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Old 02-10-2017, 01:50 AM   #1
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Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


Hello, and thank you for reading this. We would like to get our well functioning. The first thing we need to do is pump out the standing water so that we can get a fresh sample for testing. I put a line down with a cup and pulled up a sample, the water looks and smells great, I wanted to drink it but held off, would start off using this for irrigation but might want to consider hooking it into our house. We would like to have both a hand pump and an electric, but probably would start with just the hand pump for testing and so forth (to hold costs down), unless there's a better way to go about this. What I would like to do ultimately is have both a shallow-well electrical and a pitcher pump emerging from the same well cap. Is that possible?

The well is a glazed ceramic-casing, inner diameter is ~6", outer diameter considerably more because the ceramic is very thick-- it's at least 50 years old, probably older, but in beautiful condition. So there is no way to drill into it for a separate outlet for each pump. There is currently no cap-- just a rock on top. The top of the water level is 10 feet below the top of the casing (which is ~30 in above ground). The bottom of the well is ~20 feet below top of casing. We have not been able to test for refresh/flow.

Can a person test the well flow using just a hand pump? What about pumping out the standing water to get a fresh sample?

I see that there are external electric pumps available that are self-contained with a 5gal or greater pressurized tank. Assuming the flow rate of the well is sufficient, would such a pump/tank be appropriate to run hoses out to the field and garden for (drip) irrigation? If not, what sort of electrical pump is appropriate? We don't have a large storage container to pump into, but we do have a number of 55-gal drums we could hook up in series if we need to create a reservoir-- the garden and field are both on a gradual slope downhill from the well so gravity feed is possible.

I want to get started asap on this so that I don't have to keep using chlorinated city water on our garden-- the plants hate it and we hate the cost and the chemicals. We are preparing a 1/4 acre plot to grow watermelons this year and need this water. This forum helped me out immensely, on a different subject, when we first bought this place more than a year ago. Thank you for any thoughts.

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Old 02-10-2017, 09:19 AM   #2
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


Hand pump can not pump enough volume for valid flow test.
I would drop a temp line down the top and run an electric pump to test. You could use a shallow well pump and prime it or drop a submersible down.

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Old 02-10-2017, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


Bore a second hole for the second source.

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Old 02-10-2017, 04:36 PM   #4
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


Hand pumps only draw about 25' and trying to water 1/4 acre garden would be a lot of pumping, even with storage tanks. You can use any number of types of electric pumps but you will need to establish the refresh capacity of the well. Well drillers usually draw for an hour at a set gpm then remeasure the water level. Additionally, you will want to know the ability of the well to maintain itself throughout the year. As I recall, watermelons require a lot of water and you will need that water in the middle of the summer which might be the wells slowest period.

Shallow wells can be greatly affected by surface contamination from the surface. It might be one thing to use it for irrigation but I would be concerned about using one for domestic consumption, especially in an area the is built up enough to have chlorinated municipal water. Herbicides, pesticides, etc. used by neighbours along with many other factors can impact your well. As well, unless the capacity of the well is high, you will be making additional demands on it for eating, washing, etc.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


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Hand pumps only draw about 25' and trying to water 1/4 acre garden would be a lot of pumping, even with storage tanks. You can use any number of types of electric pumps but you will need to establish the refresh capacity of the well. Well drillers usually draw for an hour at a set gpm then remeasure the water level. Additionally, you will want to know the ability of the well to maintain itself throughout the year. As I recall, watermelons require a lot of water and you will need that water in the middle of the summer which might be the wells slowest period.

Shallow wells can be greatly affected by surface contamination from the surface. It might be one thing to use it for irrigation but I would be concerned about using one for domestic consumption, especially in an area the is built up enough to have chlorinated municipal water. Herbicides, pesticides, etc. used by neighbours along with many other factors can impact your well. As well, unless the capacity of the well is high, you will be making additional demands on it for eating, washing, etc.
Thank you for responding. Good to know about how the flow rate test is done. The only reason for the handpump would be for drawing a bucket for watering at the house site-- definitely not for garden or field irrigation. Where we live the water table is very high and there are a lot of springs around us (on other people's property) plus we have cold, spring fed creeks running on our property. We've been here for 2 summer droughts (that were declared emergencies for farmers) and the creeks on our property were still running strong all throughout. So, I'm figuring the well is probably pretty stable, even in summer.

In Mississippi, for all its faults, they have a commitment to people living rurally, and anyone, virtually anywhere, can get treated water piped to their street address (you have to pay to install the water onto your property from the street). So, it's not built up around us at all. However, we don't trust the creek water because it comes from a large watershed and so many people use herbicides, and it costs $250 to test for herbicides and you'd never know what you were getting from day to day. So we're looking to the well. And planning to get it tested, though to be honest will probably use the water for agriculture even before we can get it tested.

I had been looking at external jet pumps but it was mentioned that a submersible is a lot quieter, which I do appreciate, I'm worried about the noise. Do you have any thoughts on making a choice? I was able to find a low-end submersible for roughly the same cost as the jet pump I had been looking at.

Thank you for any thoughts!
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:38 PM   #6
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


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Originally Posted by joed View Post
Hand pump can not pump enough volume for valid flow test.
I would drop a temp line down the top and run an electric pump to test. You could use a shallow well pump and prime it or drop a submersible down.
Thank you. I'm now making plans with the understanding that electric pump needs to come first.
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


As mentioned, a shallow well may be affected by the same potential herbicides, etc. as the creeks. No real opinion on jet vs. submersible but do agree a submersible would be quieter. They all have limitations related to maximum lift and effective 'push' distances so know these before you go shopping. You also might be limited by the amount of electricity available at the pump site. Your idea of using a series of steel or poly drums is intriguing (if used, make sure they are clean or contained something benign). They would give you storage and allow you to use a very simple pump or even gravity to water your melons.
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:34 AM   #8
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Re: Pitcher pump and electric for shallow well?


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Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
As mentioned, a shallow well may be affected by the same potential herbicides, etc. as the creeks. No real opinion on jet vs. submersible but do agree a submersible would be quieter. They all have limitations related to maximum lift and effective 'push' distances so know these before you go shopping. You also might be limited by the amount of electricity available at the pump site. Your idea of using a series of steel or poly drums is intriguing (if used, make sure they are clean or contained something benign). They would give you storage and allow you to use a very simple pump or even gravity to water your melons.
Right, ok, understood about the shallow well water quality issues. The poly drums we have are food-safe-design and contained soy sauce (they still contained residues).

Thank you.

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