Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oh Well ~ October 26, 2012

What are the three things a homeowner doesn't want to hear?

  1. You need a new roof
  2. Your septic system is shot
  3. You really should replace your well
I don't know if the proper word is "fortunate" but we do have the first two covered; the roof is in good shape and the entire septic system and leach field was replaced in 2006. Thank the goddesses for home equity.

We recently did the annual filter change on the house water system(Sebastopol well water is famous for bacterial iron). The increase in the volume of water to back flush the filter tank started shutting down the well on a nightly basis. After three years the jet pump, 100' down the well, is no doubt once again clogged with iron and manganese. The well cannot recharge fast enough to keep pressure tank at optimum levels.

The new morning ritual of walking down to the well to restart it and picking up the paper on the way back up to the house wasn't an ideal long term solution, especially with winter approaching. What are the options? 

  • Pull up and replace 200' of piping and the jet pump to the tune of about $1,000 ~ assuming that is the only problem
  • Install a water storage tank $6,700
  • Replace well estimated cost $17,000 and be done with it

The first and second choices are less expensive, quick fixes with no guarantees. The well is 60 years old and the stability of the old iron casing had to be part of the equation. Technology has changed dramatically in the last several decades so we decided to replace the well. The old one is still operational and we'll use it for the drip system in the vegetable garden.

The arrival of all the equipment, logistics of getting into place, and the process itself has been quite entertaining for the troops up here around our little compound. The sand chairs atop one of the compost piles provide prime viewing.

Set Up

Day Two

Weeks Well and Pump has been drilling for two days and will probably finish up on Monday. The old well is 240' so we'll go down to the same depth. All the tailings and slurry must stay on site so they built an earthen dam behind the garden for the water, soil, and sand, all of which is non-toxic.

Our neighbor, Engineer Mike, mused that it was too bad we couldn't find the Mother of all Gopher Dens and pump the slurry underground. Visions of cartoon tunnels and herds of gophers leaving town put a smile on all of our faces.

I walked down to the "wash" just before sunset and was fascinated by the colors, shadows and small tracks that already ran across the face. Stay tuned for Chapter Two.