Just like water evaporates from an open container, it can also finish from an underground well. Wells have provided water for centuries to people all across the entire world. In the US, around 15% of the total population consumes water from wells.
A dry well can be a grave concern for the well owners. In this article, we will discuss how you can fix a dry well, what the reasons behind it, and also look at the symptoms. This article will help you take proactive action based on the symptoms.
Before we begin, let’s look at the factors which govern the water level in the well.
- Well depth
- Type of aquifer from which water is coming
- The volume of water pumped from the well
- Number of wells in the surrounding areas
- Permeability and porosity of the underground rocks
- Amount of recharge occurring from precipitation or artificial recharge
Reasons behind a Dry Well
The following are the most common reasons behind a dry well.
Mechanical Problems – A standard well system uses a well pump, storage tank, plumbing pipes, water filters, and/or softeners to provide you with water at home. The equipment may develop some issues with time, and it may lead to you think that your well is drying. The pump may be malfunctioning; there may be some electrical problems or water leakage. If you are experiencing a drop in water pressure, get your well system inspected for potential issues.
Sediment Buildup – It is possible that sediment and mineral build-up is preventing water from reaching your home. Well water contains a lot of minerals, sand, dust, and mud particles. As it moves underground, water catches impurities. These impurities deposit in the pipes over the years and decrease the water flow rate. You must get your pipes and storage tank checked for sediment deposits.
Withdrawal Volume – The amount of water taken from the well can also cause it to go dry. Wells recharge at a certain rate and this rate depends upon the volume of water in that area, rainfall, or artificial recharge. When you use more water, the taps may sputter, or the water pressure will reduce temporarily. It can happen during peak hours. If your neighbors also take water from the same aquifer, a reduced flow rate can happen more commonly.
Complete Dry-Up – It is also possible that the water underground may get dried. Though it is very rare, it can happen after 10-20 years. It can happen due to rapid consumption over the years as compared to the refilling rate. Complete dry-up can also happen due to a change in the geography of the area. Droughts can dry the underground water faster than anticipated. An increase in population, a rise in average temperature, and environmental issues can also cause water wells to dry permanently.
Symptoms of a Dry Well
If you notice the following signs with your well water, your well is likely drying up pretty quickly. Though nothing can be said with assurance as the below-mentioned symptoms can be associated with other problems as well.
- Muddy or murky water
- Change in taste
- Coughing and sputtering taps
- Reduced flow rate
- The water pump runs longer
- It may malfunction frequently
- Neighbors report the same problem
Solutions for Fixing a Dry Well
The following solutions can help you deal with a dry well
General Inspection – If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is time to get your well system inspected. You can also do it yourself. A general inspection would require checking the working of pumps, water filter and softeners, plumbing pipes, valves, and the entire plumbing system. If everything is working fine and you can check no issues, it is time to get to the next solutions. You can also ask well professionals to do it for you for a more thorough checkup.
Water Pump Placement – You may need to lower the water pump in your well. The water level may go down after years of use. It is possible that the pump is not fully inside the water, and this is why it is sucking air along with water. The air in water pipes leads to coughing taps. If you have drilled the well yourself, you can easily find the well depth in the construction documents and depth of the pump. You can deepen the pump yourself. Otherwise, well experts can do it for you. Please keep in mind that the pump-lowering method won’t work for jet pumps and shallow wells. It is best applied on submersible pumps and deep wells. The only drawback to this solution is that it is a temporary measure, and the dry well problems may start after 3-4 months.
Read more: How to Prime a Well Water Pump?
Fracking the Well – As we already discussed, sediment and mineral buildup inside the well can cause the flow rate to decrease. Sediment gathers at the bottom of the well and reduces the replenishment rate. The best way to get rid of this problem is hydrofracking. This technique uses a high-pressure water stream. It is injected down the well and helps in opening fractures and creeks in the adjacent rocks. Ultimately, it will lead to a faster replenishment rate.
Deepening the Well – The last resort must be deepening the well. Water well companies will suggest you that it must be the first strategy against a drying well. Well deepening gives them more benefits as compared to other solutions. The well depth is increased to tap more water underground. It may cost you in thousands.
Digging a New Well – If nothing else works, the last solution is to dig a new well. You must consult a professional before going for this option as it involves a lot of complications. You may choose to drill a deep well yourself. However, it is a challenging task. You can read all about it here.