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How to locate a buried water well head
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Fred    Posted 03-07-2004 at 18:25:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Is there an practical way to locate a well head when it's buried below the ground level? I know the general vicinity where it should be - have tried a coin metal detector with no success - have dug down several feet in suspected spots - all to no avail.
Thanks for any ideas!
Fred (NYS)

Fred    Posted 03-23-2004 at 09:09:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
"Well", it's been a while since I asked for help to locate my buried well. I came up with an idea that worked so "well" that I wanted everyone to know how to do it.

With this method I could determine exactly how far the well is located from the house, and also exactly how deep the well head is buried - all this without stepping out of the house! To make it work you hope the water line follows a somewhat straight path from the house to the well, with no sharp turns.

In the cellar, where the water line feeds through the wall, I drilled a 17/32" hole in the water line. Next I fed 1/4" copper tubing through the hole until the tubing hit the well head. You can hear the metallic tunk when the copper tube hits.

Measuring how much tubing you feed through the wall tells you how far the well is from the cellar wall (-wall thickness). The well lies somewhere along the radius of that distance, assuming there are no sharp bends in the water pipe.

To find the depth of the well head I slipped several-foot of clear plastic tubing (3/8" OD X 1/4" ID) over the exposed end of the copper tubing - filled the tubing assembly with water to make a homemade water level. Now I raised or lowered the plastic tubing to where the water level showed through the clear plastic. This indicates the exact level of the well head!

I had previously dug holes and poked an iron rod, and tried a metal detector but could not find the well. With the tubing method I found the well to be 40" below the basement window and located along a 12' radius that extends from the corner of a cellar window. This info. took less than a half hour to determine - sure beats diggin, digging . .

Now I should be able to locate the well head by probing along the 12' radius with a steel rod.

Hope this helps someone else in my situation.

NEXT TIME - SUGGESTION    Posted 03-08-2004 at 18:19:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Know this won't help for this project, but for the next time: whenever I bury a pipe or wire, I try to fill the trench with white sand. (I have a sand pit available in the back field.) That way, if I'm digging and run into a streak of white sand, I know I'm onto something... Using sand around pipes and wires also helps protect against stones damaging the wires and pipes too. Also have taken photos of all the buried things when the trenches are open, with plenty of landmarks in the pictures. (Someday, I gotta get them into one album earmarked to stay with the property!) RayP(MI)

Fred    Posted 03-08-2004 at 19:08:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Excellent idea!!

naz    Posted 03-08-2004 at 04:17:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Had the same problem a couple of years ago, new old house and pump wouldn't pick up water.Figured foot valve and didn't know where the well cap was.To make a long story short my well cap was down 6feet and unless metal detector will sense that far it's no good.I found my line where it goes out the foundation wall,started digging (a couple buddies and shoveled) and followed the line to the cap.It was 15 feet from the outside wall and almost at the same depth as were the line came out.I ended up extending the well casing about 2feet above ground and installed a submersible pump.Similar experience,hope it helps.

Lazy Al    Posted 03-08-2004 at 03:43:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
some times you can dig a little trenches perpendicular to where you think the pipe runs to the house and look at the sides of the trench and you'll be able to tell where the dirt has been disturbed and follow it out to the well like that.
just a thought.

jdemaris    Posted 03-07-2004 at 18:57:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I recently went through the same thing. We tried a metal detector and did not find it. Then dug in several places where we thought it ought to be, but no good. I then brought the guy here who originally put the well in - in 1959. So, 45 years later, he was stumped too. Finally said the heck with it, and took a small backhoe, and dug down to where the water line enters the house (about 4' down), and then kept digging and followed it out until we found the well. It was only a couple of feet from where we had looked previously, but it was 5 feet down (we're in Central New York and it sometimes gets down to minus 35F). Put a pitless adapter on it, and extended the old steel casing with PVC about ground - like a modern well.

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