Q. I am building a new house, when is the best time to drill a new well?
When it is still a vacant lot. When the basement is dug, the excavator always throws the dirt right where we staked out the well (must be some law of nature).
Q. My builder says to wait until the house is up, and the drywall and siding is going on. Is this not a good time?
It's a good time if you don't have a well yet. Terrible time when stepping back and looking at the big picture. What if the driller has trouble with the well? What if he has to drill more than one? What if the weather doesn't cooperate? (Too wet and muddy to move the rig in) Your builder is telling you that he will have you moved in within 60 days. Help the driller out. Call him long BEFORE you even break ground.
Q. I won't be building until next spring, but I have my lot already. Should I drill my well now, even though it's late Fall or even Winter?
Absolutely. Beat the rush. The crowd calls me May through September asking me how soon I can be there. I could be as much as 7 weeks behind. In the winter we are seldom more than a week or two out.
Q. But, you can't drill in the winter, can you? Isn't the ground frozen?
That's why we like to drill in the winter. The ground is frozen. NO MUD! No tracks in your lawn either. If I can drill through hundreds of feet of solid rock, why can't I drill through 6" to 12" of frozen ground?
Q. But, doesn't the Health Dept. shut you down during the winter?
No, you're thinking of the septic installers, the Health Dept. shuts them down November 15 to April 15. We run all year.
Q. So, I could drill my well now, and have it ready to go in the spring?
Yep. As soon as you have electric (or sooner if you have a generator) you can have water. The blocklayers won't have to haul water to the site, and neither will you.
Q. What is the time table for drilling a new well?
First, stake out your house. Next, call the Health Dept. and have them come out to tell you where THEY would like you to put your septic system. Then, call me. I will come out, measure the distances we need to be from things, and we will pick a spot and fill out the well permit application. ($334.00 for Ashland County).
Q. What distances do I need to have?
More than 50 feet the nearest part of the septic system, more than 10 feet from the house or any outbuilding. More than 10 feet from any lot or property line, more than 10 feet from any easment. Also, you cannot have the soil pipe (pipe that runs from your house to the septic tank) and the water pipe (pipe that brings fresh water into your house from your well) buried below ground any closer than 10 feet to each other. And, the pipes cannot cross in any way, or be buried any closer than 10 feet to each other, including under a concrete floor.
Q. I have a captive air pressure tank (bladder tank) and it doesn't feel like it has any water in it, even though the pressure gauge shows 40 psi, is somthing wrong?
No. When you shake the tank from side to side, or rap on the side of the tank with your knuckles, it should sound hollow and empty. This is because of the construction of the tank. The pressure tank is 4/5ths air chamber, and 1/5th water chamber. A tank that advertises a "20 gallon capacity" really only ever stores about 4.5 gallons of water at it's fullest. If the tank does feel heavy when you shake it, there is a good chance that the bladder is broken inside and it will water log soon. (pump runs when you draw the tiniest bit of water, and shuts off quickly after you stop running water). This will burn up the pump motor in a short time. We need to add air to the tank or replace it.
Q. I have a captive air tank, and want to check how much air is in it.
OK, The first thing that you DON'T do is check the air in the tank when it is full of water. You are not checking air pressure at that point, you are reading a combination of air and water pressure. Here's how to properly check the air precharge: Shut the electric off to the pump. If possible, put a hose on the hose bib at the bottom of the pressure tank. Drain all of the water out of the tank until it completely stops running. Leave the hose valve open. Now, at this point, with all of the water pressure drained out, you can check the tank precharge at the tire valve on top or on theside of the tank. It should read at least 18 pounds if your pressure switch setting (the little grey box on the side of the pump, or on the tank plumbing) is 20-40, 28 pounds if the on-off setting is 30-50, or 38 pounds if the setting is 40-60. the tank air precharge should always be 2 pounds less than the cut in pressure of the pump. If it is less, add air with a small air compressor, or a portable air tank. A tire pump takes way too long. If you get too much air in, you can always let some out by pressing the "tire valve" with a flat bladed screwdriver. Now, turn the electric back on to the pump, and shut the hose valve at the bottom of the tank. let the pump run until it shuts off, turn the hose back on, and observe at what pressure on the pressure gauge (not the tire gauge) the pump comes on. The air in the tank needs to be 2 pounds less that the pressure at which the pump comes on. If you don't have enough air, shut the electric off, drain the tank, ect.
Q. OK, so now I'm ready to build my house, when do I call the well driller?
1. MEET WITH HEALTH DEPT. PERSONNEL TO DETERMINE THEIR PREFERENCE FOR LOCATION OF THE SEPTIC SYSTEM.
2. CALL JEFF AT HARDMAN DRILLING AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO LOOK AT THE PROPERTY, AND FILL OUT THE HEALTH DEPT. WELL PERMIT FORM. ( JEFF WILL BRING ONE.) ALSO HAVE YOUR CHECKBOOK READY TO MAKE OUT A CHECK TO THE HEALTH DEPT
2A.WELL CAN BE DRILLED AT ANY ONE OF THREE TIMES: BEFORE THE BASEMENT IS DUG, BUT AFTER THE DRIVEWAY IS IN; OR AFTER THE BASEMENT IS DUG AND AFTER THE ROUGH GRADING IS DONE; OR AFTER THE FINAL GRADE IS DONE, BUT 'IF THE SITE IS MUDDY ,WE WILL MAKE TRACKS IN THE LAWN.
3. PERMIT WILL TAKE 2 DAYS TO A WEEK TO BE APPROVED. YOU WILL RECEIVE THE APPROVED PERMIT IN THE MAIL.
4. WELL IS READY TO BE DRILLED, PROVIDED THAT THE SITE IS READY. NOT TOO MUDDY, DIRT IS NOT PILED IN THE WAY, ECT.
5. AFTER WELL IS DRILLED, WE WILL WAIT FOR 3 DAYS TO A WEEK FOR THE SITE TO DRY UP BEFORE THE DITCH IS DUG TO THE HOUSE.
6. BASEMENT FLOOR HAS TO BE POURED BEFORE WE CAN SET THE PRESSURE TANK IN THE BASEMENT. ALSO, YOUR ELECTRICAN NEEDS TO RUN A TWELVE-TWO WITH GROUND ROMEX WIRE TO WHERE THE PRESSURE TANK WILL GO. IT REQUIRES A 20 AMP, 220 VOLT BREAKER IN YOUR BREAKER BOX.
7. AFTER TANK IS SET, YOUR PLUMBER CAN HOOK UP THE WATER TO YOUR HOUSE PLUMBING. THIS WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO TALK TO JEFF OR SCOTT ABOUT WATER SOFTENERS OR IRON/SULPHER FILTERS.
8. WATER IS READY TO BE TESTED BY THE THE HEALTH DEPT. AFTER YOU HAVE A KITCHEN SINK INSTALLED AND WATER TO IT.
9. CALL HEALTH DEPT.. , AND TELL THEM YOU ARE READY FOR YOUR WATER SAMPLE, AND WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME FOR THEM TO COME OUT?
10. THREE DAYS BEFORE THEY ARE TO COME OUT, TAKE THE CAP OFF OF YOUR WELL, AND POUR 3 GALLONS OF CLOROX DOWN THE CASING. PUT LID BACK ON WELL AND RUN WATER IN THE HOUSE UNTIL YOU SMELL CLOROX AT THE KITCHEN SINK.
11. THE NEXT MORNING, 48 HOURS BEFORE THE HEALTH DEPT. GETS THERE, RUN THE WATER EITHER FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE PRESSURE TANK OR ALL THE FAUCETS THE HOUSE UNTIL YOU DON'T SMELL THE CLOROX ANYMORE. 3-4 HOURS.
12. AFTER THE SAMPLE IS TAKEN, YOU WILL GET A LETTER IN THREE TO FIVE DAYS TELLING YOU IF THE TEST IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE. IF THE TEST IS NEGATIVE, YOU'RE DONE. IF THE TEST IS POSITIVE**, CALL HARDMAN DRILLING SO WE CAN SET UP A CHLORINATION OURSELVES TO GET IT PASSED.
AS ALWAYS, CALL HARDMAN DRILLING WITH ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO PROVIDE THE SOLUTIONS.
** If the test is positive, you will get a letter from the health department stamped with big red letters "unsafe for human consumption".
To fully understand what this means, let's look at what the test actually measures. The test is for "total coliform". This is a measure of not only pathogenic (bacteria that can make you sick), but also NON pathegenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas. The test can't tell the difference. There may be nothing wrong with the water in the well. The plumbing (pipes) that are permanently installed in your house, have been laying in the warehousefor months, and insects, ect, have been crawling through them. This can give you a "bad" or "positive" test.
Also, this test is sensitive to chlorine, and if you didn't get all of the chlorine run off before the sample was taken, that will give you a "false positive" or "bad" test. To pass this test, we have to create a condition in the well and piping that doesn't normally occur in nature: a completely bacteria free environment.
To give a reference point: the wash rag that you have at your kitchen sink has far more bacteria on it than the water system ever will. Think about it: you wash off the counter where the cat jumped up (her feet were in the litter box) wash off fruits and vegetables in your sink, (you didn't use the washrag but it was laying in the vicinity when you did it). We live in a world of bacteria.
We want you to have a "safe" test from your water, and many times the water from your well will pass the test even without chlorination. You need a "safe" sample to sell your house in the future. It is our goal to have every water system pass this test, and be approved by the health department.
Just follow the instructions above, and if you need help, let us know.
Thanks. The Hardman family.
What happens next?
The following events occur with such regularity and surety, that it is almost frightening. This applies mostly to new houses, but existing homes sometimes have the same events occur.
1. Well driller finishes well, tests water for hardness, iron and PH. He recommends water treatment equipment that is well thought out, and engineered to remove the natural minerals in that particular water. He recommends exactly what it will take to make the home owner love his water.
2. Home owner ignores well driller’s recommendations and moves into house with no treatment installed.
3. Wife notices orange color in the toilets. She also notices her laundry is starting to turn orange (iron) and her white clothes are beginning to turn grey. (hardness)
4. She mentions these facts to her husband. He ignores her and goes into next room. (Isn’t Ohio State playing today?)
5. She resigns herself to living with untreated water. Then the bomb is dropped. She goes to have her hair done. While she is in the chair, the beautician announces very loudly so all patrons can hear; "WOW! You must have a lot of rust in your water, your hair is turning purple". Feeling a bit insulted, then embarrassed, she counters with "well, ALL of the well water where we live is bad". (this isn’t really true, but at this point it’s the culmination of her experience with well water)
6. Boy, is he in trouble now. She marches home and tells him of the events at the beauty shop, and how embarrassing it was, and can he please do something with this awful water we have? He says "alright, alright, tomorrow I’ll go down to the local home do it yourself super store and see what they have".
7. He makes the trip to the super store and the "associate" who has just sold a lawn mower three minutes ago is suddenly transformed in to a water treatment expert by walking across the store to the water softener department. He shows the husband three different models and tells him that they will all do the job. He picks the most expensive one, (maybe) and heads back home with the trophy water softener in the back of the truck. (There, maybe this will decrease the sound level). (Is that the big game on the radio? Maybe I can get this installed and still catch the fourth quarter).
8. He puts it in. It’s installed, hooked up. He puts salt in it. She likes the water. Life is good. Two months pass.
9. Trouble in paradise. Water softeners DO NOT remove smell, and they have a rough time removing iron. (He was sold the wrong tool for the job) The iron starts to bleed right through the softener. Her clothes are turning orange again. The water seems soft but the orange is still coming through. It ruins a favorite blouse of hers. (Uh-oh).
10. The sound volume increases. Just who told him that this "thing" that he bought at the superstore would work? Why the "associate" of course. They know everything. Well, I don’t care what they told you, my blouse is ruined. It is at this juncture that the husband performs that age old body movement that men do when they are pretty much out of ideas and pushed into a corner. He SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS and says, (here it comes ladies) "WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO? I BOUGHT A WATER SOFTENER". (As if the holy grail of water treatment is the water softener, and nothing else exists). (Don’t be too hard on him, the associate doesn’t know any better, either) ("but it sure was cheap!")
11. At this moment things go downhill. She now hates ALL well water, he doesn’t want to hear it, and they live in misery, take their clothes to a laundromat, lamenting to all the friends who will listen, how bad their water is, how it can’t be treated, (nobody has worse water than we do, they say) and how we wish the County Commissioners would just run city water lines out here, then all our problems would be solved.
12. So, the question is..............how can this be alleviated? Can their water be treated? Absolutely! Surprisingly enough, this ALL can be avoided by going back and reading (1.) Do it. Put money in the house loan for the water treatment before you even break ground. Putting in a well and somehow expecting that it magically won’t need any water treatment is a bit like buying a new car without doors. You pull up to a stop sign, the people in the next car are staring at you, and you say "what are you lookin’ at, buddy?"