Well water level dropping - what to do?

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The water level in my well is dropping, which I understand is normal for this time of year. Once it drops below the pickup, I can't pump any more. Is there anything that can be done to deepen the well or clean out the bottom, or am I stuck with what I have? The well is 17 feet deep, I don't know how much debris or mud might be at the bottom. I have a 2" pipe going into the ground. The guy that drilled it dropped a stick of dynamite into it and blew out the bottom, but I don't know how big of a cavity might be down there.
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Matthew Reed wrote:

All you can do is pull the pump and do a sounding to find the water level and the existing hole bottom. Is it cased? Depending on the hydrology and the geology of the area you're in, it's possible you may be able to drop the pump a little--oh, I guess you've got an above ground pump, so it would be dropping the pipe a little farther.
How long has the well been there and what is its history? Do you get significant surface regeneration or not? Is level dropping because of current drought or high usage or area-wide usage or ...???
Lot's more questions here than answers--you're best bet is to talk to local well folks, most likely the guy who drilled it to begin with.
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I have a suction pump - JRS something or other, shallow well adapter in the pump itself, so it's just a pickup tube that goes into the hole. I'm using a 1" pvc pipe with a foot valve at the bottom of the pipe. I also have a 1 1/4" pipe with a backflow valve at the top instead of a foot valve at the bottom, but I would have to extend it (easy enough to do). I may do exactly that - angle the end of the pipe, and push it into the bottom of the well. It was in the well when I bought the property, but the backflow valve was bad and I had to prime it everytime I wanted to use it, so I replaced it.
The well is 17 feet deep. I'm wondering if there is debris/mud at the bottom, and if it's possible to remove it? The well casing is a 2" pipe. I can pump for hours on end, but lately I've started to get air bubbles in the output. Not sure if that means the water level is down to the foot valve, or if there is a leak somewhere that lets air in when the water gets low enough (because the suction at the pump is higher).
I think it's about 20 years old, I met someone that knew the person that drilled it. According to the neighbors, the water level drops in summer. All they can tell me is that in mid-August their wells all run dry. I'm guessing due to irrigation and area-wide usage, a lot of nieghbors have wells. Also, it stops raining for a few months. The water level a few months ago was at 9 feet, I think I'll pull out the pickup tube and take another sounding. We had heavy rains last winter, and the water level rose enough that my basement started taking on water, so did my neighbors basements. This is rare - happens every 10 years or so.
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Troll.
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And what, exactly, about this post makes you think I'm a troll?
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On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 10:01:48 -0700, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

You ARE a TROLL. Everything you said indicates that you are a troll. You can not escape it. Everyone on the internet knows for fact that you are a troll. You have the word "troll" written all over you. Worse let, you're attempt at trolling was extremely poor. You win no awards for your trolling. You could have been much more creative and then you would have gotten many more bites on your troll bait. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you flunk. Go back to troll school and start your lessons over. Maybe next time you can do better. For this post, you receive a MINUS 50 on the trollometer.
About the well issue. 17 feet is NOT a well, it's a puddle. It collects contaminated surface water which is unsuitable for human consumption. Everytime a dog urinates on the lawn, you will be drinking that urine. Of course a troll such as you don't know that to qualify as a well, it must be at least 40 feet, and in most cases is 100 feet, or may be as much as 1000 feet, or even more.
Either way, dont worry about it. The world will be destroyed by terrorists before the end of 2006, most likely this August. The US government is not protecting you or anyone, in fact they are terrorists themselves. You will unlikely run out of water before that, and if you do, buy bottled water for the last few weeks of life, or better yet, drink alcoholic beverages. I know this. When the bombs start to drop, I will be drinking lots of alcohol.
Come to think of it...... If your well "expert" used dynamite, he's most likely a terrorist himself and I'd be very careful not to tell him anything. He has most likely already stolen your identity and is impersonating you on the internet. He just does not yet know that he's impersonating a troll. Once he finds out about your trolling, he will come over to your home and blast you to pieces by placing dynamite in the base of your toilet. The next time you sit down to take a shit, ***** BOOM *****
----> Beware ....... TROLLS DIE QUICKLY !!!!! <----
............. You Lose ...........
*** PLONK ***
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<snip>
So are you suggesting that I'm a troll?
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On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 11:33:21 -0700, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

Not suggesting you are a troll. I KNOW YOU ARE A TROLL !!!!
*** YOU LOSE ***
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keyboard.
Bye-bye.
<PLONK>
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
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On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 08:54:29 -0700, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

We have that problem all over Florida. The problem is too many people are taking water from a finite source. The only answer, once a shallow well pump starts working, is a deeper well and a different pump. You might be able to convert to a jet pump setup to buy some time but a 4" well with a submersible pump will probably end up being the real fix,
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Is there anything that can be done with an existing well, or do you pretty much have to start over from scratch and drill a new one? I'm guessing the best I could do is try to suck the gunk from the bottom of this well - in fact, I think that is all I can do, though I'm hoping for some ideas. Starting over is an option - maybe go down 30 feet this time.
How deep can a "shallow" well go? I think you can suck water from about 32 feet, but I don't know if most pumps can do that, and I think the deeper it is the less volume you can get.
On a related topic - my pump is a Gould JRS5, and I can only get about 55 psi out of it with everything turned off. How much pressure should I be able to get? Under load, say 3 impact sprinklers, I can only get about 30 psi.
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NM, I just found the specs. It's good to 25 feet. Max pressure seems to be 64psi, but I can't get it past 55. I guess that's not too bad. Default regulator settings are 30/50 psi, I have it set at 20/40 psi.
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According to Matthew Reed <nospam at zootal dot com nospam>:

A "pure suction" shallow well is limited to about 20-22 feet at the very most. Once you start getting closer to 32', the efficiency goes WAY down.
You can likely convert your Gould to a jet pump. While they're not nearly as nice as a full submersible, they can get you down to 100' or a trifle more.

Presumably the switch is set to cut out at that point.

That's fairly good.
Most impact sprinklers take quite a bit of water, and are seldom adjustable (like 3gpm). In contrast, Orbit gearheads, as an example, can be choked down to about 1 gpm apiece. I get ample throw off four of these units. The impact sprinklers struggle a bit with 3, and will sometimes get stuck if on the downside of the pressure cycle.
[I've tried making new orifices for our impact sprinklers, and it didn't work very well in my brief test.]
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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My well is a 2 inch pipe - can I use a jet pump in that? I'm assuming this would overcome the pressure/volume issue, assuming the well itself had the capacity for that?

No, I adjusted it up so the pump did not turn off. It ran the pressure up to about 55psi, kept running, but the pressure did not go up anymore. I'll go try it again to see for sure.
/runs out and cranks up regulator.
58psi no load. Guess that is good enough. Well pumps water, don't want to waste a couple hundred bucks to find out the pump is doing what it should :)

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According to Matthew Reed <nospam at zootal dot com nospam>:


Jet pumps require _two_ lines down the well - one a gozinta, and the other a gozouta. They work by pushing a small amount of water down the hole, which by venturi action, draws up a larger amount of water up the other pipe. Can be hard to prime.
Our well has a 1 1/2" gozouta, and a 1 1/4" gozinta.


40-50psi is considered ample for well systems. Much beyond that, you're wasting electricity.
We do a fairly extensive irrigation system off our well. Well capacity, and careful design of layouts matter more than PSI.

--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 08:54:29 -0700, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

Get the guy with the dynamite back to your well to drop two sticks next time. You will have twice as much water.
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Hmm...seriously - would doing so deepen it any? If I could just get a foot or two, it might be worth it. Just my luck, it would blow the casing out of the hole and the hole would collapse and I've have nothing at all LOL.
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I get the impression that blasting the bottom of the hole is not a standard practice? I wonder if he did this because he hit rock and could not get through? We are on an old river bottom, and if you go down deep enough you hit river bed rock, and lots of it.
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On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 13:18:39 -0700, "Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote:

How about rigging up to clean out your well or drill another well nearby? Here are some instructions you can order off ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Drill-Your-Own-Water-Well_W0QQitemZ110007395302QQihZ001QQcategoryZ47103QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
It sounds silly, but lots of people have done it.
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Drill-Your-Own-Water-Well_W0QQitemZ110007395302QQihZ001QQcategoryZ47103QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
That was really how my OP started - I was looking for advice on cleaning out my well and thereby getting some additional depth by just cleaning the junk out of the bottom. I'm not sure how to do this, or if it's even feasible given that the wall casing is a 2" metal pipe.
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