A well water pump and water pressure question

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  #1  
Old 02-02-16, 10:47 PM
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A well water pump and water pressure question

Greetings:

Background:
My parents have a well water pump that is 100í away from the house and approximately 80í into the ground. It is wired into a detached garage and installed 6í underground in a cinderblock walled pit. It is out of sight out of mind. Whenever there would be heavy or long lasting rainstorms, the house water would be dirty/murky. I went to check the well water pump and found a missing bolt/stud assembly on the cast iron well seal due to shoddy work from a plumber who replaced the water pump a few years ago. (See attached images) Now we know why there is dirty water. The dirty water seeps in through the cinderblock wall cracks, fills the pit and goes into the missing bolt/stud hole on the cast iron well seal polluting the water. Thus not allowing the water levels to rise high enough to active the sump pump. You would have to manually activate the sump pump to remove the water.

Issues:
My parentís house is two stories. In the second story bathrooms every so often when you are using a sink you would hear what sounds like a sucking noise in the faucet followed by high pressure bursts of water that shoots out of the sink faucet. The same thing happens to the toilet when you would flush it. As the tank is filling up you would hear thumping sounds as the water refills the tank. The pressure burst last about 5-15 seconds for the faucets and toilets. This only happens on the second floor. We never had issues like this on the first floor. There were never issues like this at all until the well water pump was replaced a few years ago.

Questions:
Is the high-pressure water bursts related to the missing stud/bolt assembly on the cast iron well seal?

Besides the obvious health risks, what other issues are at stake? And no, no one drinks the water until it is clear again.

Can a bolt fix the issue? Or, is there more to it than meets the eye?

Could the mud that seeps through the water pump pit walls do damage to the well water pump?


Image #1 Whole Water Pit
Image #2 Cast Iron Well Seal View #1
Image #3 Cast Iron Well Seal View #2
Image #4 Missing Stud/Bolt
Image #5 No Stud/Bolt but feels solid underneath


Thanks,
KingPurplePimp
 
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  #2  
Old 02-03-16, 04:10 PM
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Dig a pit someplace else for the perimeter drain system and the sump pump.

The area around the top of the well should be dry at all times. Either the well casing itself or a sealed walled off area around the well casing should protect against ground water seeping into the well.
 
  #3  
Old 02-04-16, 10:26 AM
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There is a sump pump in the well pit? It should be mounted below level of well cap, so water doesn't cover well cap. That would solve ground water from entering well, which is asking for gastrointestinal problems. Definitely would see about finding a bolt for the cap.

Don't like the idea of ground water sitting in the well box...one is hoping well casing is well sealed. Anyway to make a drain out of box? Also, would look at sealing cinder block well box...digging around box, and wrapping it in a water proof membrane and/or parge coatings.

The thumping and air sounds like a faulty check valve...water system should be primed (full of water) at all times. When you turn on taps at high point in system, it sounds like water lines are empty, and all the air needs to be purged (get a spitting tap?). I get this situation when I turn cottage water main back on after a winter (I watch over several cottages and turn off their water in the fall for protection).

After the spitting taps have done their thing, does water flow normally? That is once the thumping and spitting taps have done their thing, does the water flow calm down and flow normally?
 
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Old 02-05-16, 01:35 AM
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As stated the sump pump will not activate till the water reaches a certain level. That level would be at least a foot or too over the cast iron well seal. You currently have to pull a string attached to the float to activate the sump pump. So, the water level doesn't go over the cast iron well seal and drain into the water supply. Due to the missing bolt/stud the water would drain down into the well itself not allowing the water level to rise high enough for the sump pump to activate.

The cinderblock walls had cement patchwork done several years ago. Due to the recent heavy rains two spots were found where the water is coming in from the rains.

What is a drain out of box?

Where would the check valve be located? At the source of entry into the house? What does one look like so I know what I'm looking for.

As for the "spitting tap" it goes back to normal after 5-15 seconds of air/water bursts. Would the missing bolt/stud on the cast well casing have anything to do with air getting into the lines? Ever since the well pump was replaced the "spitting tap" seems to have started.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 01:39 AM
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Please explain, "Dig a pit someplace else for the perimeter drain system and the sump pump." Do you mean dig another hole?

Yes the area on top of the well is covered. The water is coming through the cinderblock walls.
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-16, 06:02 AM
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Yes, you can dig a pit somewhere else nearby and install a drainage system around the well to send the water to your new sump pit.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 09:58 AM
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DO NOT DRINK, I REPEAT, DO NOT DRINK ANY OF THE WATER EVEN IF IT IS CLEAR! E. Coli bacteria among other health related bacteria can be in clear water. The sump should be set up to keep the water below the top of the well head. The top of the well needs to be sealed to keep any ground water out of the well.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 10:09 AM
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Can you show a pic of where the sump pump is located in well box? One would assume is be located at bottom of box, so it would automatically activate before water breach top of well casing (are you saying it is a manual or automatic switched sump pump?). At any rate, an auto sump pump should be mounted at bottom. Hard to tell if your missing a bolt or perhaps the hole was always there...on mine, I have a vent, because when you draw down water in well, you need a vent to equalize pressure. Google 'check valve for well' to see a pic of one. Usually a brass tube slightly larger than water line, about 4" long that threads onto water line. It has a spring or swing valve in it. It stops water from draining back into well (keeps water line primed). I see a pressure tank in well box? Usually, a check valve is attached to line before the pressure tank. Also, a check valve is attached to well pump, which would necessitate pulling up well pump to check it.
Is there a pressure gauge in well box?
 
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Old 02-05-16, 10:23 AM
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Another thing...that pressure switch location looks odd (grey box with electrical wires). I see what the well guy did...he mounted it high in well box, so it wouldn't short when well box flooded. But, having a long thin tube running down to pressure tank is asking for trouble (easier to clog).
What I would do, is take all that crap out of well box, and mount a proper T in house, with pressure tank, pressure switch, relief valve, and check valve. Find wherever your water line enters house, and see if there is room.
Here is a pic of a typical setup (minus pressure tank and water lines)
Water Pressure Tank Fittings Kits for Air-E-Tainer bladder type water pressure tanks.
It does appear you are missing a bolt which tightens the rubber seal...
Here is my setup...top line is water line from pump...the first brass fitting is the check valve...stops water from draining back into well.
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Old 02-05-16, 10:35 AM
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Aside: I was enamored with SS fittings...pretty much indestructible, and would last longer than brass fittings. But, as I found out, SS fittings are a nightmare to seal properly. Takes a lot of serious grunt to get water tight connection. Brass being more malleable is way easier to get a water tight connection. 3-4 wraps of teflon for brass connections, but almost double for SS. Then of course, I grudgingly discovered Philmac fittings (black plastic fittings in pic). I could get a water tight connection just by hand tightening...of course, I put a tool to them, but very gently.
Kind of silly to worked up over plastic, since water line is plastic, but it is what it is...lol
 
  #11  
Old 02-07-16, 01:08 AM
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The sump pump is automatic. The problem is that the water level doesn't get high enough for the sump pump to activate. The sump pump is on the cement located next to the cast iron well casing. The problem now is the cold winter. The water in the sump pump's drainage lines freeze. So, to prevent the lines from freezing, the sump pump would have to be removed. The top of the cast iron well casing is approximately 8" above the cement. (See Images)

Yes the pressure switch is high in the well pit. The original one was lower. And, I recall it being covered over with water when there were heavy rains.


"Hard to tell if your missing a bolt or perhaps the hole was always there..."

There never was an issue with dirty water until the water pump was replaced a few years ago.


"What I would do, is take all that crap out of well box, and mount a proper T in house, with pressure tank, pressure switch, relief valve, and check valve. Find wherever your water line enters house, and see if there is room."

As stated the main line entry into the house is 100' away from the well pump. I'm not sure if that would be possible?


"Is there a pressure gauge in well box?"

Yes, but you can't read the gauge due to the mud and water. (See images)
 
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  #12  
Old 02-07-16, 01:48 PM
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Hi King (here comes a book, did I get carried away or what, lol)Ė

I also have a well-pit but it is nowhere near as large as yours. Mine is 3 feet by 3 feet and 4 feet deep. The pressure tank is in the basement about 20 feet away from the well-head. Here is a pic of the pit:



Notice that there is water covering the well seal and well head. (That beehive looking thing is ductseal I used to try and protect the electrical connections a little better, probably doesnít do much lol). When there is a hard rain that pit actually fills up with several feet of water. When I bought the house 14 years ago I knew nothing about wells (now I know just a little). The well tested positive for Coliform at that time, the well was then chlorine shocked, the Coliform thus disappeared Ė but that was short lived. It came back.

Here is what I found out about these over the years:

Well-pits are no longer allowed to be dug in PA, but if you have one it is grandfathered in. The problem is that water sits at the top of the wellhead and can flow down the outside of the casing (or through the seal). I guess if there is any path down the side of the casing the ground water can get down into the well Ė and I guess unless the casing is perfectly sealed that will happen. (and I guess most arenít perfectly sealed Ė probably).

I cannot stop the water from coming through the masonry block walls. Not trying to be a pessimist but I suspect you will also lose the battle (but I hope not).

I was going to try something with a sump pump (but I donít have the electrical set up already as you do) but I couldnít figure out how to make it work. You canít let water sit on the well head so the ground would have to be slopped back from the wellhead somehow in my small pit. Seems to me the only way you could make yours work is to slope the ground back from the well head to a sump pit, otherwise as you noted, there will always be some standing water over the wellhead. But it looks like that would be very hard for you to do.

A well water test will test for Coliform in the water (I get one yearly from Penn State). The presence of Coliform is an indicator that ground water is getting down into the well via a fast-path, not via the normal earth filtration process. What the experts say is that most Coliform is harmless and does nothing to healthy people and supposedly more than half the wells in PA test positive for Coliform (my Mother and I both drank the water). But the problem is the presence of Coliform means your well is not properly sealed, hence something much worse can get from the ground down into the well. Hence the water is designated as non-potable if any Coliform is found. I would bet right now your water would show the presence of Coliform. But hopefully you would be lucky.

An Ultra-Violet filter or chlorine injection system can kill the Coliform if you wanted to do that (my house came with a UV filter and when I put a new bulb in and started to use it the water tests came back Coliform free).

To me it looks like you should get a new well seal. Just my opinion. It looks like one bolt is missing and another bolt has the head broken off. I wouldnít think a plumber or well guy would charge that much to replace a well seal. Itís not as if the pump has to be pulled up.

You could get a new well seal and make sure everything is tight with no openings, shock chlorinate the well to kill any bacteria, and then get another water test a few months later after multiple rains. If the tests came back with no Coliform then I guess you could say you are OK with the setup. But I bet there is a good chance with all the water that will sit on top of that wellhead you will continue to get groundwater down into the well. Hope not!

From what I found the only real solution to the problem is to have the wellhead raised above the ground and a pitless adapter installed like figure ďGĒ in this page:

Wells : Keystone Clean Water Team (CCGG)


Apparently that is the recommended thing to do in PA. But I didnít do it myself as the water tests come back Coliform free and I drink bottled water anyway.

I donít see why you would have a problem doing what melliam suggests and move the tank, etc into your house if you have room. In the pit you would just connect that black poly on the right, directly (with proper fittings) to the red pex on the left. In other words it doesnít seem to me you would have to dig up or lay any new pipe. But maybe Iím missing something.

However, with water sitting on top of the wellhead you really havenít solved the entire problem but you at least you wouldnít have to worry about the pressure switch , gauge, and tank being submerged under water.

It is a piece of cake to replace the gauge and they are cheap. You just turn off the pump and drain the tank and spin the old gauge out and the new gauge in with some teflon tape.

Another thing is I noticed you donít have a rope going down into the well tied to your pump. Either do I. So as I understand it your (and my) pump is held only by the well seal and if that doesnít hold the pump falls down into the well. There have been some good debates here in the past about using a rope or not. Some of the pros say itís more trouble and dangerous that itís worth. The rope can get jammed when pulling up the pump and now you have a real problem. So I donít know what is right. When it comes time for a new pump for me Iíll decide then lol.

But I just thought Iíd mention that because since your well seal is missing a bolt and one bolt looks like it is broken I was just wondering how sturdy that setup is right now. However, maybe even if the seal gave way, maybe the rest of the pipe and clamps would keep it from falling anyway.

I notice you donít have check valve at the tank. (I do). I think there are varying opinions about whether you should have one at the tank. Iím pretty sure there is always a check valve installed down near the pump. But without one at the tank, I wonder if the check valve at the pump is leaking very slowly, some water could flow backward into the well and then the next time the pump runs you would get a little burst of water and sputtering through the house. Maybe melliam or one of the other guys would know.

I guess itís just our bad luck to have older homes. The standards keep changing.

Good luck, hope this ramble was of some help Ė your problems donít seem insurmountable and I would bet you can probably lick them without too much trouble.
 
  #13  
Old 02-09-16, 04:05 AM
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Zoesdad thanks for the useful information!


I'm not sure of the actual dimensions of the well pit. The next time I go down in it I'll get the measurements just to have them on file.


Your well pit looks scary. Do you have a cement slab or is it dirt? Just curious it looks like a pile of dirt in the top corner of your well pit.


Until the weather drys up (and hopefully the well pit) nothing could be done to stop the two new areas where the water is coming in. But I bet as luck would have it after the current two cracks are filled new ones will form.


I'm afraid to have the Coliform tests. It would mean more drama.



"To me it looks like you should get a new well seal."

Yes a new cast iron casing would be the way to go. The current stud/bolts are rusted and to insert a new bolt into the rusted missing stud/bolt hole may be a nightmare too.



"I donít see why you would have a problem doing what melliam suggests and move the tank, etc into your house if you have room."

As stated the well pit is over 100' feet away from the house. I have very little knowledge of plumbing so I'm not sure if moving the tank is possible.



"Another thing is I noticed you donít have a rope going down into the well tied to your pump."

Are you referring to the sump pump or the well pump?



"...and one bolt looks like it is broken..."

I'm not sure what is going on with the "broken?" stud/bolt hole? I used a nail to clean out the mud that was accumulating on the top of the cast iron well seal casing and it feels hard underneath.



"I notice you donít have check valve at the tank. (I do). I think there are varying opinions about whether you should have one at the tank. Iím pretty sure there is always a check valve installed down near the pump. But without one at the tank, I wonder if the check valve at the pump is leaking very slowly, some water could flow backward into the well and then the next time the pump runs you would get a little burst of water and sputtering through the house. Maybe melliam or one of the other guys would know."

Is that a check valve located between the black pipe and the pressure gauge? If there is no check valve would that be the reason we have water bursts on the second floor bathrooms from time to time?
 
  #14  
Old 02-09-16, 11:11 AM
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Your well pit looks scary. Do you have a cement slab or is it dirt? Just curious it looks like a pile of dirt in the top corner of your well pit.
I think it is mostly dirt with a little cement somewhere on the floor Ė and also some gobs of cement on the floor lol. It is a real adventure working down there lol. I had to run a new pipe (black poly) from there into my basement so I had to make the connections at the well head. You can hardly move down there itís only 3í by 3í - lol.

I'm afraid to have the Coliform tests. It would mean more drama.
The only thing I would say is that if there is any real nasty bacteria getting into the well you would know it, and especially if you drink the water I would think the test would be important. As landfillwizard says in post #7 E.Coli is really bad and they always check for that when they do the test for Coliform.

We were drinking the water here without ever having a test for years, my bad. When tested it did show Coliform but we were just lucky and apparently it didnít bother us at all. But I then got the UV filter working and it does in fact kill all the bacteria.

The current stud/bolts are rusted and to insert a new bolt into the rusted missing stud/bolt hole may be a nightmare too.
I am just assuming that the plugged up hole is actually the bolt with the head broken off because I think for a split well seal they use 4 bolts, 2 on each half, and also an opening for conduit for the pump wires and an opening for a vent. I donít think there would be a stud on the well seal and thatís why I think itís a bolt with the head snapped off.

But Iím no expert (Iíve done everything except replace a well seal myself and pull the pump). If it is a broken bolt I guess the well guy/plumber would have to use an extractor to remove it. Maybe that would be a nightmare Ė or maybe they do that all the time.

From what I understand it is extremely important to not drop any bolts or anything down the well or else it may not be possible to pull the pump up when needed. But Iím sure the well guy/plumber would know that. The other thing is that as far as I know the bolts are never supposed to be completely removed on the split well seal because the bottom half can drop down into the well. Thatís why I was thinking it looks a little scary on your seal since one bolt is completely missing.

As stated the well pit is over 100' feet away from the house. I have very little knowledge of plumbing so I'm not sure if moving the tank is possible.
As far as Iíve been able to determine the tank can go almost anywhere as long as the pressure switch stays with it. I guess that makes sense since, for example in your case, the pump has to be capable of pumping water all the way to the fixtures in your house and operates that way now Ė regardless of
where the tank is located. So in a sense sliding the tank/pressure switch down the line into the house should not make a difference.

But if there is no acceptable place in the house for the tank then that idea is out Ė lol.

Are you referring to the sump pump or the well pump?
Supposedly, and this is debatable, but some people recommend connecting a safety rope to the submersible pump, and then bringing the rope through the well seal (I guess you could use the vent opening on the well seal) and connecting the rope to something real sturdy. That way if something happens you have the pump secured.

My Goulds pump manual says this:

The pump discharge head has a loop for attaching a safety cable. The use of a safety cable is at the discretion of the installer.
There have been some threads here in the past where some pros say no way Ė a safety cable can cause more harm than good. But Iíve heard others say use one.

Is that a check valve located between the black pipe and the pressure gauge? If there is no check valve would that be the reason we have water bursts on the second floor bathrooms from time to time?
I think that is just a coupler to connect that black poly pipe to the tee at the tank. If you look at melliamís post #9 that brass object on the left is a check valve. Here is a picture on one:

1 1/2" NPT Brass Check Valve | QC Supply

That keeps the water from going backwards towards the well. I think that is also debatable as to whether a check valve should be at the tank. I think some people say it can masks leaks in your system because a leak upstream from the check valve wonít be seen. The pump pushes water past the check valve and the check valve closes when the pump stops. So water wonít go backwards.

Here is what my Gould submersible pump manual says:

On installations with a pitless adapter the top check valve should be below the pitless, not at the tank, as the discharge line should be pressurized back to the pitless.

On installations with well seals or well pits it is allowable to locate the top check valve near the tank.
I had a leaky pipe from the wellhead to my house and the check valve did in fact mask it. I didnít know I had a leak until the pipe disintegrated so much and had such a big hole that there was no way the pump could pump up the tank and so the pump just ran and ran.

What I was thinking is that since you donít have a check valve at the tank, a leak anywhere from the well pump up to the tank, will NOT be masked (I guess some would say that is good) and so if there is any leak you could be getting air in the piping and hence sputtering.

But I guess on second thoughts even with or without a check valve at the tank, if you have a small leak you would get air in your line anyway and get some sputtering. Since you donít have a check valve at the tank, I think that actually allows you to run a test to see if you have a leak.

If you donít use water for letís say 8 hours, and the pump comes back on or you see the pressure drop via the gauge (if you had a good one) you would know water is leaking out of the line somewhere and that would be the cause of the sputtering. I guess a 24 hour test would even be better.
 
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Old 02-09-16, 11:14 AM
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I see no check valve on your setup King. The spitting taps usually mean the check valve you likely have on well pump is leaking (allowing water to drain back into well). Dirty well water is the result of surface water getting into well or pump is sitting at bottom of well, sucking up dirt.

I would get a new well cap seal, a check valve, and a 3" nipple. Can 'easily' put check valve where coupler is in pic (beside gauge). It would be a stopgap fix...the check valve on pump will need to be replaced. How deep is well? What size of pump do you have? Do you know what your well water level is? You can download well sonar from google app store...

Looks like float switch is well, floating...the thing the string is attached to...can you push to the bottom of pit? If so, put some weight on it, so it doesn't float and sits on bottom of well pit. If that fails, get a better sump that works in less than 8" of water. As for freezing, get a heat trace or dig a trench and plumb line on downhill side if possible. Best option if you have a downhill area from well pit, is to just plumb a drain line...not even have a sump.

Long term, I'd move the pressure tank and T to house. Or, build a little shack beside well pit so the gear doesn't get flooded. The fact your house is 100' away from well pit is immaterial unless you have a serious elevation difference. Horizontal difference is immaterial, unless we're talking thousands of feet, then you pipe flow resistance comes into play.
 
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Old 02-09-16, 10:58 PM
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Tried to put a bolt in the open hole and there are no threads. So, a smaller sized bolt in the hole will have to do in the mean time. (See previous image with sump pump)

On a side note the well pit is 44" X 45" X 48" high.

Dirty well water is the result of surface water getting into well or pump is sitting at bottom of well, sucking up dirt.
Water is only contaminated when there are heavy rains.

...the check valve on pump will need to be replaced.
So, there should be 2 check valves. One inside the well pipe (inaccessible) and the other connected after the cast iron well casing (accessible)?

I would get a new well cap seal, a check valve, and a 3" nipple.
I know very little about plumbing. I could replace the parts with the right tools and everything coming apart without issues. But my luck, nothing would come loose and I'd end up breaking something expensive. What size check valve and nipple would be needed? Where would the 3" Nipple go? Would it go between the black piping and what should be the check valve (before the pressure gauge)?

How deep is well?
Under 80' deep.

What size of pump do you have?
Plumber never left instructions or manuals.

Do you know what your well water level is?
No.

...can you push to the bottom of pit? If so, put some weight on it, so it doesn't float and sits on bottom of well pit.
I'm not understanding what you are saying? Putting weight on the sump pump or the float?
 

Last edited by KingPurplePimp; 02-09-16 at 11:17 PM.
  #17  
Old 02-10-16, 08:40 AM
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Dig a "subpit" within the existing well pit. You want any water seeping into the well pit to flow over to and into the subpit where you put the sump pump.
 
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Old 02-10-16, 08:58 AM
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Pennsylvania may have a Well Registry which could supply you with the detailed information about your well.

If a backwoods State like Vermont has such a Registry (dating back to the late 1960s), then the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania surely has one.

Ours has been held sometimes with the Dept of Public Health, at other times within Environmental Conservation or with the Agency of Natural Resources . . . . so it may pay to check around a little.

Knowing the well's depth, static water level, amount and size of the Casing, when drilled, by who, HP of the Pump, et cetera . . . . will pay dividends in the future.
 
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Old 02-11-16, 07:53 PM
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Well is contaminated with heavy rains...so it likely means water is getting through wellhead cap...that needs to be addressed with new well cap with rubber seal. If I didn't know better, it looks like well cap bolt came out or broke, and the cap is loose now (made up of two pieces of metal halves, with a rubber seal underneath). When you crank down bolts, it squishes rubber seal, making it watertight. Google 'well cap' and click 'images' to see what I mean.
I would take a clamp and try to squish two halves of metal cap together to see if I could get missing bolt hole to line up...if so, throw in a new bolt and tighten.

When I was talking about sump...there are two parts...the actual pump (big cylinder) which is just a water pump...the little cylinder is the switch, telling pump to turn on when little cylinder (switch) gets submerged. It looks like it is floating. It needs to be at bottom of well pit. Use whatever to keep it sitting at bottom of pit.

The nipple attaches to check valve, since check valve has two female ends. Then that 'unit' (check and nipple) go right before gauge. You'll have to undo hose clamp, remove black pipe (heat gun will help), unscrew brass insert fitting. Then stick unit on, making sure arrow on check valve is pointed in direction of water flow. Then stick on brass insert fitting to 'unit'. You will probably have to cut black hose back a bit so you can slide it on brass insert fitting. Again, a heat gun helps. Then put hose clamp back on (I'd use three..2 at the very least). Voila! Now, you'll have pressure in your system upstream of check valve. This is a quick fix.

Eventually, your pump will have to be pulled and the check valve on it will need to be replaced. The whole issue around where check valves go is nonsense...one at pump, obviously, and one just before pressure tank as noted above. The key is to make sure pressure is maintained in system where pressure switch is located, so your not frying your pump. With a check valve just before pressure switch, this keeps pressure switch from telling pump to turn on all the time. Sure, you might get a water hammer effect if well pump check valve is malfunctioning because water has drained from section between new check valve and water pump. I'd be more worried about pump cycling, which is probably happening right now. Get a new pressure gauge too while your at it (cheap), and install that first (turn off pump before you play in there). Don't use any water for an hour after install and watch to see if pressure drops...if it drops, you know you have a bad check valve or well hose leak.
I'd get on it pronto...you don't want to kill your well pump...brass check valve, nipple, teflon tape, bolt and gauge are under $50 in total. Hard to see in pics, but it looks like a 1" line. That is standard size and given well depth, sounds about right. Could be 3/4"...brass coupler might have a 1 stamped on it...that means 1".

The other good thing about having two check valves is isolation...you can tell if you have a problem upstream or downstream of well head. Say, you do as suggested, and water gauge falls with no water use...then you know your problem is from well head to house...cracked water line, leak etc...

I agree with Vermont...pump info is important.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 12:19 AM
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Vermont:

Pennsylvania may have a Well Registry which could supply you with the detailed information about your well.
That is good information to know. When I have a chance I'll check the county courthouse website or check with the township office.

Knowing the well's depth, static water level, amount and size of the Casing, when drilled, by who, HP of the Pump, et cetera . . . . will pay dividends in the future.
I hope this information is on it. The well pump dates back to the early to mid 1950s.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 12:39 AM
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zoesdad:

Coliform
Knowing our luck we would find out that e-coli would be the worst ever seen and the well would be condemned and would have to spend a fortune on a new well etc....

I am just assuming that the plugged up hole is actually the bolt with the head broken off because I think for a split well seal they use 4 bolts, 2 on each half, and also an opening for conduit for the pump wires and an opening for a vent.
I tried using a bolt and it felt like there were no threads (in the well casing). Plus, as I was playing around with the bolt it was moving the rubber seal underneath (that is the hole for the bolt in the rubber). I was thinking of trying an anchor bolt to compress the rubber seal to the well head. Another temporary option is buying a rubber stopper (cork) and pushing it into the bolt/stud hole. But from the condition of the well seal (missing 2 bolts) and who knows how airtight it is with the missing bolts.

From what I understand it is extremely important to not drop any bolts or anything down the well or else it may not be possible to pull the pump up when needed.
That would be my luck. I'd screw it all up. I don't have a magnetic retriever long enough to get that bolt that got away.

As far as Iíve been able to determine the tank can go almost anywhere as long as the pressure switch stays with it...So in a sense sliding the tank/pressure switch down the line into the house should not make a difference.
Something to really consider for the future.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 01:06 AM
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Melliam:

If I didn't know better, it looks like well cap bolt came out or broke, and the cap is loose now (made up of two pieces of metal halves, with a rubber seal underneath). When you crank down bolts, it squishes rubber seal, making it watertight. I would take a clamp and try to squish two halves of metal cap together to see if I could get missing bolt hole to line up...if so, throw in a new bolt and tighten.
I tried to put a bolt in the hole and it felt like no threads to turn the bolt onto. Plus the rubber seal underneath had some play to line up the bolt hole (in the rubber seal). As a temp fix I was thinking about an anchor bolt to secure the rubber seal to the cast iron well casing or using a rubber stopper (looks like a cork) as another temporary alternative.

It looks like it is floating. It needs to be at bottom of well pit. Use whatever to keep it sitting at bottom of pit.
The pump is on the cement slab and float switch is at it's lowest point. Granted it is hard to tell in the picture (Not much room to place the pump around the well pit just certain open spots). When the float reaches a certain height it turns on the pump. Currently the water doesn't stay high enough in the well pit due to the water draining through the well casing. The well pipe and cast iron casing is approximately 8" above the cement slab.

Check Valve Addition
As stated I probably could add a check valve myself. The issues are current fittings not coming loose, having all the right tools and parts and hope that I don't break something in the process.

Eventually, your pump will have to be pulled and the check valve on it will need to be replaced. The whole issue around where check valves go is nonsense...one at pump, obviously, and one just before pressure tank as noted above.
Just thinking about who the plumber was that installed the well pump makes me wonder if a check valve was installed at the pump?

I'd be more worried about pump cycling, which is probably happening right now.
Unfortunately it's hard to tell with the water pump away from the house without standing by the well and listening for the pump turning off and on.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 09:51 AM
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Rubber stopper is pointless if rubber seal underneath is loose. Gently loosen three bolts (enough to lift well cap - may be able to do it without any loosening of bolts since it sounds like rubber seal is loose), and lift the works off the well cap. Will require some grunt. Have a 2x4 or something similar to jam underneath side with two bolts. Then you can inspect under cap for nut where you are missing bolt. And it also means you can insert a new bolt and nut.
As precaution, when I work around well, I tape all tools and parts that can fall down well to a string...with string tied to something up top. That way, nothing can fall down well. Getting those four bolts tight is what seals the well.

As far as sump pump goes, you need a sump pump that works in shallow water...less than 8"...pretty simple. You cannot allow water to submerge well cap.
I think stopping the submersion of well cap is the first order of business...fixing the cap is second. Allowing surface water into well IS contaminating well. I hope your parents are buying drinking water, or boiling their drinking water...once summer hits, things will only get worse.
 
  #24  
Old 02-13-16, 10:03 AM
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hi King Ė

(now this is really weird. I just post and just saw melliam posted virtually at the same time. I'll read that next)

I donít think you have to worry about the well being condemned. As far as I was able to tell itís totally up to the homeowner to maintain and test private wells and decide whether to use the water or not. I think if you wanted you could just contact the agricultural department at Penn State (they do the water test) and ask them what they do with the test results. As far as I know you and only you get the test results Ė itís private. But you could contact them to make sure. I use Penn State because they are not going to try and sell you water conditioning equipment like some other labs would.

I think this is what melliam is suggesting if you wanted to install at check valve at the tank.

Name:  added check valve.jpg
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I think you must have a check valve down at the pump otherwise I think your pump would be running a whole lot and probably would have died by now since you have no check valve at the tank. But if there is a leak down in your well now, including at the check valve, or from the wellhead to the house, your pump might be cycling on and off a lot.

IMHO l think the first step would be to replace that pressure gauge so you can see whatís going on there. That is really easy and virtually no risk. Here is an example of one:

Everbilt 100 psi Pressure Gauge-EBM1002-4L - The Home Depot

If you donít use water but see the pressure go down on the gauge then there is a leak.

I donít know what to say about the well seal. Iíve never really actually replaced a well seal or pulled up a pump so Iím not much help. I thought there were metal pieces below the rubber like shown and discussed on the middle of this page:

Aluminum well caps and cast iron well seals for water well pump installations.

Could one of the bottom metal halves that the bolt fastens into have fallen down the well? Hope not. But it seems you should feel something below that rubber. Maybe the bottom part rotated out of alignment. Maybe melliam would know.
 
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Old 02-13-16, 07:54 PM
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I think Zoesdad nailed it...great pics.

I also noticed something that escaped my eye...that bolt hole which is missing a bolt was probably done on purpose...a hack job. They are using that hole as a vent. The vent hole is hiding behind the elbow and it has a plug in it. So, whoever installed the well cap figured that since the vent hole is covered by elbow and pipe, they'd just leave a bolt out...doh!
Which of course can cause problems...the vent hole is much larger...not sure what type of vent gets attached to it, but I'd have one with a screen. Call these folks and ask...Aluminum well caps and cast iron well seals for water well pump installations.
Whatever it is, it should have a screen on it, so bugs cannot get in. Not sure what your well drawdown is (how much level of well water drops when you turn on taps), but a tiny hole can cause a partial vacuum, stressing pump and sucking dirt into system. Also, with a bad check valve at pump, can cause water hammering. Not only that, if well box floods, covering well head, it really stresses pump, because now it is sucking surface water in well box through a bolt hole!
Cast Iron Well Seals are cheap...buy a new one with a vent. At the very least, see if you can twist the elbow over to uncover vent hole and install a proper vent...Personally, I'd put in a new one, with a vent pipe sticking up a foot that has a screen on it (above high water mark). That way a flooding well box will no longer be a problem. The well seal will stop any water from entering well and life will be good. It will require redoing electrical connections and whatnot, but what I see now is a good old fashioned Mickey mouse hack job. Might as well pull pump and fix check valve while your at it. Sorry, but I hate sloppy and lazy work.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 10:18 AM
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De-contaminate a water well. Put this in your google search and it will give you procedures for cleaning you water well. I have also found that once you place the chlorine in the well and run it through system is to add ~50gallons of water to the well from a known source that is uncontaminated. This will help push the chlorine into the water bearing strata.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 10:36 PM
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Pitless Adapter

OMG. Get rid of that pit and go with a pitless adapter. That type of seal is not meant to be water tight. Please call in a pro and have this done ASAP. The pitless adapter will extend the casing above ground and it will not flood.
 
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Old 02-24-16, 11:45 AM
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How will a pitless adapter extend casing above ground? Would need a casing pipe extension.
I agree moving pressure tank etc., into house would be the way to go, but that will require some effort. A cast iron well seal is meant to be watertight (if all 4 bolts are tightened)...the venting is the problem. jmho
A 1' length of npt pipe with teflon tape and a screened vent on top would be the cheapest solution. Albeit, the well seal needs to be fixed or replaced.
 
  #29  
Old 03-15-16, 01:04 AM
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Sorry I've been away for a while.

The county and the township do not have well records. They said that you would have to contact a well driller. The well driller might be able to track down well records from the state capital.

As far as sump pump goes, you need a sump pump that works in shallow water...less than 8"...pretty simple. You cannot allow water to submerge well cap.
A new sump pump would be needed for the well pit. The current sump pump is suppose to turn on at 10" which is 2" above the cast iron well casing. A brief internet search I saw sump pumps that turn on at 6". This type of sump pump would be beneficial in the future; it would prevent the water from damaging the cast iron well seal casing.


Gently loosen three bolts (enough to lift well cap - may be able to do it without any loosening of bolts since it sounds like rubber seal is loose), and lift the works off the well cap.
We aren't going to attempt to remove the cast iron well casing. The bolts are rusted. And, not being a plumber we'll end up doing more damage than good.

I also noticed something that escaped my eye...that bolt hole which is missing a bolt was probably done on purpose...a hack job. They are using that hole as a vent. The vent hole is hiding behind the elbow and it has a plug in it. So, whoever installed the well cap figured that since the vent hole is covered by elbow and pipe, they'd just leave a bolt out...doh!
I agree I noticed that the vent hole was directly under the hose leading out of the ground.

Also, with a bad check valve at pump, can cause water hammering.
Yes there is water hammering but it only occurs in the second floor bathrooms.



I'm not sure if it makes a difference but after reviewing the pictures there is a larger gap going down the center (between the two blue metal pieces) on the cast iron well casing. Should that gap be there? Is that common?


Thanks
 
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Old 03-16-16, 07:17 PM
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I'm not sure if it makes a difference but after reviewing the pictures there is a larger gap going down the center (between the two blue metal pieces) on the cast iron well casing. Should that gap be there? Is that common?
------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, with the missing bolt, the well seal is likely loose as is....the point of those four bolts is to squeeze the rubber seal under the cast iron cap (creating a seal), which is composed of two halves. Google Cast Iron Well Seal...
I bet you don't even have to touch those bolts...just pry the cap up, and replace or find a new bolt and nut to put in that hole.
It will mean getting the vent plug out and putting in an appropriate vent.
Like I said, call Dean Bennett and ask what you can buy for the vent hole...
If you get a proper vent...one that extends upward a foot, you can forget about finding a new sump....your problem will be SOLVED.
 
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