Randall makes a good point. I have gotten the impression from
several people who have obviously studied the method presented on
this site that they still didn't understand there were two pipes
involved in "drillling" a plain well. I am rehabing a
rotator cuff operation right now but as soon as I am able I will add
a video showing the plain simple technique that most folks should be
The technique in its simplest terms is:
1. With a 2.00 inch drill pipe, wash or "drill" a hole
25 or 30 feet deep depending on how deep you can get it.
Keep the water flowing on your two inch pipe until you are
ready to do step 2.
2. Make up a length of 1.25 inch pipe with a
well screen at what will be the bottom end. It should
be the same length as your hole with just a foot or so left
over so it will stick out above the ground when put in the
3. Then, turn off the water and remove the water
supply fitting from the 2.00 inch drillpipe. Stick the
1.25 inch well screen pipe down the 2.00 inch drillpipe.
Once the well screen pipe is all the way down, remove the
In my area the well drillers and city records say there is
water at 25 feet and at 190 feet. I am told until whoever
starts drilling and hits water thats how deep it will be. Do
you know any way i can find out myself. I tried
devining rods, but not to good. Any suggestions other than
not drilling for water?
You might check with your county agent, although drilling
really is the only way to tell for sure.
Loved the site. Almost 1a.m before I've finished
reading/watching everything! When you assembled the
well head, you drilled a weep hole. What is it's
purpose? Might have dozed during that explanation.
Glad you liked the site! When you just add another
piece of PVC sometimes the water flow is a little hard to
get going again. If clay or sand plugges up the bottom
of the drillpipe then air gathers at the top and as pressure
builds the air compresses and will eventually blow off the
top of the drillhead. It is kind of scary first
time it happens! If you put a tiny hole in the
drillhead for air to escape then this won't happen.
The water that you lose out of the weep hole is not enough
to significantly affect drilling and it eliminates a
site. I was wondering, would it work to put a 2in.
sand point down in the 3in. drill pipe? Or is that
to big to then pull the 3in pipe out?
Daytona Beach, FL
It would be harder but certainly not impossible. It
would result in a significantly better yielding well.
I'm cutting to the chase, here. Gary and I exchanged
half a dozen emails before this. He has discovered a
brilliant solution to a problem. He had previously put
pea gravel down a hole and then realized he needed to drill
further. The pea gravel was in the way. Check
out his solution!
Last weekend, I attempted to take the bottom of the
well from ~18' to 21'. I tried the tent-peg-bayonet, the 1
1/2" pipe w/ steel cutter, and also placing a 3/4" pipe
hooked to water hose, down thru the 1 1/2" pipe.
After using the bayonet for a while, followed be the
cutter, I was able to flush some dark silt & fine sand out
of the 4" pipe, but the bottom remained around 17.5 - 18'.
Then, I was sure that by placing the 3/4" pipe down thru the
1 1/2" pipe that I would certainly be able to flush material
up thru the 1 1/2" pipe. No-go, ...not even water would come
up thru the 1 1/2" pipe. No matter how I jigged the two
pipes up & down, no water would come up thru the 1 1/2"
Below is are 2 pic's of what I tried next. The item I
used is a large, thick-walled plastic vitamin bottle.
How the top is cut & flared is obvious. The bottom was
center drilled with a hole saw and placed on the 1 1/2"
threads, just above the steel cutter. How it works is, I put
it at the bottom of the 4" pipe and jig it up & down rapidly
5-10 times and the let it sit on the bottom for about 5
seconds. The slit-open, cone shaped top catches disturbed
sand as it sinks. The bottle holds about 1/2 cup of
material. After about following this procedure about 15
times, the bottom of the hole was at 19'. PROGRESS !!!. The
first few times the cup came up filled with very coarse sand
& a little fine gravel. After that only a very fine sand
came up and it was a pinkish/tan color. Unfortunately, after
reaching 19' no matter how many times I emptied the cup full
of sand the bottom remained at 19'. Apparently the sand just
kept flowing back in. While my wellpoint is 4 foot overall,
there are only 3' of inlet openings. Careful measuring told
me that at 19' the uppermost inlets are 2' 10" under the
water surface. I decided to fly with it and dropped the
wellpoint down the 4" casing. I hope that 2' 10" of water is
With the top slit & flared out, it fills the 4" pipe. Of
course, on the downward thrust the flaps would tend to close
upward allowing disturbed sand to pass upward. After jigging
it up & down rapidly ( about 1' ), let it sit on the bottom
for about 5 seconds. During that time the slits reopen,
filling the 4" pipe, and catch the falling sand.
Here is the proof that it actually does worked.
Here are a couple of pic's of my drill handle. Sorry, the
pic's are a little blurry. My version uses 2 large, steel U
clamps, and a piece of aluminum angle on the backside . It
worked great! The aluminum angle really grips well. Last
Sunday I actually twisted apart one of the PVC glue joints
where the 1 1/2" pipe was glued into a coupling. Luckily it
was just below ground level. The second pic shows a piece of
steel angle that reinforces the strength of the handle while
* My old pump was a Sears 1/2 HP, 45 yrs old and needs
to be replaced. I went to two stores and neither had a 1/2
HP, but both did have 3/4 HP's. So I bought a 3/4 HP
Utilitech pump at Lowes. Currently I'm designing & building
a pump stand, while trying to at least match up the old 1
1/4" inlet hole thru my brick siding. After that I'll cut
down both the 2" well pipe and 4" casing some, try to raise
the casing about 5', and then plumb the well to the pump.
* In removing the old pump it almost seems a miracle
that we never had a fire. The two 120 VAC wires at the pump
were no more than finger tight, although no burn marks
there. The wires between the pump and the wall switch were
16 ga. At the switch, both of the 16 ga wires were loose and
one was obviously arcing as it was severely burnt. I wasn't
aware of any of this because the wall was built the pump and
a bench covered it all from sight.
* As usual, all thoughts & comments will be appreciated
All I can say Gary is that is extremely ingenious!
Thank you for your website!!! I've spent many hours studying
various methods for DIY well drilling and your site helped
tie it all together.
My methods were unique due to the available equipment, my
results were less than desirable with a 46' dry hole but I
had a great time and plan to go at it again.
Some background ...
This is in Middle Georgia near the top edge of our coastal
My research indicated there was only a possibility I would
hit water in the 30 to 40 foot range and a better chance in
the 50's and that I would either have to use a 4" casing for
a two pipe jet or submersible or a two inch casing with a
I had an old cup auger with a six foot handle that had been
discarded by a local septic contractor many years ago. I
used that auger to bore a hole, five inches at a time, to
get a feel for the soil types involved.
I ended up extending the handle using EMT conduit and boring
to 21' in just a few hours. I found 7' of damp orange clay,
2' of very dry white chalk like clay, 4' of very fine damp
sand, 2' of more dry white clay, and 6' of damp very fine
gray sand. The last few feet were quite a workout in part
due to the weight of my extended auger and in part due to
the sane falling out of the auger cup as it banged on the
sides of the hole.
Armed with my actual soil information and an assortment of
tools I came up with a plan.
My tools and equipment included a tractor with a box blade
and an old 1HP pool pump with an attached strainer so I dug
a mud pit and piped up the pool pump to be my "mud pump". I
piped in my mud pump using 1" black flex piping normally
used for garden water ponds and added a full 3/4"
connection to county water (with two back flow preventer)
I installed my casing into my augered hole and started
drilling. Water was boiling out of the ground around the
pipe about four inches high and in moments I had drilled a
foot deeper and onto another layer of hard clay. I could
tell the plastic teeth on my pipe coupling drill were no
match for this soil type so I pulled it out for a little
drill point modification.
Twenty minutes later I had my metal toothed head finished
and headed back down the hole. I used a saws all to rip a
section of punched angle along the holes and then used that
jagged edge for my teeth. I wrapped the flat metal around
the fitting and then added an inside section for "good
measure". I also made a new handle using two 2" conduit
clamps and 1/4" carriage bolts. I included pictures of the
head and the handle.
Both worked great, were fast to build and were cheap. A note
on that drill head... it was pure luck that my bolts were on
one side. That allowed the metal to bend a little and fold
under the pipe, releasing the head from the underside of
some hidden hard object (rock?) as I pulled on the riser
with the rear end lift of the tractor. More on that later.
It seems reasonable that any water will be on top of one of
these clay layers, so every time I hit a layer of hard clay
I stopped, pulled the pipe a few feet, waited for water to
settle out and checked for water. I could have easily
drilled this in four hours but I could not determine how to
know if I hit water.
After I got started I drilled down to 46' and stopped at the
top of another layer of hard clay. Daylight was about gone
and I needed to pull my pipe for another day. The first four
feet were easy with the water on. At 42' (on the way down) I
had felt something very hard and the drill head had just
worked down one side of it. Not so luck on the way up. The
top of the metal cutter got hung under the edge of something
just about the time some sand settled around the area. A
quick dash for the tractor and another hour of tugging and
twisting and the pipe was out.
THANK YOU for insisting on primer! I determined I would
either break the pipe off or pull it out. There were times
the front wheels of the large tractor were off the ground
and the pipe and joints held together. I used Purple primer
and Blue wet/dry glue.
I never checked the flow rate of my mud pump but the 16'
thick sand layer at the bottom of this hole cleared in about
45 minutes. I was worried that I may be going too fast but
the hole was clear and the pipe loose when all was finished.
That is until I pulled out a few feet and got hung under
What have I learned as most important?
#1 Use metal teeth and lots of water
#2 Use a big mud pit to keep sand out of your pump
#3 It's a good thing I'm not thirsty and waiting for this
#4 A drill head riding a two inch wide column of water is an
amazing site when viewed from six inches away. I swapped
over to couplings and glued the drill cap in place so I
could plug the vent hole and not take an extra shower. I
would lift the pipe with the hole open the close it off with
my finger as I pushed the pipe back down.
#5 Good help is hard to find! Mine just swam around in the
See whats under that next layer of clay
Go for 4" pipe to water hoping that's under 60' or so. (Find
a second pool pump)
A local driller said they used these kaolin layers as "local
instead of drillers mud.
I believe that is my largest unknown besides of
course "Is there any water down there?"
Bill, that is one amazing and
Quite a herculean
I'm sorry you didn't
find water bearing sand.
You obviously already
know this but be sure and use some kind of driller's mud
when you continue.
I'm surprised the pool
pump stood up to pumping all that mud.
If you can find a trash
Good luck and keep us
Love your Info about drilling wells! I am nearly
ready to attempt digging my own. I am going to try digging
(3) 25 foot wells and connect them together like you
1. Something maybe you can help me understand--what is
done with the space between the 2" Casing and the 1 1/4"
suction line where the 2" casing stops above ground and the
1 1/4" starts towards the pump? Is this space left open or
sealed shut? Can this area be underground or does the
well casing have to come up above ground?
2. Do you know how to treat ferrous Iron in the well water?
Here in Jacksonville Florida I noticed a couple neighbors
have orange driveways and yards due to iron in the well
water. Can this be treated fairly easily? I am
on city water but want to dig the well for my sprinkler
system only. I don't want to do it if the water is
full of Iron ferrous unless I can treat it.
3. Do you have more detailed photos of how the well looks at
ground level and how the well screen is piped and finished
coming out of the casing (etc...).
4. Do you use regular 10' PVC well screening with a well
point on your wells? What do you recommend using for this.
Any help would be greatly appreciated,
The 2.00 inch casing ideally should be pulled out of the
ground. Then the well should be sealed with bentonite
clay or cement to avoid groundwater contamination of the
aquifer. If you can't get the 2.00 inch drillpipe out
of the ground, seal the space between the two pipes.
for the top portion of the well. Say you drill 20 feet
with a two inch pipe and then put a 1.25 inch pipe down
another 10 feet. Seal the area between the two pipes
for the top 20 feet.
I have iron in my water and I have a 200 foot well. I
have no idea how to avoid it or what to do about it other
than put Rust Off from Lowes on my driveway whenever it gets
to looking too horrible.
I don't have any more detailed photos than I posted.
I use a five foot screen generally but if you are really
deep (35') with a high standing water level (10') I see no
harm in a 10 foot screen. You want to avoid the top of
your screen being under the standing water level when you
I stumbled across your website by chance and could not
believe the incredible amount of useful information and
detail you have put into this. Thank you very much!
Key issue that I have come across is that no one seems to
carry this Brady Well Point Installation kit any longer and
I was interested in knowing if you were familiar with any
distributors whom may still have this part for sale? I
could fabricate one from single components if I have to, but
would prefer to simply buy the real thing.
Any information that you could possibly provide would be
Thank you again ,
Thanks for the complement!
My Lowes and Home Depot no longer carry it either.
No big deal because a fabricated one is significantly
The Brady Kit had the same design flaw my first fabricated
inch pipes feeding into one 3/4 inch pipe restricts the
water flow is absolutely critical.
They need to feed
into a bigger pipe, preferably at least 1.25 inch.
What do you mean avoid the top of screen from being under
the standing water level when pumping? Okay
Mike, I keep hearing all kinda' hype about pump makers--what
manufacturer would you recommend? I seem like
Sta-rite, Goulds, and Myers are the front runners for a jet
pump like I would need. I would like to hear you
opinion since you have done this a lot. What screens
do you use and do you buy them at Home Depot or Lowes?
Did you dig your 200' well yourself? A well that deep
must have been dug buy a machine....
That particular well was dug by a real well driller.
Speaking of which - a real well driller was kind
enough to allow me to
post his comments on my website.
Please see "from a REAL well
driller" on this site. I don't know pumps.
Good pumps that will
last a long time.
Get in contact with him to find out what kind of pump
Also, check local regulations before
drilling a well.
The top of screen thing - Say your standing water level is
at 15 feet.
means if you put a hole in the ground deeper than 15 feet
then water will stand at 15 feet.
Water flows underground just like it does above
hole is 20 feet deep and you start pumping, something called
a "cone of depression" forms in the groundwater with the
lowest point where the bottom of the wellpipe is - where the
If your standing water is 15 feet and your well is only 20
feet deep, when you start pumping you will quickly pump all
the water out and be sucking air through the top of the
you need your well screen to be
under the standing water level.
Please read the "GROUNDWATER" section on the site.
Don't I need to drill my well down into an
The type wells that this technique produces are called
"shallow wells" because they are drilled only down to reach
the standing water level. This water is perfectly good
for lawn watering and irrigation. Aquifers, which are
typically much deeper are ideal for potable (drinking) water
but they require a much more expensive drill rig to reach.
If you need drinking water from an aquifer, hire a real
driller. If you want to water your lawn or irrigate
your garden without paying the local utility an arm and a
leg, these shallow wells are ideal.
Is the water from shallow wells safe to drink?
Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. In response to
complaints from concerned folks I have posted warnings on
the site to get the water tested before drinking. Some
folks say you can't. I got an email from a driller who
insisted most shallow wells are safe to drink from. I
don't know of a scientific survey on the subject but the
bottom line is - don't drink from a shallow well without
getting it tested first. Even then, it would be a good
idea to get it tested periodically.
Would you think if
the three inch well was was widened could you pull the 3inch
out and put a 6" pipe down the well? Or would it just
collapse in on itself?
If you really want to do it (and it will definitely
increase well output), Here's how. First drill a two inch
hole to whatever depth you need. You can't go past about 35
feet in most places. Then put a three inch pipe over it and
drill to depth again. Pull the two inch pipe out. A four
inch pipe won't go over the three inch so you have to move
up to five or six inch. Drill again to depth. I don't know
if the six will fit over the five. You might have to pull
the five out and put the six over the three and drill to
depth again. Then pull the three inch out Now you have a 35
foot hole six inches in diameter but the six inch pipe is
still in. I'm assuming you want to put a four inch screen
down there. If you have a way of getting the six inch pipe
out of the ground just put the four inch wellscreen down and
pull the six inch pipe up. I doubt you can do that but if
you can, that is the best plan.
More practically -
Get a four inch drillpipe and put it down through
the six inch pipe and go down ten feet below the bottom of
the six inch pipe. Keep washing at that same level for quite
a while to make as big of hole down there as possible.
Then take the four inch drill out and cut it off square
and add the well screen on the bottom. Put it back down and
wash it down as far as you can. The hole at the bottom will
have collapsed some while you were pulling the four inch out
and putting the well screen on. Wash it down as far as you
Some four inch well screens have trapped balls
at the bottom so you can wash as you put them down. Try to
get one of those.
another strategy - When you get
your six inch pipe down there put a four inch drill pipe
through it and wash a huge hole. Get it as wide below the
six inch piece as possible. Then pull the water connnection
off the top and put pea gravel down through the four inch
piece up to the six inch piece. Pull the four inch piece out
and put a check valve on the bottom and attach a pump.
This is all a heck of a lot of work. If you just want
more flow, a MUCH easier strategy is to simply put down
multiple 1.25 inch well points. Connect them in
parallel to a pump and you are ready to go.
I am attempting to drill a well for watering my lawn and
Thankfully I've happened to find your site. It's the most
source of well drilling information I've ever come across.
I live in Charleston, SC and have heard that the water table
area is around 15ft. While drilling I've encountered several
red clay and some sort of very hard stuff that washes up
white and very
fine, possibly what gray clay looks like when it gets broken
some very coarse sand (it looks like the water bearing sand
video) that I hit around 13ft after going through 2ft of
currently down to 19ft and have hit another hard layer. This
very solid, almost like rock, but we shouldn't have much in
the way of
rock this close to the coast especially considering how flat
this area is.
I have not had much luck making it through this layer (stuck
and a fitting broke as I attempted to force it out on my
first try) and
was wondering if it is necessary to break through this
Also, I was wondering if it is normal for the surface to
cave in while
drilling. I split my drilling up over two days and both
tried, the next morning when I come out the soil will have
about 1ft below the surface leaving a large cavity. After a
of drilling on day two, the top collapses and I'm left with
diameter hole and all the cuttings get stuck in the hole and
really flush to the surface. I'm pretty sure this
contributed to the
first pipe getting stuck. As soon as the cave-in happened I
lost 90% of
my water flow and was never able to get it back even after
pipe all the way back out and trying to start from the top
to clear the
Wow, this has turned into a novel. Sorry about that. Any
help or advice
you can offer is much appreciated.
To try to get through
the hard layer put a 2 inch galvanized coupling on the end
of your drillpipe.
Cut teeth in it like the
Then drill for a few
hours keeping close track of any progress.
More than likely you are
in very hard clay.
It can feel like rock!
At 19 feet you may possibly be
We need to know what
your standing water level is.
When you get down to 19
feet again, put a 1.25 inch wellscreen pipe with inside
couplings down through your 2.0 inch pipe and pull the 2.0
inch pipe out of the ground.
Leave it that way for a
day and then come back and drop a string with a weight on
the end and measure how far down your standing water level
If it is 9 feet or
higher, I'd just use the well as it is.
If you need more output,
put down more 19 foot wells and connect them in parallel.
Regarding your cave in at the
That big of a cave in at
the top is unusual but only because most places have topsoil
as a top layer.
I'm assuming you have
very sandy soil.
If so, the cave in at
the top is normal. When the cave in occurs on day two and
your flow to the top slows down dramatically, take the
drillpipe out and start drilling again from the top.
Hi Mike and
great site. I don't know if you are still answering
questions but I have a problem I don't understand. When I
moved in this house a while back there was already a well
there. I live in Hampton, Va and you can hit water between
13 to 25 foot. The well that was there had a huge amount of
iron in the water. So much it would turn my grass orange.
The well point was 80% plugged so I pulled it and went down
60 foot and had great water supply but again huge amount of
iron. My neighbor is down 13 foot and has great water. No
signs of iron what so ever. His well is about 250 yards from
mine. I decided this year to go to the back of the yard and
went down 45 foot and hit nothing but gray crap. Decide to
move to the far left side of the house and hit water around
22 foot. I washed it down with inch and a quarter PVC but
when I put the PVC well point I have been unable to get it
to go down to where I hit water at. When I washed down the
well in the back of the yard I had a stainless steel point
connected to inch and a quarter PVC. I left the SS point in
the ground because I was unable to pull it. Anyway you got
any suggestions to what I can go to get the new location to
go down any further.
I don't know what to tell you.
My well is 200 feet and I have iron in my water too. I
can tell you how to get that stainless steel wellpoint out
of the ground though. I'm assuming it is 1.25 inch
point. Put a 2 inch piece of PVC with serrated edges
on the bottom and wash it down over the 1.25 inch piece.
Measure carefully and only go as deep as the wellpoint.
When you get to the depth of the wellpoint, take out the
drillpipe and you will be able (for a minute or two!) pull
the wellpoint up.
just came across your website, very happy with the
information i have seen. can you clarify one thing for me
please. with your PVC drill pipe you have water in and
water out. how can the water come up if there is water
going down? i can see it works for you but i just cant
figure it out. im doing one at home, using a 100mm (4in)
casing pipe and using 90mm drill bits, im down about 4
meters but im pulling up sand but not getting any deeper. i
have almost 4 feet of water at the bottom but im sure it
isnt enough. any help would be great.
thanks a lot!
Water is flowing
into the drill pipe from the top. In the case of two
hoses the water comes from the hoses. In the case of a
mud pump, the water is pumped in by the pump into the top of
the drill pipe. The drill bit has a hole in it so
water can get out when it reaches the bottom of the drill
pipe. The cuttings from the bottom of the hole are
washed back up to the surface on the outside of the drill
pipe. The space between the drill pipe and the earth
is called the "annular space." It is in this annular
space that the cuttings flow back up to the surface of the