How to Dig Your Own Water Well
If you’ve chosen to move out to an undisturbed, rural location, or you’re concerned about the quality of your local municipal water and want a healthier alternative, you may be interested in digging a water well. How do you know where to get started or know what you need to do. To help you on this DIY journey, our well pump repair company in Raleigh is walking you through how to dig a well.
Is It Legal to Dig Your Own Well in North Carolina?
Every state has different guidelines and rules related to digging your own well. In North Carolina, Article 7, Chapter 87 of the General Statute outlines the Well Construction Act, and the guidelines of this law include:
- Prior permission must be obtained from your local public health department, or, if it’s a 100,000 gallon a day well or are to be dug in a protected geographical area, the Environmental Management Commission needs to issue the permit.
- Every well shall be built and maintained in a condition that will prevent contamination of both the groundwater or any aquifers.
- After the well is built and the pump is installed, well sanitization must be performed.
Each county health department implements a water well permitting, inspection, and testing program, so your first step toward digging a well is reaching out to them to start the permit process.
Know Where You’ll Be Digging and What to Expect
Many people who are researching how to dig a well don’t realize how deep groundwater generally is below the surface of the earth as well as how difficult it can be to get to it. In North Carolina, most wells extend well beyond 100 feet deep and, because groundwater is filtered through silt, stone, and layers of minerals, you have to dig through all of that in order to access the groundwater in the first place. To know what you’re getting in to, it’s important to know what’s lying below the surface.
Factor In Locations of Septic or Sewer Lines
While you’re getting information about digging conditions, this is also a good time to know exactly where your septic or sewer lines are located. Contaminated groundwater can make you and your family dangerously sick, so it’s important to know exactly where the lines are located so you can dig your well at least 50 feet away from them. If you don’t feel confident where you are digging, it’s important to reach out to well drilling specialist, to ensure you don’t damage underground pipes.
Should You Drive or Drill a Well?
The two methods of digging a well are:
Driving a Well
This is a physically demanding, near impossible task that may be actually impossible if the soil is clay-heavy or has shallow bedrock. It involves literally pounding a length of pipe with a post digger down through the earth until it reaches the groundwater, which could be as much as 300 feet deep.
Drilling a Well
Using a pneumatic drill and an air compressor, you can literally drill through the dirt, rock, and other barriers and run as much as two or three hundred feet of PVC water pipe into the earth. This is still a long setup, sometimes taking days or even a few weeks to complete.
How to Drill a Well
Because our groundwater is deep and driving a well is so challenging, we’re outlining what you’ll need to have on hand and what you’ll need to do to drill your own water well.
You can purchase your well-drilling materials individually, including:
- Pneumatic drill set
- Air compressor
- 1.5 X the amount of air hose as the depth of your well. For example, if your well is 100 feet deep, you’ll want 150 feet of hose.
- Threaded air hose connectors
- 1.5 X the depth of your well of 1″ PVC Pipe to act as your permanent well tube.
- 300 feet of rope (possibly more depending on the depth of the well)
- 700 pounds of small gravel
- About 5 feet of 8″ PVC and 10 feet of 2″ PVC
- About 80 pounds of concrete mix
- Open 55-gallon drum
You may also need duct tape, measuring tape, and markers, plus equipment to keep your compressor and drill operating. Instead of buying the materials individually, you may want to purchase a DIY Well Kit which contains much of what you need except the PVC.
Steps to Dig a Well
This is a general outline of how to get ready to dig your well.
- Using an auger or post-hole digger, dig down about five feet and cut the 8″ PVC pipe to fit the hole with four inches sticking up from the ground. Next drill a 2″ hole into the side of the exposed pipe and insert the 2″ PVC.
- Dig a shallow settling pond 10 feet away from the well that’s at least four feet wide and run an eight inch ditch connecting the pond to your well and run the 2″ PVC pipe into the ditch and cover with dirt. This pipe’s job is to transfer clean water from the pipe into the drill hole.
- Place the drum at the edge of the settling pond and face it toward the well. As the drum catches water from the well, it will empty into the pond and flow back in.
- Attach PVC pipe to the drill and secure it to prevent leaks. and run the other end of the pipe into the 55 gallon drum. This creates a space where mud and water can empty out.
Drilling the well can take several hours to a few weeks, depending on the soil and if you have help.
- Fill your well hole with water and turn on the drill before placing it into the hole. Move the drill up, down, and horizontally to help break up the soil.
- When you need to add more pipe, remove the running drill from out of the water, then turn the pressure off. Add more pipe, and continue to drill downward.
- Once you get the appropriate depth, case off the well by lowering in SDR 35 pipe until it’s the full depth of the well plus 3 feet above ground. You’ll keep it in place with concrete and pea gravel to prevent runoff from contaminating your well water.
After this, you’ll add your well pump, let the water run until it’s coming through clear and have it tested for safety.
Contact Us for Well Drilling in Raleigh
Drilling your own well can be done, but it’s a lengthy, exhaustive process that involves having to buy a large quantity of materials, and give up days or weeks of your time. Instead of doing this yourself, reach out to us for professional well drilling and well pump installation in Raleigh. With decades of experience and state-of-the-art equipment, we can tackle any well quickly and efficiently so you can enjoy clean, fresh water into your home effortlessly!
To learn more about our services or get an estimate, give us a call at 919-291-4063 or fill out our contact form below to get started.