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I bought a house a few years ago and am finally getting around to working on the irrigation system.

I have what I believe are two separate wells for outside water - one for the irrigation system and the other for a few spigots around the yard. I am in central Florida - I believe that matters regarding well type/depth?

Here is the well for the irrigation system:

Here is the well for the irrigation system: The top of that is about 6” below the ground level. Although it starts up and I can feel the ground vibrating around it, I don’t get any water from it. Could there be anything I’m doing wrong, or does feeling the ground vibrate mean that it is definitely running and needs to be pulled to investigate?

EDIT (5/5/2020): After pulling the pump up about 4 foot and lowering it back down, it now slowly pumps out a steady stream of very dirty water. The foot valve seems to work fine - it starts putting out water immediately when turning it on, so it's not leaking back down, at least not quickly.

Am I safe in assuming that this points to a dirty/clogged filter at the bottom? And is the only fix a pull and clean?


Here is the well and pump for the second one:

Second well Second pump This one has a pressure tank, unlike the irrigation well. I’ve tried priming this one via the priming plug and by back-feeding the spigots. The water that I put in gets pressure-fed back out to me, but I get nothing more. Could I have a blocked pipe?

EDIT (5/5/2020): I determined that the tank had a bad bladder, so I'm going to replace that. After letting the pump run for a long time, it does bring water up, in cycles. It will start to pump out water, and then it stops for a few seconds. This cycle goes on forever.

Does this cycling point to an issue with the pump or with the well?

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The jet pump may have a failed jet or plugged with sediment , that you can feel vibration on the submersible would concern me that must be really in bad shape to feel movement.

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  • Ok, thanks! Is there a simple way to check either of these possibilities for the jet pump? – Josh Johnson Mar 29 at 18:58
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    When you prime the jet is water filling in the pump? I have had the jet fall apart and it would not prime. On your setup I would get some new pvc couplings and glue, cut the pipe and pull the jet up and inspect it, the foot valve could be damaged or held open with crud or the Jet corroded through most are brass or stainless but they do fail. Pull it up they are usually poly pipe down the well and not often over 40 or 50’ , damage is usually obvious the y for the jet in 2 pieces or the foot stuck open. Then you can fix and drop the pipes back into the well glue the pvc together and try again. – Ed Beal Mar 29 at 21:25
  • After a bit of more testing, I've gotten the jet pump to supply water, but very slowly. While the pump is on, the water comes in waves, cycling from nothing to a steady stream. It does seem to hold water after I turn off the pump, so I don't believe it is the foot valve. Based on that 90 deg elbow heading down to the well, is it true that the drive line doesn't go into the ground? It looks like there's only one line going down. – Josh Johnson May 5 at 4:05
  • There are 2 types of shallow well pumps the single hose and double the single is limited to ~25’ the double a true jet can go down ~60’ below that submersibles are better. – Ed Beal May 5 at 13:38
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You feel vibrations so it would seem that the pump motor is running. You are not getting any water so water is not getting to the pump or the pump can't move it up enough

Some possibilities in order of likelihood:

  1. Clogged filter. Pull the pump and change the filter
  2. Pump bad. Pull the pump and replace the impeller or the full pump
  3. The water level has dropped below the pump intake. This occurs when the aquifer level has dropped due to more water being removed than is replaced. This is a somewhat common issue. This well might be shallower than your other well. If it is the case that the aquifer level has dropped then the well has 'failed' and a new one would need to be drilled to a deeper depth
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    I haven’t been using either well for the 3+ years I’ve had the house, so I’m hoping that it isn’t the last one. I’ll check the first two possibilities, thanks!! – Josh Johnson Mar 29 at 18:57
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    FYI the last one is a 'group feature' of all the wells on the aquifer so it can, and would likely still happen, even if you're not using your well. I hope that this is not the case too! – Ack Mar 29 at 19:44
  • I attempted to pull the pump with a hoist, and got it raised up around 4 foot before I lowered it back down. It's VERY heavy - my guess is around 400lbs. It looks like it's galvanized pipe all the way down, which could explain that. It also happened to start working a little bit after I lowered it back down, although the water was very dirty. It's just a slow stream, but it's definitely a stream and does build up pressure when I put my hand over the pipe. Would that likely point to a filter issue? – Josh Johnson May 5 at 4:15

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