I own the lot next to our house. We had a well drilled, thinking we would build there. Plans changed and now it just sits. The plan now is to plant about 100 trees. Is there a way to tap that well for a year-round outdoor water source? Can you set up a pump/ outdoor spigot without a pressure tank? There is no structure there of any kind but I can get electric to the site.

Update: The newly dug well is 250' but there is actually an old hand dug well with an old hand pump on it. I don't know it's depth but obviously will be shallow. I do know that it takes 18 pumps on the handle and you have water. Maybe that would be the more appropriate for this application. I was hoping to keep this simple and the concrete vault isn't simple. We do have a tractor with a back hoe though, so that makes it all easier.

  • I can't see any reason why you couldn't install a pump. "Year-round" gets into questions of freezing, though, unless you let all the water drain back below ground when not actively drawing from the well (as would have been the case with traditional hand pumps).
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 14:10
  • How deep is the well? Irrigation pumps tend to be low pressure, high volume and you have a maximum lift of approx 32 feet. Deeper requires a jet pump or submersible and you start converting to high pressure and using a tank to take advantage of that for accumulating water volume. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 14:18
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    You might also check on the legality of using well water for irrigation. My parents drilled a residential well (in the dry, water-obsessed West) ten years ago, and one of the rules is that they can't use it to irrigate more than 0.25 acres. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


If you are fundamentally opposed to (or trying to avoid paying taxes on) an aboveground structure, you could bury a vault to put at least a small pressure tank in. With use of a "constant pressure valve" or a variable-speed "constant pressure pump" you can get away with quite a small pressure tank (2-5 gallons) but you really can't run a pump without any pressure tank, at least not remotely efficiently (you could, I suppose, put a pressure-relief valve in the line at the top of the well, and run without a pressure tank - the excess pressure would recycle water down the well, but that's a terrible waste of power...)

If you really need water in the winter, bury the whole thing below frost line - one common method is to use 4 or 6 foot diameter concrete well tile (as used for shallow dug wells) placed over/around the drilled well casing to provide the frost-free vault - you can insulate the top and sides for better effectiveness. While you have a backhoe in to dig for that and the power line, dig some trenches below frost line to where you want to have hose spigots, and put "frost-free hydrants" at each one (they have a valve at the bottom, and leak away the water in the upright pipe between uses.) Might as well have the backhoe dig 100 holes for trees while you have it, too.

If not fundamentally opposed to a structure, an aboveground structure (small toolshed for the orchard) above the wellhead might be a less expensive approach, unless the local taxing authority makes it an expensive approach after all (that can happen, and is best to be aware of when deciding.) The area with the pressure tank can be heavily insulated and electrically heated to 45F or so if you really need water to hoses in freezing weather, or you can drain the whole system in the fall and start it up again in the spring if you don't really need to use water from hoses in the winter.

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    In many areas, using concrete tiles to construct a well pit as you described is no longer allowed: they are a common source of ground water contamination from run-off, animals dying and decomposing in the pits, etc (which contaminates the aquifer and surrounding wells, not just your well).
    – gregmac
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 15:58
  • If so, used a sealed vault (one that has a concrete floor, and concrete manhole covers for access, thus providing no access for animals, etc - and place it 10-20 feet sideways from the well-head.) Always be careful to ventilate any such sealed or semi-sealed underground structure throughly before entering it and while working in it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 16:54

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