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Water Well

Decisions about the need for a water well and or septic tank were considered before you bought your lot. These were some of the most important Lot Selection Criteria you looked at in choosing your lot. So it will come as no surprise to you that this lot requires a well! On the other hand, if you inherited the land from a long lost uncle . . .

If you're going to have a water well, you have the choice of drilling first - before construction on the home begins, or last - after everything else is completed. First is by far the best choice. You'll need water during construction so you might as well get it in first.

Plumbing systems need to be tested and will require water under pressure. If rock is encountered during the drilling, the use of explosives may be required. Best not to rock your new home by shooting off a charge of ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) and fuel oil nearby.

The location of the well

There are required distances from the septic tank and drain field. You'll want it close to the house because of the cost of running the water line and the cost of pumping. The further you have to pump, the bigger the pump needs to be. Access to the well site is important.

Drilling RigDrilling equipment has to be brought in and there has to be plenty of clearance from any overhead or underground power lines. Find out from the local power utility (if any) if there are underground lines in the area. If so, get them to come out and clearly mark their location(s) before drilling commences.

There may need to be some clearing of trees to get the equipment to the well site and operate properly. Remember, you can't locate your well on a steep slope because it not be possible to set up the drilling equipment safely.


Water Well Drillilng Costs

Like everything else in owner building, water well drilling costs are dependent on a variety of factors - access to the drilling site, the presence of rock, how deep you have to drill to get an adequate flow are among the most importane. As with all your cost estimates, try to get three quotes and get your subs to spell out in detail what is covered, what unforseen conditions that may arise and cause cost overruns, and so forth. Water well pumps are an area for a good healthy cost discussion with your sub. Look at all your options here, and check in with web sites specializing in this equipment to see what the latest is and what costs you might expect to pay.

Water Well Subcontractor

Find a good, reliable well sub who has worked in the area (see Finding and Working With Subcontractors) and work closely with him so that there are no surprises. Walk the job site with your sub and talk about the site for the well.

Be prepared to show him the exact location of the home any outbuildings as well as the drive and any other outdoor features, like the plans for your future swimming pool. Also talk about the required distance between the well and the septic tank and drain field if these are required on your site.

Ask him about his experience with rock in the area. How deep he expects to have to go to get the water you require. What kind of flow rate you can expect and how that compares to average water usage for homes and families your size. What he expects as far as clarity and purity and what his solutions if either of these are unacceptable.


If your municipal authority licenses and inspects well construction, make sure all the required inspections are made. Try to be there when the inspector is there and don't be afraid to ask questions. If the inspector seems hesitant or concerned, find out why. This is going to be your children's drinking water, for goodness sakes!

If there is no municipal inspection, get your county agent to recommend someone competent to do the job. There are a lot of technical details that have to be right for a safe dependable well installation. Things like sealing the well to prevent contamination from rain runoff, other surface contaminants, insects, and vermin.

Teaching you to confidently supervise or inspect this work is beyond the scope or this site. There is of course more technical information on the web, but this is one case where you are well advised to get some expert help!


Once your well is dug, get the water tested for clarity and purity. And have your well tested regularly. You want it to be within acceptable limits for both bacteria and toxins. This is especially true if you have a septic tank system or farm animals. Cloudy water can be more of a problem.

In most cases, the cloudiness clears up after the well has pumped for a few days. Here is another case where you need to prepare yourself. Talk to your sub, the building official, and neighbors - if possible.

Here's a good site from Ohio's Department of Natural Resources explaining more about how your well works


For additional insight into Materials Suppliers,
see Lesson Fourteen of our online course
Successful Home Contracting

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