Thinking about drilling a new well?

In this blog we will discuss some of the most common questions when going through the process of selecting a well drilling contractor and drilling a new well. Oakville Pump Service does not drill wells, but regularly help our customers through this process when old wells fail or new properties are being developed.

How deep will I have to go, and how much water will I get?

Answering this question means:

1) The person the question is asked of has superpowers to “see” hundreds of feet into the earth and “know” if there is water. These superpowers are pretty rare and people that claim to have them are frequently wrong.

2) The person is an experienced well driller/pump installer and has worked with many wells in your area and is familiar with the geology, aquifers and underground water supply in your specific area.

You should definitely seek out licensed contractors that fall into the second category. If someone has superpowers there are probably some other things they could be tackling like world peace and rescuing people from natural disasters.

How much will it cost?

This is determined by a number of factors that include well depth, method of drilling used (rotary air or rotary mud) access to the well drilling site, size of the well casing, and geology encountered during drilling (rock, clay, sand, etc…). Drilling a hole large enough for a 8” well casing can be considerably more expensive than for a 5” well casing. There are also factors that affect the cost that include fees for obtaining the permit to drill the well and control waste, erosion and runoff during the drilling process. To obtain accurate costing for drilling a new well will require an onsite meeting with a licensed and experienced well driller in your area.

How do I find a quality well drilling professional in my area?

After you do your google search and get a few names, note the contractor’s license number and then verify the license is active here. If they are drilling a well, their contractor’s license should have a C-57 endorsement and the name of the person licensed should be actively working in the company and not living in some other county or state!

Once you’ve narrowed the field down to three potential drillers, meet with them onsite. Be ready to explain what you need the well for. Ask about other wells they have drilled in the area, perhaps you know some of these neighbors and you can check with them about their experience. As you are interviewing the potential driller, the best choice is the one that will answer your questions thoughtfully and will endeavor to educate you about the process of drilling a well. They should discuss several factors including access to potential well drilling sites, if the well tailings (dirt/aggregate/sand removed in the well drilling process) can be disposed of on your property or if it needs to be hauled away. Because of the size and weight of a drilling rig, they may ask about access issues or tree/branch/landscaping removal.

Before ending your meeting with a potential well driller, make sure to ask if they have an estimate of how deep they will need to drill in your area and estimated water production. Ask what method of drilling (rotary mud or rotary air) they will be using and about the pro’s con’s and costs associated with each. Also ask if they will clean/develop the well to remove driller’s mud and what type of potential problems can happen during the well drilling process. Check to see if they do any water testing on the well for bacteria or other types of contamination that may impact your intended use for the water.

As you research a well drilling contractor it can be useful to call a few licensed pump companies in your area that do not drill wells, and ask them who does a good job drilling wells. Pump technicians work with wells drilled by many different well drilling contractors and take note of those that do a top notch job and those that don’t. While you are on the phone with them, you can also ask for a bid to install the submersible well pump after the well has been drilled and get a feeling for the pump companies in your area.

Be careful with well drillers that also install submersible well pumps. While the idea at first seems like a very efficient and simple solution, it has a few downsides for the end customer. By installing the submersible well pump, well drillers can avoid any and all peer review which may bring the quality and competence of their work into question. Well drillers are not always well versed in submersible well pump selection/installation and may not service the equipment they install. Lastly, you may not be getting a competitive price on the well pump equipment!

All well drillers do the same thing, so I can just go with the one that gives me the cheapest price, right?

To answer this question you need to know more about what is going on under the ground. In our experience, the cheaper well drillers are less expensive for very good reasons: they aren’t using the best quality or type of materials, they often don’t have the proper equipment, and they don’t take the necessary time to do a job with excellence and pay attention to the details. Yes, they drill wells that meet code, but that doesn’t mean they will meet your expectations. Wells done on the cheap may produce large quantities of sand and mud and very little water. This is often caused by improperly designed/engineered well casing and well pack materials. The guy with the cheapest bid often does not develop or clean the well when they are finished and you get a full of driller’s mud. You may have a high yielding aquifer that can produce 300 or 400 gallons per minute, but the driller puts a 5” casing to save some money and you will never be able to put a large enough pump in that small of a casing to access even half of the available water.

If your water needs are expanding and you’re thinking about drilling a well & installing a submersible well pump, give Oakville Pump Service a call at (707)944-2471. We’ve worked with many professional water well drillers in the Napa Valley. When our customers call and ask for our recommendation on a quality well driller in our area, we point them to Don at Huckfeldt Well Drilling. Integrity, quality and a willingness to work with customers through the entire well drilling process are just a few of the qualities you will encounter when working with Don and his crew!