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  • Sand Point Wells

    I've been tossing the idea of driving a sand point well at my place for awhile now and thought I would see if anyone here has experience with them before I go through the expense and work of putting one in. Last summer I dug a test hole and found water just a couple of feet down water stayed in the hole all summer. Ground is duff overlaying gravel with some cobble. Cabin is in the Trapper Creek area. I'm interested in any experience people have or other ideas for providing potable water at remote sites.

  • #2
    I don't have any experience with sandpoint wells, sorry, but here is a web page for an "inexpensive" DIY sandpoint well. This guy calculated his total cost to be ~$320. The only problem you may have is with the gravel... but you certainly wouldn't be spending a ton of money if you tried it. The page also has a ton of other info about wells. This guy doesn't live in AK but the info is interesting and maybe you'll find it useful.

    http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm

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    • #3
      Originally posted by trappercreek View Post
      I've been tossing the idea of driving a sand point well at my place for awhile now and thought I would see if anyone here has experience with them before I go through the expense and work of putting one in. Last summer I dug a test hole and found water just a couple of feet down water stayed in the hole all summer. Ground is duff overlaying gravel with some cobble. Cabin is in the Trapper Creek area. I'm interested in any experience people have or other ideas for providing potable water at remote sites.
      I've done a few. You'll need a point, the pipe sections, pipe couplers, a drive shoe, a driver, and then a foot valve and a pitcher pump for the top. It's best to hand dig to remove surface organics. Then recruit a strong friend and start the pounding. A driver is usually a section of bigger pipe with a weighted/closed end and some handles welded on. Lift, pound, lift, pound. The pipe end being pounded gets a drive shoe to take the abuse. A little anti-seize and a couple of pipe wrenches will allow you to install it tight and still revove it. If it isn't seated tight you'll booger up the pipe threads. That'll ruin your day. Pulling pipe sucks. Drive it to the ground, add more pipe using a coupler, and start again.

      If you fill the pipe with water as you drive it, and as long as water stay in the pipe or you can top the water off, keep going. When the water disappears, you're there. You can't fill a pipe that's found the aquifer. Old guys will tell you of shooting the well, literally firing a round down the pipe, to clear the screens, but the new sand points have great screens and don't need it. The foot valve goes on the pipe and the pump on top of that. The valve will prevent the water you've already lifted from dropping back down so you won't have to prime the pump every time you use it. Just make sure you crack the seal before winter so the water DOES drain back down or you'll freeze the pipe. Pitcher pumps don't work in the winter anyway.

      In Anchorage go to Alaska Pump. They're between Intl Airport Road and Potter on 54th off of A Street, I believe. They're the best source of the pieces you'll need and will have advice for you. You should also Google "bucket auger". In the right soils you can dig a small diameter hole very quickly. It may not be enough for your well but it beats driving a pipe for the distance you can dig it in! Look toward the bottom of this linked page. I use common threaded pipe and a pipe wrench to spin the bucket auger.
      http://www.littlebeaver.com/prod_accessories.php

      Having water makes cabin life MUCH easier.

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      • #4
        Thanks

        Thanks Mr Pid that was just the kind of information I was looking for. I'm a little concerned that I'll run into to much cobble but like CKinMD said I wouldn't be out to much and it sure would be nice to not have to haul water in anymore. How deep have you driven them? Thanks again!

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        • #5
          I'm on a sand base and have a sand point at 14'. Round gravel moves okay but shale gravel is difficult. I have some loose gravel layers but nothing too tough to pound through. If you have road access you can rent a big compressor and a pneumatic rattle hammer. That would make driving the pipe pretty simple.

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          • #6
            Hey trapper, see if you can talk to someone at the Water Dept at DNR before going to deep. You don't want to accidently hit a methane pocket in some permafrost.

            Check with them and D.E.C. ground water area to see if they have a permafrost map of your area.
            No amount of education can help those who want to remain permanently ignorant of facts, which includes those whom have been educated.

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            • #7
              About 50% of the sand/gravel points I sell out of my store result in failures. If you truely have sand below you they can work very well. One of my employees lives in an area of Trapper Creek that is on the edge of one of the many swamps. They have water at 3' below the surface, but it quickly goes to clay at 5', after a few feet of that it is solid gravel. They tried twice to hand drive the wells, but never got one into the gravel far enough to find good water. There final solution was to dig down with an excavator 20' then set the pipe and point into the hole. Then backfilled around it with good gravel. This, unfortunately, allows the ground water to go into the hole since they punctured the clay layer.

              It's a gamble, but probably worth trying. Like Mr. Pid says, Alaska Pump is a great source. I've pretty much quit selling them because too many people can't get them to work.
              Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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              • #8
                That sounds a lot like the conditions I have AKDoug. What I've been able to hand dig is definitely more gravel than sand. Are most of the well failures you see because of hitting large rocks during the driving or not being able to find enough water? I'm remote so getting equipment out to dig/drive a well would be pretty cost prohibitive.

                There is a pond below my place so during the summer I can pump and filter water from there. I'm trying to figure something for the winter months though. Any other thoughts?

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                • #9
                  Using water to get a sand/rock piont down?

                  I have a hand driven well down 20 feet but hit something solid. I have great water but need to get it 20 more feet. Have talked with others that have suggested pumping water down to create a slurry and moving ot object and making it easier to push the pipe. This is how they pushed the piling for cannerys in the 20s in Bristol Bay and if I have enough water to do this will a 2" trash pump (new) do the trick? This may be another way to get past the clay in the obove posts!!!

                  George

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                  • #10
                    Are most of the well failures you see because of hitting large rocks
                    That or too tough of gravel. The threads fail on the pipe even when using a drive coupling and the drive caps will curl the treads inside them and get stuck. We even tried to use American made pipe instead of the cheap Chinese crap that is everywhere now. No go.
                    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by George Riddle View Post
                      I have a hand driven well down 20 feet but hit something solid. I have great water but need to get it 20 more feet. Have talked with others that have suggested pumping water down to create a slurry and moving ot object and making it easier to push the pipe. This is how they pushed the piling for cannerys in the 20s in Bristol Bay and if I have enough water to do this will a 2" trash pump (new) do the trick? This may be another way to get past the clay in the obove posts!!!

                      George
                      My current well was done by blowing the pipe in using water and a 2" trash pump. I did it twice. The first time I busted my rear to pound through a clay layer only to get water that rusted as soon as you brought it up and let it sit exposed to air. It was disgusting. I did a second well right next to the first one but stayed about 6" above the clay layer. I have abundant water that tests pure even though the hole is only 18' deep. A geologist told me that you should always expect water under a clay layer to contain high iron levels.

                      The only way I've seen wells done hydraulically was from start to finish. When the water is pumped into the pipe the displaced material is blown out at the surface around the pipe. With your pipe already down a ways I don't think you can switch to hydraulics now. There's no place for the material to go.

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                      • #12
                        Mr Pid how did the jetting work out for you seems like as long as you don't run into any larger rocks it would work pretty slick. Did you have a jetting point on the pipe or just shoot the water straight down? Once the pipe was down did you run a smaller pipe with a screen down or just pull directly from the bottom?

                        Thanks for the Help
                        Ben

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                        • #13
                          My pipe diameter was determined by the smallest submersible pump I could get, which required 3" pipe if I remember correctly. I reduced the bottom end to 2" and used a fitting Alaska Pump sold at the time for sinking well casing hydraulically. The fitting had a float ball to prevent back-flow and the outlet end was cut to create turbulence to help sink the pipe. I used plastic pipe but if doing it again I'd use steel for the weight. Once the water boils to hole the casing will sink if it's heavy. In my case I had to erect a make-shift tower to hold the pipe, I parked a 4 wheeler next to the pipe, and used ratchet straps tied to the 4 wheeler to pull the pipe down. The 4 wheeler was barely adequate. Without pulling the pipe down it actually tried to lift out of the hole, which worked to my advantage after I'd stop and re-start. It all sounds easier than it was because I had to learn as I went. The trick is to have everything ready when you start the pump and try not to stop. My pipe went down smoothly as long as it kept moving but if you stop to add another stick of pipe? It's hard to get it going again. Not impossible, just hard. It's better to eliminate as many "stops" as you can. It would also be helpful to have a friend or two available to help. I was solo, and that was difficult.

                          Like I said I did my well twice. The second time went WAY better than the first because I was better prepared. I also knew exactly how much pipe I was going to sink so I had a leg up on preparation as well. After it was sunk I used continuous poly pipe (from a roll) to hang the pump. I drilled a pee hole in the foot valve so water would drain back down in the winter and not freeze the pipe. I then used a 6" pipe to shroud the smaller pipe and shot squirt foam through some small holes I drilled. My well works great year-round. I used a ball valve at the top and did modify the lever so that my wife can't close it completely, which would prevent the water from draining down in winter. Wifey did that once and I had to tent and heat the pipe to thaw it.

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                          • #14
                            blast it

                            I don't think I can add anything new to Mr. Pid's comments, but I can tell you what my father used to do.

                            In sandy soil in florida, I've seen him make many wells by putting a large diameter hose inside 10 foot sections of iron pipe and then he would just push the pipe into the ground about 8 feet, remove the hose, and another section of pipe and then inject more water and push that pipe into the ground. When the sand and small gravel stopped shooting out from around the pipe he had a well. He would then remove the pipe, attach a "point" and pump water.

                            How many did he do? I would say hundreds, because he was drying out the land with "well points" so that it could be excavated.

                            I was about 8 years old at the time so my account my be off a little...

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                            • #15
                              I was wondering how deep can a clay layer be. I have about 15 inches of moss and dirt then about 2 and a half ft of gravel then clay i dug a hole about 7 ft then used a post hole digger with a motor went another 5 ft and still never got thrue the clay it was for a out house but i would like to try for water...........
                              Lance
                              http://www.tcguideservice.com/index.html

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