Help, I'm desperate here.
My 50' well has a lot of very small, fine (1mm) roots in it that are
clogging the submersible pump. The pump hangs in a limestone
"water-chamber" at the bottom of the well shaft. I don't know how big
the chamber is. The driller said he "broke into a chamber filled with
water" when the well was drilled 40 years ago. This is the first time
we've had this problem.
Does anyone know of a drinking water safe herbicide that can be put
into the well to kill the roots? A roto-rooter type probably won't
work because the roots/pump are in a chamber, not the shaft.
Any suggestions anyone? I'm desperate.
Why not attack the problem from the other end... for roots that far
down there must be some trees close to your well... chop down the
nearby trees. Some types of trees (willows, locust, etc.) will simply
send up new shoots but most tree root systems will die. You might
also call a local well drilling company for information, or ask at
your local Cornell Extension, there may well be a safe chemical
If you don't know the size of the chamber, how could you possibly know
how much treatment to put down there for a correct mixture? I know of
no herbicide strong enough to kill those roots without being a health
hazard to you & family. My first thought was salt, but even that is
toxic in strong solutions.
Your best bet is kill off all surrounding trees or have a deep well
Thanks to all for the comments. I didn't think there would be a
"chemical" fix, but I had to ask.
I agree, that this well is probably shot. Too bad, because the water
is great tasting and it *never* runs dry (and I've pumped it for
10-hours per day constant-on during droughts).
BTW, the tree cutting won't work because there are probably 80 or so
70'+ trees within a 100' radius of the well and half of them are on
the neighbor's property.
There is county water available down at the road, so I'm probably
going to have to hook up to that.
go with city water, but try fixing the well for lawn watering etc.
wonder if you have a cave under your property?
I would pull the pump and send a camera down to take a look.
see how big the cavatity is
Assuming the water is safe, one could use the existing well as it
obviously is in a good vein and drill down another 100 ft to get out
of the root zone. From the sound of it, just punching another well
would result in the same situation unless it drilled below that zone
I cant imagine that roots would go 50ft. down. the OP likely has a
steel casing only a short distance down, and where the well enters the
rock, they did not use a casing. Maybe a well driller could add to
the casing and pound it all the way to bottom. Of course that will
likely be costly, and a new well might be cheaper in the long run. I
can not think of any tree putting roots down 50ft though.
I saw a figure of $10/ft somewhere else. My well is 65 ft and cost
around 2500 as near as I can recall but that was 10 or 15 years ago.
I agree, if you go with the county water, go for at least 1" pipe
running that far.
Obviously prices varry. We recently drilled a well and it came in
at 175 ft at a cost of $3600. I'm amazed whev I hear of 50 ft wells.
We were lucky, as most wells around here are 300 ft or more and a
neighbor, only about a half mile away, had to go to 900 ft.
Would it be possible to lower a rigid (maybe plastic?) sleeve extending
from the top of the well shaft to rest on the bottom of the water
chamber that the pump could be lowered into? The sleeve could be open on
the bottom to allow water to be drawn into the pump or maybe it could be
perforated to allow water in from the sides, maybe covered by a fine
stainless steel screen to block the fine roots. If the roots work their
way into the sleeve it could be roto-rootered.
That might be possible if they make such a sieve, but it would reduce
the diameter of the shaft. What I've done instead is wrap the middle
1/3 of the pump in 2 layers of aluminum window screen held in place
with clamps. This seems to be working for the time being, but I think
I'm on borrowed time.
The cost to hook up to the county water is about $2500 which include
450' of black poly 3/4" pipe to get to the road. That option is
looking more cost-effective now.
I'd be uneasy about filtering my drinking water through aluminum window
screen - stainless would be a more food grade material.
A better choice over black poly is 3/4" flexible PVC - that is great stuff!
I recently hooked up to county water but my water source was my pond and
the hassle of the pumping/filtering/purifying system maintenence was too
much for me after nearly 20 years.
Have you sampled your county's water? Ours is ok, drinkable without any
objectionable odor, but probably not up to par with what you have in
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