Generally speaking, a water well is a piped hole that extends deep into the ground, to reach the aquifer and pull water up for distribution through the plumbing system.
Here at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re often asked how we construct water wells. Like all licensed, professional contractors follow the rules and regulations of the Utah Division of Water Rights.
But, in layman’s terms, the construction process follows seven basic steps.
No. 1: Drilling the Water Well
Most new wells constructed in Utah and Wyoming are drilled. Professional contractors use either a cable tool or rotary drilling machine to break up the dirt, rock and sediment into small pieces called cuttings. The cuttings are then removed to create a hole.
No. 2: Lining the Water Well
As the hole is deepened, a steel or plastic pipe is lowered into the open space. This casing is typically about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, and it reaches from above the ground surface all the way down to the aquifer. The top of the pipe is covered by a special type of sealed cap.
The casing doesn’t just provide a path for water, however. The lining also prevents sediment and contaminants from entering the system and contaminating the water.
No. 3: Installing the Well Screen
Wells that draw from a sand or gravel aquifer usually need a screen. The screen is placed at the bottom of the casing, where it acts as a strainer of sorts. Water can move through freely, but sand and gravel can’t fit through the slots.
No. 4: Grouting the Water Well
When a well is drilled, the bore hole ends up a bit larger in diameter than the casing. The space between the casing and the bore hole wall – called the annular space – must be filled in to keep contaminants from entering and becoming trapped. To seal the annular space, contractors pump a grout mixture into the annular space.
No. 5: Developing the Water Well
Drilling, placing the casing and adding grout often results in extra sediment at the bottom and around the screen. To get rid of the residue, professional contractors do what we call “developing” the well. This is typically accomplished by injecting air or water into the well at a high speed, or by pumping water out at a higher than normal rate.
No. 6: Installing the Well Pump
Water doesn’t just flow up and out of the aquifer on its own. To draw it up into your plumbing system, a pump must be installed. The size and type of the pump depends upon several factors, including the depth and diameter of the well and the amount of expected household use.
No. 7: Adding a Pressure Tank
Water well construction also often includes installing a storage container called a pressure tank. This tank serves to provide water when the pump isn’t running. It also acts as a reserve supply for times of high demand. With a pressure tank, the pump doesn’t have to operate as often, so it may last longer.
Would you like to learn more, or are you thinking about drilling a new well for your home? Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC offers free consultations to homeowners throughout Utah and Wyoming. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of the Z Team’s professional water well experts.