Since last Tuesday, the well drillers have been parked in my field. Despite drilling a test hole in March, things have not gone according to plan.
In March, I was told we had a pretty good shot of making my target of 1000 gallons per minute in one 12” diameter well. The 15 foot long formation about 130 feet deep is not at long as we would like, but it is course gravel. Unfortunately, it just isn’t producing the water we had hoped. In fact the best estimate today on that well is between 5-600 gpm, which isn’t enough for a quarter mile system with a swing arm.
The first well is in and you can’t pull it up and reinstall it. So, we drilled a second well about 1000’ feet away. The formation wasn’t as good, but this time they drilled until they hit shale at about 220 feet deep. (I learned my lesson, from now on we will drill to shale or bedrock on all test holes, that would have taken some guessing out of this game.) Below the first vane, we found another one that was about 12-15 feet long with the bottom at about 180 feet. In hopes of saving wire, pipe, and crops, the decision was made to move back to the center of the field where the pivot point is and drill on the opposite side from the first well. Since there are two separate vanes, competition should not be an issue.
Today I received the initial report from the second well. We guessed this vane was not going to be as good, and since we only needed 3-400 gallons, a 10” well was installed. Based on the conversation today, I can hope for half of that. The driller was still developing (cleaning the drill materials out of the well) the well when I left. They were going to put a cleaner in the well over night and try some more in the morning.
We must just be in a tough spot. On the field to the north, 2000 feet away, we have another well with 40 feet of fine gravel/sand that was also a disappointment. We attributed that to other factors, we get about 600 gpm out of that well. The field to the east has 30 feet of a similar formation which was good more than the 700 gpm we pump out of it. If I remember correctly, I could have get 9-1000 out of that one. You don’t have to go very far in any direction to find 1000 gpm wells around this farm.
It is likely we will have to live with whatever we get. Sometimes, wells get better over time, though not likely, we can hope that is the case. We may have to re-nozzle the system, and will be under the desired capacity. If estimates from the test hole in March would have been closer to what we found, I may have decided to pump water from one or both of the other wells to this field. It wouldn’t have been easy with road cuts or borings, the pipe shortage, and it wouldn’t have saved much money over drilling the well, but it would have been an option. However, at this point in time, I think enough time, energy, and money has been spent. It is time to get pumps installed and get the system running. We’ve had a few pop-up showers this week, but nothing real substantial.