http://planforpandemic.com/viewtopic.ph ... highlight= An Inexpensive, Do-It-Yourself Water Well
Original post by (maysday) at Plan For Pandemic: This is a really good site. Lot's of well info with some pictures. http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm
An Inexpensive, Do-It-Yourself Water Well
If you can drive a nail into a board, you have the skills to augment your water supply. Drilling companies charge thousands of dollars to tap ground water sources that you can often reach yourself with a few common tools and about two weekends of work.
Methods ranging from digging to blasting are used to reach the underground layer of fresh water that lies beneath dry land. Most of these are too technical, expensive, or dangerous for the average person. However, at the turn of the century the U.S. Army developed a fast, effective method to provide bivouacking troops with water that did not involve a lot of expensive, cumbersome equipment. Soldiers simply drove a pipe into the ground with a sledgehammer until they reached the aquifer. Subsequently, it has proven to be ideal for supplying water to homesteads, second homes, and remote villages in developing nations.
If driving a pipe 75 feet or so into the earth sounds like a job for Superman, I've given you the wrong impression. Too hard of a blow can damage pipe threads. It's better to soften the ground as much as possible before you begin. I recommend digging a hole at the site you've selected and allowing water to settle in it for a week. The softer the ground, the easier the work. A shallow hole (5 to 10 feet) is best because deep ones too often need reinforcement to prevent them from collapsing.
Choose a location as far as possible from septic tanks, sewer lines, chemical storage tanks, animal pens, and other potential contaminants. Check with county health officials concerning regulations and permit requirements. County officials have access to well logs and other geological data and can advise you as to subsurface composition (silt, sand, and decomposed granite are suitable for driven wells; hard clay or rock may prove difficult or impossible to penetrate), the approximate depth at which you can expect to find water, and the quality of the aquifer beneath your site.
You can also check with your neighbors. A weight on the end of a string dropped down a neighbor's well can give you a rough estimate of how far down you will have to go (measure to the point where the string becomes wet). Neighbors, particularly old-timers, can often give you some idea of what lies beneath the subsoil. If that doesn't work for you, pick a spot outside the drip line of a large hickory, walnut, butternut, white oak, or hornbeam tree that is not being irrigated. Since these types of trees have tap roots (maples, among others, do not), the fact that they are doing well without irrigation indicates that their tap roots are anchored in an aquifer. I live in a community where the street trees are immense despite the fact that they receive negligible rainfall and quite often aren't being irrigated. Common sense told me that the water table could not be more than 80 feet below the surface.
You'll need a 2-inch drivepoint with screen (a hollow, conically shaped metal point adjoined to a fine mesh screen), several spools of teflon tape, 2-inch galvanized couplings to attatch pipe lengths together, 5-foot-long threaded lengths of 2-inch galvanized Schedule 40 pipe, 2-inch galvanized caps for the pipe, concrete mix, a weight, a foot valve, and 85 feet of 1/2 inch inside diameter, thick-walled, flexible, UV resistant, flexible polyethylene tubing (I used Toro "funny pipe" irrigation tubing).
Dig a 5 foot deep pit, fill it with water, and allow the water to percolate into the ground so as to soften/lubricate the subsoil. Make sure the drivepoint is perpendicular to the ground - check it frequently with a level. If it is not straight, pull it out and start again. A slanted well wastes pipe and may be difficult to pump.
Use a heavy wooden mallet or maul to drive the capped galvanized pipe into the ground. wooden mallet/maulHit the capped pipe as evenly as possible in the center of the cap and avoid side-to-side swaying of the pipe. A well-placed blow will make a dull sound rather than a ping. When the cap becomes cracked or dented, discard it and screw on a new one. Establish a steady rhythm and the work will go easier. When the cap is about even with the bottom of the pit, unscrew it and screw on a coupling and a new length of pipe. Use teflon tape on the pipe threads, and make certain all connections are tightened securely with a pipe wrench. You may occasionally need to work from a step ladder in order to reach the cap with the maul. When going through clay or shale, you may find it easier to use a sledgehammer, but be careful not to overdo it.
If the drivepoint hits a large rock, pull the point out and start again in a new location. To pull out the drivepoint, place two hydraulic automobile jacks on opposite sides of the pipe. Attatch a pipe clamp to the pipe for the jacks to lift against. Once the drivepoint lifts a few inches, it should be easy to remove.
When you believe you have reached water, tie a weight onto a length of string and lower it into the pipe. If it comes out wet, repeat the test several times over the next two days, and if the results are the same, you've found water. Drive the pipe down some more to compensate for seasonal fluctuations and periods of drought. INSTRUCTIONS
The last step is adding a sanitary seal to prevent surface runoff from contaminating the aquifer. Lengthen the pipe to a height approximately 3 feet above the surface of the ground and fill the pit with the original soil. To protect your water supply and anchor your well, pour a small concrete slab into forms made of used 2-by-4's or 2-by-6's centered around the pipe at the surface. Install insulation around the pipes to protect your well from damage if the temperature where you live drops below freezing in winter.
Pitcher pumps like the one in the photograph at the beginning of this article are ideal for shallow wells. At depths greater than 25 feet, however, they stop working due to the limitations of atmospheric pressure. Inertia pumps (one-way footvalves attatched to flexible irrigation tubing) like the one in the next photograph are the simplest (they contain only one moving part) and least expensive (under $20) manual deep well pump.
If you have indoor plumbing or sprinklers, you will need a powered pump. Should the flow and/or pressure prove insufficient, you can either hook up multiple wells in series or install a storage tank. Inexpensive solar powered pumps are available, but I cannot vouch for their dependability.