Sand in pump - how bad is this?

I believe I have the intake for my well too close to the bottom. I raised it, but apparently not far enough. It use to run nice and quiet, but when I opened the outlet wide open, it seems to have sucked up some sand. I can hear it going tink, tink, tink, as the pump runs. It's not a lot, just enough that I can hear it.
How bad is this? My old pump always made that sound, and I didn't realize it was sand until I took it apart and found the sand in it. Can I run a bit and clean it when I get around to it? Or should I stop and flush the sand out *now*? I have a screen on my foot valve, so nothing bigger can get in, but it won't stop sand.
Lastly, are there any inline screens available? The foot valve has a screen that has a small area, but it's a flat metal screen that won't stop sand. I'd like to have a bigger and better screen that will actually stop sand without restricting water flow. I can put it inline somewhere so that I can service it as necessary. Any recommendations?
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On Mon, 18 Jun 2007 10:26:56 -0700, Ook wrote:

Can you get the pump up to an area that doesn't have sand? Sand will shorten the life of your pump considerably and void any warranty.
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Ook wrote:

Can't imagine sand going "tink"...
There are sand filters for the purpose that go on the inlet but ideally you can get to a water level that doesn't have sand. Of course, over-pumping a well's capacity can lift sand/silt, too, where a slower pumping rate will not.
Much sand will, as another said, certainly shorten a pump's life (by impeller wear, mostly).
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Maybe it's rocks - but the screen on the foot valve limits the size of rocks that can get through to about 1/8 inch or so. I'd like to replace it with a bigger and finer screen so not even rocks that small can get through. I'll pull the drain plug tonight and see what comes out. Could it be cavitating? Would that make a tink tink tink sound like a small rock(s) going through the pump?
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Ook wrote:

No, cavitation doesn't "tink". If it's intermittent I guess you could pick up some small gravel pieces, but if the inlet is so close to solid as that it's definitely too close.
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I'm going to pull the intake up a few feet and see how it works. When I bought the house, the previous owner had installed a 1 1/4 pipe with no screen at all. The pump had a lot of sand and small rocks inside of it because of this. There is a fine line between having the inlet too close to the bottom, and having it so high the well runs dry in the summer.
Is there any feasable way to extend the depth of a well by a couple of feet? The original well pipe is 20 feet long, but it was replaced many years ago, and today the bottom of the well is at 17 feet. I'm guessing there is 3 feet or more of mud, sand, and gunk at the bottom of the well - is there any way to pump this out? I tried it once, but all I did was suck up a ton of sand and rocks into the pump, and ruined the impeller. doh.
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Ook wrote:

As high as possible consonant w/ water level would be ideal... :)
As for cleaning out the hole and lowering well -- both are possible probably but what it would entail for a given well is obviously very dependent on what the situation really is. A well service company would be the obvious, and probably easiest solution...
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dpb wrote:

Since it appears he has a jet pump setup, not a submersible, and the well is quite shallow I'd suggest the easiest way to clean much at the bottom would be to rent a trash pump for the weekend. Get it with enough suction hose to reach the bottom and an intake strainer and of course enough discharge hose to get the discharge out of your way.
ust jamming the intake hose to the bottom and moving it up and down ought to stir up the crap which a trash pump will happily slurp up without damage. The intake strainer will keep out bigger stuff that could clog the hose.
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Yah. Maybe time to make a few phone calls....

Can these pumps suck up stuff from 20 feet down in the bottom of a hole, with 10 feet of water in the hole?
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Ook wrote:

Yeah, I keep forgetting there are places that have water tables of less than 200-ft! :)
Surely could, but it'll be pumping water full-bore, too. While it _might_ work and clean out the hole, not knowing what the conditions are I'd be concerned you could just pump indefinitely and never solve the problem as more "stuff" gets pulled in and you simply create a larger hole. All depends on what is actually at the bottom of the casing which I have no clue nor any way to find out. What makes me cautious is that if you had rock or a good gravel formation it wouldn't have silted up this way. Locals should be able to provide guidance which was why I suggested them. Maybe this is a course of action they would recommend, maybe not.
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dpb wrote:

Seeing the OP's other post about a 2" well casing, it sound's like a driven well in soft sandy soil. Presumably it has an inlet screen and point on the end and sand / silt has come in through the deteriorating screen. Makes me think just driving a new point and casing nearby is the easiest solution.
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Pete C. wrote: ...

I missed that -- Sounds like maybe you're right. That's a type of well I've no experience in and like said, hard to imagine (even though I know it is so :) ) of water being so shallow...
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When we bought the house, we noticed a sump pump in the basement. I thought that was odd. The following winter was especially wet, and the water table rose so high the basement started to take on water. It got about a foot deep before I realized the sump was unplugged. We got it plugged in, and we pumped water for almost a week before the water level subsided. Water was pouring in from every crack and seem along the floor! Oh, here are some pics. They aren't very spectacular, by the time I got home the water was down to a few inches.
http://zootal.no-ip.info/stuff/2006/2006%20Jan%20Basement%20Flood/index.html
I talked to some of the old timers around here, and they all tell about how this happens every ten years. Last spring, after the rain, the water in my well was at about 7 feet, where right now it's at about 10 feet. I'll be taking soundings throughout the summer to see how it drops. We are close to a couple of rivers, and I believe the aquifer is quite large. We pump and pump and pump with no noticeable effect, as do the farmers and neighbors. But we are on old river bottom, so the foundation is on rock and fairly solid, otherwise the entire city would sink into the mud lol.
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Close. It is a driven well, but when they got it ~20 feet down, they dropped a stick of dynamite into the bottom to "make a cavity for water to collect". I have no idea what is really down there, as that was 40-50 years ago. It's an old well, but an old fellow a few doors down was here when they drilled it. Our valley used to be river bottom, so there is sand and river rocks. It can be quite a task just to drive a pipe 20 feet into the ground because of the rocks.
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There are "sand separators" for pumps that have to live in sandy areas. I had one on my first house, very VERY cheap insurance.

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Sweeet. I will look for one of these. The water depth in my well is about 10 feet, but it drops to about 7 feet in the summer, and I don't know how much more it drops with the pump running. Towards the end of last summer, it started to suck air so I'm guessing the water level dropped right down to the foot valve at that time. I can raise the intake tube some, but at the risk of running dry towards the end of summer.

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Water tables are dropping just about everywhere. You may need to choke down the rate you are pumping from the well.
I'm thinking the sand filter you install at the bottom of the well will help, but you probably also need to crank down the flow rate.
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HomerS wrote:

Most of the time I'm only running 3 sprinklers at once, so I don't have that much of a load on it. However, my pump is a new 3/4 horse pump, and I imagine that it's at max flow when it's filling the pressure tank <sigh>. I'll go for the sand filter and see how that works - but do they make them for narrow well pipes? My well is a 2" pipe that goes about 20 feet into the ground. My inlet tube is a ~15 foot 1" pipe (because I can't get a 1 1/4 foot valve to fit into the pipe, so I had to drop it down to 1"), and I think the muck level is at about 17 feet or so. I took a sounding last week, and I think it was water at 7 feet, bottom mud at 17 feet. I'm guessing that the narrow pipe aggravates the sand sucking problem. I wish I could pump out the mud and gunk at the bottom :(
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