Water! or That Has Never Happened To Me Before

I had called a driller last December to get on his schedule to have a new well drilled. In early January I made the dreaded trip to the State Water Engineer’s office for the required well permit. After much delay, the driller and equipment finally made an appearance last week. A couple of friends had helped me take down the fence along the drive so that the drilling equipment could reach the area where the new well was going to be dug. It needed to be close to the existing well and pump house to minimize costs of hooking the well into the existing lines and electrical system. 1 Three large trucks and an equipment trailer were backed into the area and the drilling rig was set in place. 2Shortly after drilling commenced, water and mud started bubbling up in the surrounding area (thank you gophers) and the driller hit water at about 15 feet. 3 Though I live in a desert and we have had drought conditions for the past several years, I also live close enough to the Rio Grande that hitting water wasn’t considered to be a problem. The difficulty was going to be putting in a well which didn’t have sand issues. At 65 feet, gravel was hit but there was a lot of sand as well so the driller kept going. The sand and gravel coming out of the hole was pumped up onto a truck and then off the side. 3aAt 96 feet it appeared the gravel was good enough to place the casing. The driller was predicting the well would be cased by the end of the day and all was well with my world. Then I went out about 4 pm and thought something didn’t look quite right. A lot of white pipe covered with mud was being brought up. Granted I know very little about drilling and wells in general, but I was pretty sure the casing was supposed to be going down. The driller saw me standing off to the side and came over to talk with me. No good conversation ever begins “that has never happened to me before.” Evidently when they started to clear the well, fine sand clogged the perforations in the casing and the pressure caused the casing to back out of the hole. After all the casing was out, they called it a day, promising to return the next morning. The fix was to drill a little deeper before trying to case the well. Here water is coming up. 4

I watched a fountain of water and ventured to ask if they were trying to run the well dry. The driller laughed and said they wanted to make sure the water was clear. He said it looked like an excellent well. I then asked if they were at all worried about the fact that a whole lot of water was turning the immediate surroundings into mud and there were some very heavy trucks parked on that ground. He assured me they wouldn’t get stuck – famous last words – it took several railroad ties to get the first truck out so they could then use that truck to pull out the other two trucks. 5

Yesterday a different company came out to put in a submersible pump and lay pipe from the well to the existing infrastructure. 6
The backhoe operator very kindly filled in the ruts left by the drilling equipment.

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