Well, Who Would Like to Dig a Well?

All said and done I had an excavator on that project for 16 hours at $35 an hour, paid about $700 for the concrete products and a little over $300 for the pipe and fittings.

When I bought this land the first things I did was bring in some gravel to create a good pad for a mobile home and I dug a well. I have a couple creeks crossing my property but the government was being very slow to grant my water application. Unfortunately they didn’t bother to let me know that my application was automatically approved since I was the first person to request water rights. Thanks RDNO, you guys are useless. They told me they were too busy to get to me and I waited a year to find out I was automatically in possession of the license just by applying. Our regional district likes to make things hard and expensive so I learned my lesson, try not to talk to them!

So in the mean time I need a proven water source to get my authorization to build my home. I found a nice lush meadow above my house that was mostly an under ground seep, a confined aquifer, with some surface water as well. I picked a spot I could push a small road in that was very wet and dug a nice big hole. The clay was thick there so as I removed it from my well site and made a berm or dyke with it to help create a nice little pond. In order to source more clay I dug a second pond below my well and used most of it to shore up my well dyke. Then took a whole bunch of glacial till from the embankment up hill from the well and piled it over the edge of the berm to give it some thickness. I have a good sturdy berm to hold back the water this way.



I put my well 6′ deep as I didn’t want to punch through the clay and hit gravel, allowing to water to go into the ground. As soon as I noticed gravel I put some clay back in and mushed it down with the bucket. I stopped putting clay back in when I was sure there was no longer a swirl like a draining bath tub. I probably put 2′ worth back in. I was close to 9′ deep when I started loading the clay back in. it worked!
I went to my local concrete product manufacturer and bought two perforated 4′ concrete rings and one solid one. All blemished seconds, cash and cheap. I also bought a lid with man hole to keep leaves and critters out. The excavator I rented was just barely able to lift them off my uncles trailer and I had to use the blade on the front to support it while I climbed up the hill. We pumped out the hole with my 2″ Honda pump and got the first perforated ring in nice and level, squishing it into the clay real good. After that we back filled with field stones as drain rock then put the next two rings on and the lid. Over the next year I loaded 22 pick up truck loads of field stones picked from my field to fill in the pond. I don’t want to give water bugs and mice a place to die so I buried the water with stones. This also keeps the light off the water stopping algae from forming in our water source and keeps the well rings supported while allowing the water to flow to the center where I need it.


After digging my 2″ schedule 40 PVC pipe in 4′ down and running it down to my building site 360′ feet away with about a 30′ elevation drop I hired a local well drilling outfit to test the recovery rate of my well. My gamble payed off, we tested right after a huge rain storm and I barely passed. I got one step closer to my authorization to construct. I still needed a waste water certification on a septic but by then I had my mobile set up, plumbed and the septic was installed before I bothered to apply. I was learning how to deal with the regional district… Don’t if I can help it. Of course in the end I met all certifications to create a residential address out here, I just didn’t have time to wait for bureaucracy to allow me to build before winter came. Funds limited my time away from working so I really needed to get it all done.

Being that the pipe to my home was put at 4′ underground and my well is over 6′ I made a concrete plug around the pipe as a collar, run the pipe into one of the perforations, added a 2″ ball valve and put a 90 bend with an 18″ leg to draw water from closer to the bottom. When I filled the pipe for the first time I needed to remove the leg to allow the airlock to pass. So don’t glue that section, I didn’t. We packed clay around the pipe behind the collar to help seal the trench and added a 4″ ABS waste pipe as an over flow on the opposite side of the well to help keep the dyke from eroding. I seeded with grass as well.

We had a drought year that first year and my well was starting to empty and not recover so I took a trenching shovel up above and redirected the seeps into my well and dug a diagonal trench across the top of the meadow and directed that to my well as well. Never had a problem since, lots of water for us.

All said and done I had a rented excavator on that project for 16 hours at $35 an hour, paid about $700 for the concrete products and a little over $300 for the pipe and fittings. Not bad, beats the $12,000 that I was quoted for a drilled well. It is just that I need to filter and treat this water source with reverse osmosis as it is surface water and could get contaminated easily. Or boil it, no one wants beaver fever… I had help from my uncle (he trucked the concrete up with his big trailer), my Father who run the pump and had the level handy and my buddy Dave who glued the pipe the next day as I run the hoe digging trench and filling back in. We had some fun and I saved a bunch of money.

If you’d like to see the YouTube video of this project and photos taken during the build please feel free to visit my YouTube channel at NorthernWilds Lifestyle.

If you find it helpful or interesting please like, share and subscribe to the channel, it’s free! And have a great day. ~Scott