Well Water has excessive amount of sediment in it!

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by Joelk, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Apr 19, 2012 #1

    Joelk

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    I have a property with a fairly large garage to work on/store cars. No house or septic system, but I may build a house there some day and had a well drilled about 6-7 years ago. I'm working from memory so these # are approximations. IIRC the well is about 250' deep w/160' of steel casing. The driller said that it flowed approx. 15 GPM and to keep the (1 HP) submersible pump about 15' off of the bottom.

    I installed the pump and operated it like that for several years. I always had some sediment in the water, sometimes worse than others and the driller said it would probably go away once more water was pumped from it. After the problem had persisted for a couple years, the driller suggested that I turn the water on and let it run over the weekend. I did, and it seemed to help, but only for a limited period of time and was soon back to about the same amount of sediment as before. I have run the water for 12-24 hours straight several more times since them, with the same results.

    Last year I pulled the pump. The pipe was wet for about 120' above the pump. Since I had such a large water column, I lifted the pump up about 15' further. This seemed like it might have slightly reduced the amount of silt, but there is still an excessive amount.

    I installed a 10 x 4.5 whole house filter with a clear housing, about a month ago. As soon as turned the water back on, the filter discolored as quickly at the water filled the filter. The filter is now so full that it is acting as a significant restriction and will need to replaced/backflushed(not sure if I can backflush the filter I have) soon.

    Any opinions on why I have so much sediment in the water?

    Would raising the pump furher help any?

    Is there anything I can do to the well to reduce the amount of sediment it puts out?

    Any recommendations on a filter that I can clean/backflush and not need to replace so frequently?

    Thanks, Joel
     
  2. Apr 20, 2012 #2

    waterwelldude

    waterwelldude

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    The well make 15gpm.
    How many gpm is the pump?

    If the pump is 10gpm or less, raising it up should not cause any problems.
    Sediment filters, I'm not too fond of them.
    If the sediment does not clear up after running the pump for 24 hours, chances are it may never clear completely.

    For some of the really bad cases, I have seen some use a water heater. The water goes in the top and out the top. Once a month the water heater is drained out the bottom and flushed of any build up in the tank.
    This is done before the main pressure tank.

    It may be worth a try depending on how bad you problem is.
     
  3. Apr 20, 2012 #3

    speedbump

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    I'm not fond of those little filters either.

    Have you determined what this sediment is? What size the particles are?

    If you squeeze it, does it smash or stay the same. Silt or sand?

    If it's large enough a sand filter might trap it. You can build a manual backwash to dump out the trapped material.
     
  4. Apr 21, 2012 #4

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The water has run for > 24 hours straight several times so I am "afraid" the sediment problem will never go away. What would cause this?

    I'm not sure of the pump GPM, but IIRC I think it is more than 10 GPM, perhaps 12. I do have 1" instead of 1 1/4" line running from the pump to the pressure tank so that may restrict it to less than 10 GPM.

    I think the pump is currently 30' off the bottom. Any likelyhood that raising it more will help a significant amount? If so, how high should I raise it?

    I would be content with the current filter if the situation was that I could change the element every 3 - 6 months, but it looks like it will probably need to be changed once a month or sooner, the way it is filling up and restricting now. Even a 20 x 4.5 would probably fill pretty quickly.

    The sediment DOES NOT look/feel like SAND, it is reddish like Iron or Clay color and I think silt would be a good description. It does smash up some when squeezed.

    I kind of like the like the idea of using a water heater as a "sediment trap", but I don't have room for a large water heater the way I currently have things plumbed. Would a 3' tall water heater work OK or does it need to be a "full size" model?

    Any other common (and fairly cheap) types of tanks that I could use instead of a water heater?

    I am not familiar with sand filters so I don't know if one of them might work for this material or not. It seems like the particle size is a lot smaller than most sand. If you think one might work for me, could you please link to one that might be suitable. I can only fit something that is about 3' tall.
     
  5. Apr 21, 2012 #5

    speedbump

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    It may be clay that your seeing. I would do a test with a 5 gallon bucket to see how long it takes for the stuff to settle to the bottom. If it's too light, it will probably not work just passing through a tank. It would take some kind of media, like sand to trap those little particles.
     
  6. Apr 21, 2012 #6

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    I fooled around with some of the sediment this morning. It feels soft and kind of slimmy, almost oily.

    I got a used fiberglass pressure tank from a buddy this morning that I think I may try to modify to use as a Sediment Bowl type of tank. If it does not work I will not have a lot invested in it, so I think I will give it a try.
     
  7. Apr 21, 2012 #7

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    Sounds like clay to me. There is lots of that underground. Your driller should have cased it off.
     
  8. Apr 21, 2012 #8

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    The driller cased about 160'.

    So I assume you are saying he should have cased more?

    How does the driller know when to stop casing?

    Could more casing be installed now?
     
  9. Apr 22, 2012 #9

    speedbump

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    It would be my guess that he stopped short of where he should cased to.

    The driller is supposed to know these things. It's what they learn by drilling in their area. If I were to go into your area and start drilling, I wouldn't know where to stop, but I think I would have known by the cuttings below the 160' that more casing was needed.
     
  10. Apr 22, 2012 #10

    Joelk

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    I assumed it was something the driller should know from experience and from observation of what came out as he was drilling.

    I was there when the well was drilled, but I no longer remember why he told me he stopped casing when he did.

    Could and should more casing still be installed now? If so, is there any way to know how much more casing to install?

    Any probability that this will eventually "flush out" and go away on it's own?

    Any probability that raising the pump higher would help? If so, how much should I raise it?
     
  11. Apr 22, 2012 #11

    speedbump

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    The driller should have known. Whether he can add more casing would be up to him. I don't know what method he used. The amount that he should add if he can; only he knows.

    From what your telling us, it doesn't sound like it's going to clear up.

    Raising the pump won't help a bit.
     
  12. Apr 30, 2012 #12

    waterwelldude

    waterwelldude

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    Do you have the well log?
    Knowing how it was drilled would be a big help.
    Raising the pump may or may not help. Without the log information, it is hard to say what can and can not be done to the well.
    The log will have why he only set casing where he did, what size screen, and how much.
    Depending on the way the well was drilled, you may not be able to do anything to the well you have, ie= more casing, better screen or smaller size screen.
     
  13. Apr 30, 2012 #13

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    I do not have a Well Log. Just what the driller wrote in the cap and notes that I took while they were there drilling.

    I installed the pump and there is no screen on it.

    I talked to the driller over the weekend and he said that this is a fairly common problem in my area and this sediment is simply in the water that supplies the well. His suggestion is to install a backflushable sediment filter before my Whole House Filter.
     
  14. Apr 30, 2012 #14

    speedbump

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    What kind of backflushable filter is he referring to? One that you have to mess with every week or one that will handle the problem with little maintenance?
     
  15. Apr 30, 2012 #15

    Joelk

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    We did not get into specifics of the filter as we had rather poor cell reception.

    I welcome suggestions on what filter to use, but I would prefer to avoid spending several hunderd $$ on a filter.

    It is a garage, not a house, and I will have easy access to flush the filter. If I can get a filter that I have to backflush every week or two for $100, or less, I would prefer that to spending several hundred $$ on one that needs less frequent backflushing.
     
  16. May 4, 2012 #16

    doctordirtpro

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    Really hard to say.
    Some well drillers would say that a competently-screened well should never allow sand or sediment inside the casing. I dunno about that -- there are places in Texas where the strata is just plain sandy and breaks down over time, allowing sand and sediment into the well.

    If its just sediment and not really sand, I don't think you have to worry much about the same chewing up impellers and bearings. But that is something to check the next time you feel the need to pull the pump.

    I will would a strainer/sediment filter like the TwistIIClean filter from LAKOS. Instead of changing out a filter, they have a unique backflush design that cleans the screen by reversing the flow when twisting the top handle. Pretty inexpensive way to keep the sediment from getting inside the house and gumming up icemakers, lint traps, etc.
     
  17. May 4, 2012 #17

    speedbump

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    The filter I use for these problems is a water softener tank with about 50 lbs of sand and a distributor tube. The head is simply an in/out head. The whole thing would cost you about $150.00. You can build a backwash manifold with PVC pipe/fittings and three ball valves. You can buy the bag of sand locally to save on the freight.
     
  18. May 4, 2012 #18

    Joelk

    Joelk

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    Thanks, for the replies.

    Speedbump, could you please provide additional details/photos/links on how to construct/create the type of filter that you described.
     
  19. May 4, 2012 #19

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    You can buy one from me if you like. I think you would have trouble just buying the items I'm referring to. You won't find them on the shelf of any stores. You will find water softeners, iron filters and charcoal filters complete, but not a sediment filter.
     
  20. May 5, 2012 #20

    doctordirtpro

    doctordirtpro

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    Sounds like a little mini-sand media filter. Wouldn't a strainer with the right mesh screen accomplish the same thing?
     

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