Well… Done. Almost.

Victor has finished making our well. He had two days where he struck and struck and struck hard, dense volcanic rock, making only about 5-feet per day. He showed me some of the glittering quartz in the volcanic pudding rocks. But he prevailed and we now have our water well. It ended up at his prescribed 80-feet-deep. He installed a 6-inch PVC pipe casing, cutting 1/16-inch wide, 6-inch long slits here and there in the lower 60-feet to allow the water to enter. The top 20-feet was left un-slit so that potentially contaminated surface water wouldn’t enter the well.

After cleaning the last of the debris from the hole, he tested for volume. We have a very respectable 26-gallons per minute. There’s 60-feet of water in the pipe, meaning that we have several hundred gallons of water on tap. In the dry season.

Then he and the men packed the equipment and moved the rig away from the well. We had four yards of gravel delivered, and the men shoveled about three of it into the space between the dirt and the PVC pipe. They stopped the gravel about three feet down, then mixed a few wheelbarrows full of concrete, which they poured on top of the gravel.  This sealed the well from topside contamination.

Victor and I walked to my house where I logged on to my bank and transferred his fee to his bank account. Cynthia and I thanked them all, sent regards to Victor’s wife, waved them off, and they lumbered down the mountain.

Victor suggested that I get a submersible pump so that we wouldn’t need to build a pump house enclosure. Even so, Armando and I still had a bit of work to do to enclose the top of the well. We dug a hole about four-feet square and about a foot-and-a-half deep. (It is such a pleasure not to have to build for frost and freeze.) We mixed concrete and poured the footing. It was a warm day so the concrete set rapidly. After a quick lunch, we placed two courses of concrete blocks on the foundation. Then, while Armando was mixing more concrete and placing a 3-inch slab floor inside the block perimeter and around the well casing, I screwed some boards to one of the shipping container floors and we poured a concrete slab into this form. We will let the slab cure for a week before rounding up two more men to move it to be the “roof” over the well. Or perhaps Armando and I can do it alone if we use my little red wagon. The slab will be heavy, but movable enough should the pump need service in the future.

I went shopping one day and came home with:

  • a submersible pump and motor
  • a pump controller
  • a surge protector to protect the motor from our erratic power supply
  • a hundred feet of PVC pipe and various fittings
  • a sanitary cap for the top of the well
  • a hundred feet of submersible wire to power the pump motor
  • a hundred feet of plastic rope to attach to the pump for when we need to pull the pump
  • some electrical conduit
  • a pressure tank, pressure switch, and a gauge

I still need to install all of this, but I want to wait until the roof slab is cured enough to move it into place.

Here are some photos:

Victor and the crew hit rock bottom. This photo looks like a music CD cover shot: Victor V and the Rock Bottom Boys.

Cleaning the last of the debris from the well. This pipe has a valve on the bottom so they can pull stuff up from way down below.

The gravel goes into the hole around the pipe.Victor cut some bailing wire and draped it into the top of the pipe. Then he stuffed the empty cement bag into the pipe, resting on top of the wires. Then, he placed some concrete on top of the bag. This made a temporary plug to keep the well clean. When I install the pump, I will cut the pipe off close to the concrete floor.

Here's the well house. I made the wooden form to facilitate getting everything square. Armando fought the idea at first because he didn't understand how to do the job without a framing square, but I persisted. He got how easy it was when we laid the second corner in relation to the first. Tomorrow we will place some pipe and electrical conduit in the open space and fill in around it. Then Armando can apply the repello (stucco).

Not much to look at, but here is the slab for the well roof.

Bonus photo: sunset over the mountains

Stay tuned. A new post is in the works.

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3 thoughts on “Well… Done. Almost.

  1. It is good to hear/see the progress. Home space formed and dependable water available. Great. I always love the pictures. thanks for blogging.

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