New house - how to find your well?

Hello all I've been asking about wells recently, and I know sort of where it is, there is a white plastic pipe (around 3" diameter) sticking out of the ground, right next to my garden shed (which looks new), but no other indication of the well. Possibly the last owner built the shed on top of the well? Anyway, how can I go about finding it? Can I run a metal detector around to look for cables or something? Do townships have these things mapped? Any hints welcomed.
Dean
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dean wrote:

I'd ask the previous owner first.
I would assume if the pipe is coming out of the ground vertically that is it.
I would certainly hope the previous owner wasn't stupid enough to have covered it over.
Somewhere there has to be an electrical service. You can trace it back to where it goes underground and go from there also.
Where does the other end of the pipe go?
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Not if it's white pvc pipe.. that's more likely to be for venting the septic, or a groundwater inspection hole, or something. I'd find where the water-main comes into the house, and seek outward in a straight line from there.
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Why not? All of our well casings are PVC around here . It is probably 4" tho unless it is a shallow well.
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I'm not a well-drilling pro, but IMNSHO, somebody "around here" is doing it wrong. The exposed part of the well-casing should be made of something than can take a stout blow without shattering. Steel by preference, but I'd be willing to accept ABS with UV blockers.
Are you sure that the wells aren't terminating below-ground, and that pipe isn't just a marker? --Goedjn
*IMNSHO = In my not so humble opinion
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On Wed, 19 Oct 2005 17:19:46 -0400, Goedjn wrote:

Dunno where your from, but wells in this area also have PVC casings - mine's 6" PVC. Neighbors also have PVC casings. I know that my well isn't terminated below ground, and pretty sure that the neighbors' aren't either. Never heard of terminating a well underground - unless you're capping one that isnt' gonna be used anymore. Wouldn't think it'd be very wise to do so, particularly if you have a submersible pump like myself and my neighbors. Specs I'm familiar with recommend AT LEAST 4 inches of casing above ground.
Unless you live in a part of the country that doesn't freeze in winter, the well should be within some sort of housing (many times looks like a doghouse with no opening, could be a shed though) to protect the water pipes from freezing - that should help to protect the casing against "a stout blow" also. Just curious, who do you have beating on your well casing anyway?
Recommendations here also call for a concrete pad around the casing that extends a minimum of 2 ft in all directions to help prevent surface water from entering the well. That's in addition to the grout that's installed around the casing when the casing is put in.
Dunno about bored wells, most wells in my area are drilled. All bored wells I've seen look like a concrete pipe about 2 ft in diameter with a concrete cap on it. I've never seen one with the cap off.
Later, Mike
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Michael Strickland wrote:

I also think it is strange to use PVC above ground. Too easily broken. Never seen one that wasn't iron pipe. As for 'dog house' protection, BS. Wells all over the country including up here in the north consist of a (iron) pipe sticking up about a foot and capped. All service piping is underground below frost level.
I would like to see a well driller try to case a well using PVC. The well casing is DRIVEN down.
Harry K
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wrote:

I have 125 neighbors with PVC cased wells. I doubt they are all wrong. The original wells were 2" galvanized but when the static levels started dropping everyone put in a 4" well. They are drilled and the PVC is shoved back in the Bentonite filled hole after they hit the design depth (usually about 200 feet) Water does not freeze here so all the piping is also PVC with a lot of it above grade.I bet you think you can't have your water heater and softener outside either ;-)
BTW the code is the well casing has to be 18" above grade so ground water can't get back down.
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wrote:

They dont drive the wells anymore. That is now obsolete. In my area, PVC casings are not allowed, but I know they exist. Personally I would not want PVC. Plastics have a short life compared to steel, but now a days everything is made of some sort of plastic. Stuff from past generations are still sold today in antique shops and are hundreds of years old. The present generation will not produce antiques, other than broken junked plastic. The plastic itself lasts forever, but the objects fall apart from sunlight, heat, freezing, and just about everything else. I guess I am getting off track here, but its the truth. Of course, as oil gets costlier, things may revert back to steel and other materials, because plastics are made from oil either directly or indirectly.
Anyhow, as far as that well. Unless they found another method of feeding the wires into a well, all wells have a small pipe that comes up along the side of the well casing and has wires in it. These wires go to the pump that is in the well. All wells have a cover. If your pipe has no cover, its not likely a well, and dont forget to look for the wires.
Go in your basement, look where the pipe enters the wall *by the tank). Walk a straight line outside from that spot where it enters the house and you will likely find it. If by chance you have an electrical wire finder, (a thing that emits a radio frequency in the wires), and the carry around receiver, you could follow the wires. Most likely you dont have one of these though.
One other thing. Pumps make a sound when they run. Open all the faucets in the house and/or turn on the garden hoses. Put your ear by that pipe that you *think* is the well. Do you hear the sound of a motor running? (If you have a large tank, wait a minute or so, the pump may not run continuously).
If you still cant find it. You may have to call a plumber. One thing I dont understand is why the seller did not tell you this. Heck, even when I used to be a landlord, I would show the tenants where the well, septic, breaker box, sump pump, etc are located. People need to know stuff like this. For example, if you have a well, you most likely have a septic. You DO NOT want to drive a vehicle on the septic or you could end up with a very costly mess, both to the septic and the car. Until you find the septic, DO NOT drive on the lawn. I think you need to arrange a meeting with the seller. Just be friendly and invite them over for dinner or something, then question the heck out of them.
Mark
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We left on bad terms with the previous owner, who ended up paying a load in repairs for us after a bad inspection report. I have emailed him but to no avail. I can try the previous owner next, who was the estate agent who used to live in the house.
I'll take another poke around and listen to the pipes (good idea, thanks Mark). I'll report back here soon.
Thanks all,
Dean
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

<snip>
You talking about the same thing? Go to any well driller outfit and you will find rotary rigs, the old 'hammer' types aren't used any more as being too slow, if those are what you meant you are correct.
I have watched as a spectator as two wells were put in in the past 10 years. They are rotary drilled. When drilling is complete the regs require that it be cased to solid rock, in mine that came to 66ft. My neighbors, opposite side of the valley, was only 15 ft. After drilling the casing is inserted and being a tight fit in the bore it is driven down. You can't do that with PVC. I can see PVC being retrofitted to a dug well but I wouldn't want it.
Harry K
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Well (so to speak :) ), out here the wires just go down the casing w/ the pump and are normally buried going to whereever the service comes from.
Same thing w/ the supply line--it's terminated off the side of the casing underground and buried on its way to wherever the pressure tank and controls are...

First is true, second won't be visible if the well is like any around here except at the controls and supply ends.

Would point you in the wrong direction here, for sure... :) The original well was in the pump house, but it failed and a new one was drilled north of there. It, however, was never very good (lots of sand) and was replaced by another a long ways away from that clear on the other side of the house. There's absolutely no clue from the location of the pump house where that well is...
Not that it may not lead to the one for OP, but it surely isn't a given...a lot of course depends on how large an area this is and how old. Is it a large farm homestead like here that's been around for 100+ years or a (relatively) new residential area?
....
Just some random thoughts...
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wrote:

If any permitted work was ever done, A site plan may have been filed with the city, if your real lucky, the location will be plotted on the site plan. Give the building dept a call, they can tell you if it is worth coming to city hall to look.
Other than that, there are all manner of metal and electrical detectors for locating underground services. I'm sure you can pay someone (well company) to locate it for you. In most states, there is a "Dig Safe" program where they will locate all the utilities for you proir to your diggging. It is often free. I was suprised to find a city employee using divining rods to locate the water main but dousing is considered a legitimate technique by many.
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Hire a Water Witch.
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In Ohio anyway, all the well records are public and available online. You can enter a street address and access the well log. For any well drilled in the last 5 years or so at least, there are GPS coordinates. Borrow a hand-held GPS from someone and it will get you within 5 yards or so....
Even if they aren't available online in your state, the health department should be able to tell you how to access the drilling log. Or call a local drilling company.
HTH,
Paul
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