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I would like to have my own water source so I was checking for permits for well drilling and for some potential companies to do that. While searching for them, I came across some guidelines. They say that it can be DYI, but it needs to respect some steps. One of them is to add grout to make sure no pesticides get in.

DIYing is an intriguing option, but I was wondering why grout? The way I imagine a well is just a pipe hammered in the ground, with a pump that takes the water out. I cannot find a clear answer to this, and I’ve been checking the nomenclature also. I can see many terms, such as “Bored Well”, “Annular space”, “Casing” etc. but I fail to understand if hammering a pipe in the ground is considered a well or not…

They are defining five types of Wells:

  1. Open hole in bedrock aquifer
  2. Screen in unconsolidated aquifer with natural filter
  3. Screen in unconsolidated aquifer with artificial filter
  4. Open hole in consolidated limestone aquifer
  5. Bored or dug well having a large diameter

Is a hammered pipe type 5? And if it is, how does one add grout to that?

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    If you just hammer a pipe into the ground, you will end up with a pipe full of dirt. Even if you clear that out, the only way for water to get into the pipe is through the end, so you need to hit a very wet porous layer, or you will hardly get any water at all.
    – Simon B
    Jul 24, 2022 at 20:06
  • Right, very wet porous layer. But would that be considered a well? Jul 24, 2022 at 20:17
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    @SimonB Actually, people do drive specialty pipes into the ground and it works, google: Driven Point Wells Jul 25, 2022 at 4:53
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    It would probably help a lot to indicate your locale as the rules probably vary.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 25, 2022 at 13:22
  • @SteveWellens that’s exactly what I was thinking about. So it’s called a Driven Point Wells. This opens a whole new world on Google. Can you please add an answer so I can vote on it? This is exactly what I was looking for and it seems like it was a practice in the past, but not so ubiquitous today. Jul 25, 2022 at 14:51

4 Answers 4

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In short, yes, the well rules (whatever they are in your LAHJ) apply to driving a pipe into the ground.

A driven well is type 2 or 3 (the screen is in the drive point on the end of the pipe, generally) and is only practical where a shallow well is practical. You need water near the surface you can use, and you need soils you can drive a pipe through between the surface and the water. In some areas they work well, in others you haven't got the tiniest hope of success.

IIRC (been 20+ years since I looked into it) my LAHJ (Local Authority Having Jurisdiction) allowed driven or self-drilled wells of 2" or smaller pipe 25 feet or less deep. Other LAHJs will have different rules. They "allowed" those by not requiring you to be a licensed well driller for those specific constraints. Bigger or deeper, you need the license, and the only practical way to get one is to be in the business. They also allowed type 5 (dug) wells with the same 25 foot depth limit.

A type 5 is typically 2-6 feet in diameter, with a casing to prevent soil collapse. Casings are typically precast concrete in the modern era, stone or brick as seen in older installations.

The grout requirement is to prevent surface runoff from using the well bore as a way to contaminate the aquifer below without being forced to filter through soils (which clean up a variety of contaminants, and is also the way the aquifer related to the surface before you poked a hole down into it. So you are "not making it worse.")

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If you google: "Driven Point Wells" you will find what you are looking for.

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Images from: https://inspectapedia.com/water/Driven_Point_Wells.php https://dengarden.com/home-improvement/How-To-Replace-Your-Old-Well-And-Save-Dollars

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The average depth of a well is 100 to 800 feet deep. They are usually drilled and then have a pump installed. So hammering a pipe that far down while continuing to pull it out and emptying out the dirt, seems to be an impossible task. You might get real lucky and get a shallower one but drinking that water could be dangerous.

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  • Thank you for your answer. So you think it’s unrealistic. What about for irrigation of garden? Jul 24, 2022 at 20:26
  • @CuriousPaul That would depend a lot on location and if well drilling/driving is even allowed on the property. There is ground penetrating radar that can assist in detecting water tables and depth. Even one for gardening should be deep to filter out the impurities.
    – JACK
    Jul 24, 2022 at 20:48
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    In many parts of the Western US, you can't access the groundwater even if it's 2 feet under the surface (not that it is) as you don't own the right to, for example. Water rights, mineral rights and the like were split off from surface rights long ago. In the Eastern US, to the extent that I understand the applicable law, it's common to "own" to the center of the planet under your land.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 25, 2022 at 19:46
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Fence posts may be driven into the ground. Oil well surface casing may be driven with steam hammers but that is a completely different world from a home owner well. A well will need steel casing to the surface and a wellhead to prevent any contamination entering the well with surface water. Such a well will be drilled or bored. It may be cemented around the outside of the casing at the bottom ( grout) to seal the aquifer itself ; then the cement is drilled out of the inside of the casing. I am not certain how common that is for a homeowner well. I am considering it from a perspective of what may be legal in the US for potable water. From place to place there are many techniques depending on the aquifer, tradition, and law.

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