey drill mine. they came in the in the winter and skidded everything in. 2 days later I have all the water I would ever want. I highly recommend those guys top notch and really know their stuff. I have not plumbed it into my cabin yet but start the generator hook up the hose and fill the hot tub. One of the best things I have every done in my cabin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marbs View Post
    I have a remote place on the Yentna and I had Penn Jersey drill mine. they came in the in the winter and skidded everything in. 2 days later I have all the water I would ever want. I highly recommend those guys top notch and really know their stuff. I have not plumbed it into my cabin yet but start the generator hook up the hose and fill the hot tub. One of the best things I have every done in my cabin.
    Will you share how much it cost?

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    I got really lucky as i did not have to go very deep. I had mine drilled about 6 years ago give or take. Anyways Mine was I think $140 a foot based on how far they have to travel and access to where they have to set up. I know one of my neighbors had one drilled the year before and they had to go to 200 feet for him. That cost was for set up, take down, travel, well pump and install and wiring. They also tested the water for me twice. They also told me that if I ever wanted to have a pit less adapter that I could go to their shop and pick one up but I would have to dig down and weld it in place.

  13. #13
    Member akriverunner's Avatar
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    Maybe check around your property for a natural spring to get water. Having a remote well drilled is $100 or more per foot plus an equipment transportation fee that isn't cheap unless you have neighbors that want to get one drilled also. You could also look into trying a sand point first, fairly inexpensive.

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    Sand points do not work here because of under laying River Rock.

    How much property value increase do you see with the addition of a well?
    As much as the well cost or more?

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    Interesting questions, the quality of the water I would think would have a lot to do with the value of the water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otternorth View Post
    Sand points do not work here because of under laying River Rock.

    How much property value increase do you see with the addition of a well?
    As much as the well cost or more?
    I do think that some people might be surprised by the ability for drive points to break through river rock. I spent a summer driving sand points through river gravel. It can be done. Here's some advice I have.

    *Rig yourself a tripod that drops a 30 lb or more weight. Don't use a sledghammer. I have driven a lot of pipe with a 16-lb sledge, but I've also broken a lot of pipe with a 16-lb sledge. The tripod method is way less likely to damage the pipe. A rule of thumb is that your weight should be on the same order as the weight of your drive pipe. If you have 100 lb of drive pipe in the ground you might want to be using a 60 lb weight on your tripod. It's a lot of work.
    *Get a drive-point, not a sand-point. Johnson Screens sells a 2-inch 2P All Drive screen, which is twice as strong as a 2-inch sandpoint screen. The 3-inch 3P all-drive is 50% stronger. If your are trying to break through cobble I recommend you go with at least 3-inch pipe, as the larger diameter gives you more pipe strength while not making it appreciably harder to break rock.
    * Use schedule-80 or heavier drive pipe. Don't mess around with schedule-40
    * Weld your pipe joints. If you have to use threaded coupling consider even using Sch. 160 pipe, and you have to put a pipe wrench with a cheater bar on the pipe every 10 blows to make sure that your coupling below ground don't loosen up.
    * Also if you use threaded pipe, selecting a proper drive cap is super critical. I would probably suggest that your drive cap needs to weight 20 lb to avoid buggering up your pipe threads, but even then you will need to constantly be making sure that the cap is tight. One advantages of welded joints is that when you go to weld on the next length of drive pipe, you just cut off the portion of the pipe that has been damaged by driving.

    Using this approach, you aren't going to drive through any bedrock, but it is my experience that you will successfully drive through river deposits. I suspect, based upon my successes and failures and best judgement, that with 2-inch 2P drive points, schedule 80 threaded pipe and a 16-lb sledge I have broken through cobbles up to 16 inches in diameter. I've had a lot of failures at the threads, and I've had a couple sand points buckle, but I've never had a 2P drive point buckle.

    I personally haven't welded pipe that I've driven, but based upon my observation of failure modes I'm confident that if I had somebody do a good job of welding schedule 80 joints I'd be able to drive through 16-inch cobbles all day long without failures, as long as my body held up.

    Just my two cents, worth about two cents.

    If you take shortcuts, specifically by using a sandpoint or using schedule-40 pipe you will fail.

    Also, remember to develop your well by pumping it hard and surging it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I do think that some people might be surprised by the ability for drive points to break through river rock. I spent a summer driving sand points through river gravel. It can be done. Here's some advice I have.

    *Rig yourself a tripod that drops a 30 lb or more weight. Don't use a sledghammer. I have driven a lot of pipe with a 16-lb sledge, but I've also broken a lot of pipe with a 16-lb sledge. The tripod method is way less likely to damage the pipe. A rule of thumb is that your weight should be on the same order as the weight of your drive pipe. If you have 100 lb of drive pipe in the ground you might want to be using a 60 lb weight on your tripod. It's a lot of work.
    *Get a drive-point, not a sand-point. Johnson Screens sells a 2-inch 2P All Drive screen, which is twice as strong as a 2-inch sandpoint screen. The 3-inch 3P all-drive is 50% stronger. If your are trying to break through cobble I recommend you go with at least 3-inch pipe, as the larger diameter gives you more pipe strength while not making it appreciably harder to break rock.
    * Use schedule-80 or heavier drive pipe. Don't mess around with schedule-40
    * Weld your pipe joints. If you have to use threaded coupling consider even using Sch. 160 pipe, and you have to put a pipe wrench with a cheater bar on the pipe every 10 blows to make sure that your coupling below ground don't loosen up.
    * Also if you use threaded pipe, selecting a proper drive cap is super critical. I would probably suggest that your drive cap needs to weight 20 lb to avoid buggering up your pipe threads, but even then you will need to constantly be making sure that the cap is tight. One advantages of welded joints is that when you go to weld on the next length of drive pipe, you just cut off the portion of the pipe that has been damaged by driving.

    Using this approach, you aren't going to drive through any bedrock, but it is my experience that you will successfully drive through river deposits. I suspect, based upon my successes and failures and best judgement, that with 2-inch 2P drive points, schedule 80 threaded pipe and a 16-lb sledge I have broken through cobbles up to 16 inches in diameter. I've had a lot of failures at the threads, and I've had a couple sand points buckle, but I've never had a 2P drive point buckle.

    I personally haven't welded pipe that I've driven, but based upon my observation of failure modes I'm confident that if I had somebody do a good job of welding schedule 80 joints I'd be able to drive through 16-inch cobbles all day long without failures, as long as my body held up.

    Just my two cents, worth about two cents.

    If you take shortcuts, specifically by using a sandpoint or using schedule-40 pipe you will fail.

    Also, remember to develop your well by pumping it hard and surging it.
    Thanks for the great information Hikerdan!
    Good to have the specifications for pipe and the "lots of work" comment.
    The river rock here is tough, marble to basketball size and well packed with sand. Its tough on the backhoe teeth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otternorth View Post
    Thanks for the great information Hikerdan!
    Good to have the specifications for pipe and the "lots of work" comment.
    The river rock here is tough, marble to basketball size and well packed with sand. Its tough on the backhoe teeth.
    incidentally, a summer of driving sandpoints fixed my bum back better than any Chiropracter could ever do.

    Good luck. I'd hate for you to spend $500 on drive points and pipe on my account, but what I just described is what I'm dong at my Cabin on the Susitna. Maybe 2 years from now I'll Report on how it turned out. Building is slow.

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    I've driven two in remote areas using Honda 2K generator and a rented Dewalt electric jackhammer. Worked slick as hell. Soils were frozen silt over gravel in the Nenana area. 2" casing pipe with a HD gravel point, purchased all pipe components at Samson's Hardware in Fairbanks. Picked up a 3/4" fitted 12v Amazon pump from Alaska Battery Supply in Fairbanks, get about 2 gal/min of crystal clear/ice cold water that's used for everything (cooking/showers/etc).

    Not sure what your anticipated usage will be (volume, storage, etc.), but this worked great for us and is very inexpensive way to give it a go.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan XL View Post
    I've driven two in remote areas using Honda 2K generator and a rented Dewalt electric jackhammer. Worked slick as hell. Soils were frozen silt over gravel in the Nenana area. 2" casing pipe with a HD gravel point, purchased all pipe components at Samson's Hardware in Fairbanks. Picked up a 3/4" fitted 12v Amazon pump from Alaska Battery Supply in Fairbanks, get about 2 gal/min of crystal clear/ice cold water that's used for everything (cooking/showers/etc).

    Not sure what your anticipated usage will be (volume, storage, etc.), but this worked great for us and is very inexpensive way to give it a go.
    Can you go into a little detail on your driving process? Did you weld your pipe together? What size hammer did you use? Etc. Thanks!

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