According to data from the US Census Bureau, more than 15 million households in America use private wells to supply them with drinking water. Some of these households don’t have access to municipal water supplies, others choose to save money by avoiding monthly water bills, and others still prefer staying independent from the city grid.
If you’re considering making the switch to a private well, you should first understand that well drilling is a detailed process with many critical steps.
What goes into drilling a well, and how can you install one on your property? We’ll go over all the basics below.
1. Finding a Trusted Contractor
When you rely on a private well for your drinking water, you won’t have the benefit of municipal water testing to ensure it’s always safe to drink. As such, working with a trusted well-drilling contractor is crucial. If the well is placed, drilled, installed, and hooked up correctly, you’re much less likely to experience problems with contamination.
When you’re looking for contractors to work with, start by doing a local search for “well drilling near me“. Filter through the results by reading client reviews, looking for markers of quality like an A+ rating with the BBB, and by speaking with the companies directly. Make sure the contractor you decide to hire has plenty of experience drilling wells in your area and offers a straightforward, affordable payment plan.
2. Surveying and Choosing a Location
Deciding where you can drill a well isn’t as simple as finding a convenient spot on your property and starting construction. Just as in real estate, choosing the perfect location is everything.
To do this, you’ll need to hire a geological surveyor to inspect your land. The well-drilling contractor you’re working with may have one on their team, or they might recommend an external party for you to work with.
Either way, the surveyor will start by looking at local well-drilling records, topographic and geological maps to get an idea of where the water table sits. This is the depth at which the ground itself becomes saturated with water, allowing a well to fill up. The water table may be higher or lower depending on the land’s contours, the location of the nearest aquifer or above-ground body of water, and the soil composition.
Next, the surveyor will come to examine your property in-person. They’ll scan for potential contamination hazards like agriculture runoff, sewage, or industrial waste. They’ll also consider how much effort it will take to clear the land and prepare it for drilling.
3. Getting a Permit
Now that you have the perfect spot chosen, it’s time to get legal permission to begin drilling. Water well permits are regulated at the state level, though you’ll likely have to get permission from your municipality as well if you live within the boundaries of a city or township.
To apply for a permit, you’ll need to go through your state’s Department of Natural Resources or Environmental Management. If you’re not sure how to go through the application process, ask your contractor for help. They should be very familiar with the legal requirements in your area.
4. Preparing the Land
After your application is accepted and you have a drilling permit, the real construction can begin. First up on the list of tasks is preparing the surface of the land for drilling. This could involve:
- clearing vegetation, brush, or debris
- tree removal
- moving large rocks
- evening out the ground surface for large drilling equipment
Make sure the land preparation happens in advance of the drilling to avoid any potential delays.
5. Drilling a Well
Now that the land is cleared, it’s finally time to begin digging the well. Your contractor will use a large drill that breaks through dirt and rock, sending it back up to the surface. Depending on how high the water table is on your property, the resulting hole could end up being anywhere from 30 to almost 400 feet deep.
6. Installing Additional Well Components
If a well is nothing more than a hole in the ground, it’s at risk of both contamination and collapse. That’s why states regulate well construction to meet minimum component standards. In the state of Indiana, this includes:
- at least 25 feet of casing with a minimum 2-inch diameter, unless bedrock is close to the surface
- screens for wells in sandy or gravely ground to admit water while preventing rock particles
- grouting of the gap between the casing and the drilled borehole with a watertight material
The specifications for well components may vary a bit from state to state, and it’s up to your contractor to make sure they’re meeting requirements.
7. Hooking up the Well Pump
At this point, your well is installed and sealed off. Even so, you won’t be able to use it until completing one final step: hooking up the well pump.
These pumps bring water from the base of a well up the surface and into your home’s pipes. If you’re working with Blair & Norris, we can assist you with well pump installation and maintenance after the drilling is complete.
Are You Ready to Begin the Process of Well Drilling?
Drilling a well is a detailed undertaking, but the results are—shall we say—well worth the investment. Not only does a private well boost your property value, but it can also keep you supplied with fresh drinking water for decades or longer.
Are you interested in kicking off the process of drilling a well?
Blair & Norris is your go-to Indiana team for well drilling, water pumps, and septic services. Our excellent team has over a century of combined experience helping homeowners like yourself have access to clean, safe drinking water. To see how we can help you install a private well of your own, contact us online today or call 317-77-WATER.