Speeding Up Well Drilling With Washout Planning

Posted on: 23 August 2016

If you need to get a well drill within a day, get ready to sweat. Without machinery, it's not easy to dig a hole deep enough to hit the safe, plentiful water table supply in your area. Thankfully, there's easier ways to dig than just using shovels or a post hole digger to dig deep enough. With a bit of water, some specialty parts that you can create from hardware stores and less work with the post hole digger, you can plan a washout well operation to get the job done faster. Here's some info on what a washout well does and how you can make it work. 

What Does Washout Mean?

Instead of digging into the ground with a shovel or other implement, you'll be using water to both loosen up the earth as you dig and to do a bit of the digging for you. The basic design of a washout well system is a well pipe with a makeshift drill bit on the end, which allows water to run out of the end of the bit.

There's still a bit of prep work needed to get the drilling rig started, and it's by no means an automated and easy task, but it gets things done faster than digging through dry dirt. This type of drilling assumes that you're able to transport a few gallons of water to the drilling site, and that the local water table isn't too far down to reasonably lift and drop a pipe.

Make sure to have a site survey of the area before digging. If you plan on digging a residential well in a town or city, you'll need to check with the city zoning ordnance and water utility to make sure that no underground wires or other systems are in the area that could be damaged.

The depth of the water table--the underground area with water deposits you'll be using--needs to be close enough to dig efficiently. There's no one length for a good well, but don't use a washout well if you'll be exceeding 50-60 feet of pipe. The pipe could be too heavy to lift and push, but that amount of effort is up to you.

Assembling The Washout Well Drill

Your pipe can be made of any material, but a quick washout well drill design uses a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe that can be left in the ground after being used to drill. At the end of the pipe, cut triangle-shaped notches to act as cutting and grinding teeth that will tear away at the ground as you dig.

The digging potential can be enhanced by using a metal drilling bit at the end. This can be any heavy metal that is water-safe, such as steel. Iron isn't recommended due to its quick rusting, but any material can be used as long as you remove the metal bit before leaving the pipe in permanently. 

Cut two rectangular-shaped holes near the bottom of the pipe to allow more efficient water movement. Dig a hole deep enough to stand the pipe upright, then insert a water hose through the pipe. Attach the hose to a water source, such as a water pump and barrel or manually pouring water in.

Drill by twisting, lifting and pushing the pipe to wash away the dirt as you drill. Water can be pumped out and reused as long as the pump can handle dirty water. Contact a well water professional, like one at Rippe Well Service INC, for assembly assistance, or for machine-powered drilling if the water depth is too deep or if you simply need faster well placement.