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Old 06-23-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Locating a well- urgent


A good friend of mine bought a house at the same time I did. His is out in the county, so he has a private well. He thought the well head was located under his house and he never did any real checking. His pump has died this week and he has discovered that's not his well head, and he actually has NO clue where it is. The county health department does not know, the county assessor has no idea, and he has no idea.

When I lived out in the county, the wells had a stand-pipe sticking two feet out of the ground above the tank with a latch on it. His home was built in 1978, but I would think it would be the same. Anyway, he's about to pay several thousand for a contractor to excavate his yard to find it. Any ideas? Tile probe? We followed the main out back thru the foundation but after that we have no clue.

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Old 06-23-2011, 02:41 PM   #2
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Locating a well- urgent


Submersible pump, I assume? The power should follow the water line to the well, so it might be worth a few calls to some local electical contractors, to see if they think they can chase the line that deep. Depending on where you are located, it may be 5-6' deep, but, if in wamer climate, perhaps not as deep. Only other thought, which I happen to believe in, but others don't, is trying to witch it. Before tearing up the yard though, he might want to consider a new well, because, if the head is covered, I doubt that it is to code, which may be one of the reasons that the county could not help.


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Old 06-23-2011, 02:44 PM   #3
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Locating a well- urgent


We're in Indiana. Following the electric doesn't lead us anymore than the plumbing does. Is there a standard distance the well should be from a one-story house?
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:02 PM   #4
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Locating a well- urgent


Many older wells (mine included) do not have a stickup well head (known around here as a pitless adapter). My well has a concrete enclosure buried about three feet deep, with a steel cover. You can sometimes locate the steel cover using a metal detector. There is no standard distance the well is from the house, it could be on the edge of the property. How about tracing the incoming water line, probably plastic, from the house. At least you avoid digging randomly.
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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Locating a well- urgent


I do not know about the distance from the house, but assume that there is a minimum distance that it must be from the septic tanks and field, which you should be able to ascertain with a quick call to your local jurisiction, although that could have changed in the past 33 years. Since the head is not visible, I would pay close attention to areas that may have been regraded since the original installation.
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:14 PM   #6
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I assume you can find the pipe going out through the basement wall to the well. House built in 1978, probaly 1" black poly. Cut the pipe at the basement wall (leave enough to reconnect). Send a electricians steel snake out till it is obstructed (has hit a 90 degree elbow at the well). Pull the tape back and measure it. Now you know how far the well is from the house wall. Outside swing an arc use the found measurement as the radius. Use a metal detector and/or probe along that line.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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My last house wasn't exactly up to code,, contractor showed up with his backhoe, well cover was down less then a foot. The property line was like 20' from the side of the house, so it cut down on the guessing. I wouldn't go cutting the supply line though. I remember measuring where the supply came into the basement and using that as a guesstimate of how far under the ground the line was buried. Mine ended up not being as far under as the feed line.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:28 PM   #8
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If/when you find the well, make sure you get the water quality tested. Old submersible well pumps (pre-1980) can leak PCB's into the water supply.
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:47 AM   #9
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I would look for a company that does underground utility locating. They can hang a transmitter on the electrical supply and should be able to trace the wire with a receiver. It would be a lot cheaper than playing hide and seek with a backhoe.

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