Some Useful Information about Water and Wells


What is Ground Water:

Ground water is water below the land surface that fills the spaces between grains of sediment and rocks, or fills cracks and fractures in the rock.  Saturated zones in sediment such as sand and gravel, and in fractured rock formations, that receive, store, and transmit water to wells are called aquifers. Clean and plentiful ground water is a vital resource for personal and economic health everywhere in the United States.  Each day, over130 million Americans get their drinking water from ground water. About 40 million are supplied from individual home wells.  Ground water is a safe, economic and environmentally friendly resource.  We don’t need to dam up rivers and disturb ecology to storewater.  Mother Nature has made the rocks of the earth as a natural storage place for ground water.  We can all play a role in protecting America’s ground water.  Private well owners have a special responsibility to ensure the safety of their drinking water.


The Hydrologic Cycle:

Water in aquifers comes from rain and melted snow that filters through the soil.  As the water moves down, plants consume a portion, some is evaporated, and some is retained by the soil.  The rest seeps downwards, usually very slowly, to add water to the aquifer. This process is part of the hydrologic cycle.  The amount and quality of groundwater varies from place to place both within individual states and from state to state, because geology, climate, and land use are different.  The quality of water from wells can be influenced by natural factors, such as the type of rock, gravel, sand or soil; natural factors, or by pollution, for example, from poorly managed agriculture, inferior septic systems or community waste disposal sites.   Public education about contamination, and community involvement in protecting aquifers, can help ensure safe drinking water throughout the United States. 


How do we get Ground Water:

In most cases, a water well is needed to reach the aquifer where ground water is found.  Today, most wells are made by drilling into the rock layers using drilling machines (rigs) to access water deep beneath the surface.  In most cases electric pumps are used to raise the water to the surface.   The creation of a water well consists of several elements.  After selecting the site to drill the well, the process usually includes drilling, development, testing and equipment installation.   A water well is a specially engineered hole in the ground. It should be located and constructed in a manner which meets all codes and guidelines.  Proper construction and location are of the utmost importance to help ensure safe drinking water.  Your county health officers, local code enforcers and ground water contractors can give you advice on proper well location and construction.


How much Water do you Need?

If you plan wisely, a good, dependable water well can supply you with all the water you need now and in the future.  A rule of thumb is to allow for between 75 and 150 gallons per person per day.  You need to take into account the peak demand, for example when there may be extra guests. The flow rate of water expected for domestic supply is usually 4 - 10 gallons per minute (GPM).  However, with an adequate storage tank, a well producing as little as one GPM can be sufficient for domestic needs.  In many wells, several hundred gallons of water are already stored in the well column.  For every foot of a 6 inch diameter well below water level, there are about 1½ gallons of water.   Outside use of water can pose much greater demands.  You need to calculate the required well yield if your well is needed for additional water uses such as a swimming pool maintenance, lawn and garden irrigation, and fire protection.


Some Facts to Remember:
  • Studies show that most Americans would prefer their own private waterwell
  • You can decide how to treat your well water if you so desire
  • You may not ever have to worry about water restrictions
  • A good, properly constructed water well will be an asset to your property
  • After the initial cost of installing a well and pump system, your water is virtually free
  • Even with budgeting for future service, it will more than likely be less expensive than pipe line water

    Summary Description of Water Wells:

    A normal well in Southeastern PA/Northern DE requires approximately 80 ft. of casing.  Casing serves a primary purpose of prevention of collapse due to overburden, as well as sealing out any contamination above bedrock.  The 2” annular space around casing is pressure-grouted from bottom of casing to ground level with approved material as double insurance to prevent any contamination from entering the well shaft.  A deep well, properly cased and grouted, with an adequate water supply, is the best source for a safe and reliable water supply. This allows for good, pure water without the constant presence of chlorine. And such a water system is an asset for your property value as well.


    A water well is an engineered excavation of the earth. The process to properly construct most rock wells is as described below.  Residential wells drilled into rock aquifers are typically 6 inches.   Such a residential well is typically drilled through overburden a minimum of ten feet into bedrock.  The initial drilling is very critical to the entire process. Considerable knowledge and experience is needed to know when the formation is solid enough such that it will not collapse. Once bedrock is encountered, casing is installed, and a seal is installed at the top of the casing to prevent any subsequent drill cuttings from falling into the surrounding annular space, which space is then pressure-grouted with approved material.  Upon completion of the casing installation, the drilling process to obtain potable water begins. On average, a flowrate of ten or more gallons per minutes is desirable. Normally, the deeper the well, the greater the flowrate of water obtained.  A low yielding well will benefit more from depth in the form of additional water storage. Drilling deeper after initially encountering water typically yields an additional 1.46 gallons per additional linear foot in depth of the well.  A deep well drilled into a rock aquifer, with casing properly set with drive shoe, and pressure grouted from bottom to top of the casing, typically provides a safe and dependable water supply.  And that’s a water supply needing NO chlorine added on a daily basis.  On-site wells should be disinfected on a yearly basis and tested for potability.  While this process isn’t free, it remains significantly less expensive than that quarterly bill from your local water authority, and that’s doubly true if you as a water consumer do any watering of yard or garden.


    Your Water Well Pump:

    The typical submersible water pump is installed right in the well, hung on 1” flexible pipe rated at 160-200 psig, and using appropriately-sized electrical wire.   K.L.Madron crews also install a safety rope on all pumps.  The submersed pump typically is set approximately 10 feet above the well shaft bottom.  A pitless adapter is installed a minimum of 36” below grade, with pipe/wire running to the pressure tank.

    What factors affect the submersible pump life?  There are several factors, such as and including 1) quality of the water, 2) water usage, and 3) pressure tank size.  Keeping in mind that the average single family resident typically uses 400 gallons per day, a larger pressure tank will result in less on-off cycling of the pump – this alone will significantly increase the life expectancy of the pump.  All that being said, the normal life of a submersible pump is 8 - 10 years.  K.L.Madron-installed submersible pumps are typically three-wire systems with control box. This type system is only slightly more expensive, but is a much better system with typically longer life.  All K.L.Madron systems are neatly and professionally installed in accordance with the Rules & Regulations of the DNREC (DE) and the CCHD (PA).


    Water Treatment:

    Well water in the areas served by K.L.Madron typically requires some treatment.  Treatment is to alleviate problems such as sediment, high pH, excessive mineral content, odor, and hardness.  Typically half or more of the well water for residential use in this part of the Brandywine Valley requires treatment for pH, iron content, and hardness.  K.L.Madron has abundant experience in testing and then installing equipment appropriate to significantly enhance water quality.  Typical household sediment filters are relatively inexpensive and last many years. Obvious symptoms of needing a sediment filter include unusually slow cold water filling of the washing machine, and clogged faucet aerators.  Such a filter will aid in removal of small amounts of minerals as well.  Another indicator of a need for water treatment is staining, including both blue-green and/or darker staining of sinks and lavatories.  Water in this area typically is also moderately hard, and will benefit from softening, which is readily done via installed water conditioning equipment.  The water treatment equipment we recommend and install is made in this region (made in the USA).  Brine-based water softening equipment may require additional consideration as it may damage concrete (concrete septic tank baffles, for example) over a period of time.  Your county health department may be a source of additional information in this regard, and in additional there may be local rules/regulations in place which specify details of the used brine disposal.

    Questions - Do I Want a Well?

    So-called “public water” is frequently chlorinated to the point that there is an odor, and the taste is sometimes lacking as well.  With a properly-drilled water well, you can expect a lifetime of relatively cheap and good, potable, tasty water, and also, as much water as you may need without Two of the Fleetpaying more for peak usage periods.  Less-informed public officials would have you believe that a well is just a "bandaid" until public water can be run to your house.  A water well, properly constructed and pressure-grouted, will last a lifetime, yielding adequate quantities of good and clear water for your enjoyment.  Did you know that approximately 50% of the water used in the United States is supplied by wells?  Are you concerned about your well running dry?  Did you know that the majority of our nation's water supply is NOT in rivers, lakes, and streams, but in the ground?  That’s a fact.  And if you have additional questions about wells and underground water, please let us know, and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions.



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