Private water wells provide drinking water to more than 15 million U.S. households, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But, while every well taps into the groundwater, they don’t all access it in the same way.
But how are private wells created?
Let’s explore the three main types of residential water wells and how they are constructed.
Type No. 1: Dug Water Wells
Historically, wells were formed by hand.
Workers hacked at the ground with hand shovels, removing dirt with buckets. They kept excavating until enough water appeared to exceed the bailing rate of the diggers. At this point, the well was lined with brick, stones or tile to prevent it from collapsing. Finally, a stone, concrete or wood cap was placed on top to cover the opening.
Today, some residential wells are created by digging, but the work is done with a backhoe rather than by hand.
Because of their construction, however, these wells are usually only about 10 to 30 feet deep. The EPA considers dug models to have the highest risk of contamination, since they are shallow and larger in diameter.
Type No. 2: Driven Water Wells
Driven wells reach the groundwater through the use of a small-diameter pipe that is driven into the ground.
The pipe, which uses a screen to filter out sand and other particles, is hammered or hydraulically pushed into the earth until it reaches the groundwater. Constructions that are driven by hand can go down about 30 feet, while those that are machine-driven can hit a depth of roughly 50 feet.
This method of construction is simple and cost-effective. However, because these wells are still relatively shallow, they can be contaminated by nearby surface pollutants. Their risk of contamination is moderate to high, according to the EPA.
Type No. 3: Drilled Water Wells
Most modern water wells – including those constructed by Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC — are drilled. The process involves manipulating a large, truck-mounted drill rig so that it penetrates the earth. With this method, private wells can reach depths of more than 1,000 feet.
A drilled well uses a screen to prevent sediment from entering the water. It is also lined with a metal or plastic casing to provide protection from other sources of contamination. Drilled models have a lower risk of being contaminated than either dug or driven constructions. But, the EPA cautions, homeowners should never assume that their well is free of pollutants.
In fact, annual testing is recommended to ensure that water is safe for you and your family to drink and use.
To learn more about an existing well or the construction of a new one, contact the experienced team at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, serving Utah and South Wyoming. We have all the answers you need about creating and maintaining your commercial or residential water wells.