The World of Subterranean Exploration
Reaching Water Beneath Our Feet
Q) How do you know when you’ve hit water ?
A) Drilling for water can be likened to hunting. The driller is looking for “sign”. In this case, clean sand or gravel that may be water-bearing in the overburden or soft spots in the bedrock that may indicate cracks and crevices that can yield water. Careful observations and material sampling by the driller are required for the best result.
Q) How do you know where to drill ?
A) The Ministry of the Environment has minimum setbacks for water wells from any potential source of contamination. For a drilled well it is 50 ft, for a dug/bored well it is 100 ft. Mainly the concern on a rural property is any part of the septic system.
Other contamination concerns may be roads (salt), above ground fuel tanks, grey water discharge, garages and parking areas.
For a farm situation there are many more. In addition to these setbacks, the well must be located in a place that can be accessed in the future for maintenance and repair. It can’t be under overhead power lines (of course) or trees, and often locates for underground utilities must be undertaken to ensure all is clear for the borehole.
Visit a site for free to assess the potential for drilling a well.
- Ultimately you don’t. As long as you are drilling in compliance with the Regs and it is in a logical spot in relationship to the layout of the property and the mechanics of hooking it up once completed.
- See above
- Rust color indicates Iron or Iron bacteria. Both very common and very normal in groundwater. It can be treated in house.
- Sulpher is also common in bedrock aquifers. It can be treated as well.
- If it is cloudy then something is not right. It is our mandate to provide water that is clear. Cloudiness indicates the presence of silt and/or suspended particles that can clog filters very quickly.
- I generally provide a range of expected depths to a client based on comparable wells in the area but nothing is fast and firm in this trade. Conditions underground can change quickly so if there is a range of depths in a given area I always err to the side of caution and tell them to prepare for the deeper hole.
- Ultimately you don’t know this for sure until the well is completed, developed and test pumped. Comparables in the area can suggest a range but until its in, you don’t know. There are suggested minimum flow rates for domestic household use and some banks will want to see a minimum flow rate to provide a mortgage. It ranges from 3 to 5 gallons per minute.
- If your well is capable of sustained pumping for that long then you could. I always suggest (and do this myself) that people use municipal water to fill their pools because it is already chlorinated and won’t have any minerals or bacteriological issues that may affect the colour and/or PH of the pool water.,
- Yes you can. As long as the flow rate of the well can sustain the prolonged pumping.
- There is a vast range of pumps sizes and horsepowers. If the well is capable, I generally like to provide 10 GPM to a client unless they have a system in the house that requires more (i.e. geothermal, on-demand hot water heater, pop-up sprinkler heads, etc.)
- Deep drilled wells are usually tapping into an aquifer that was deposited there during the galciation of this area apx. 10 000 years ago. This water is unaffected by seasonal rainfalls and surface water so there is no change to flow rates. If you well is quite shallow however, it might be.