How to Drill Your Own Shallow Irrigation Well
Irrigation wells help homeowners to provide water to their lawns and gardens without using a potable water supply. These irrigation methods help a homeowner to reduce their costs for water supply. In many areas with shallow water tables, you can install an irrigation well using a hand auger. Check with your state water bureau before you install the well to determine if there are any installation or permitting guidelines to follow.
Connect the hand auger bucket to one pole using the bolts or pins provided with the auger system. The pole will connect to the handle in the same manner. Typically, the poles will slide into a fitting on the handle, bucket or another pole and a bolt or pin will slide through holes in the fittings to secure the pieces.
Place the hand auger bucket at the location for the irrigation well and twist the handle so that the bucket advances into the soil. Twist the auger until the bucket is full then remove the hand auger from the ground and empty the soil into a bucket, onto the ground or plastic sheeting. You are not required to contain the soil in a bucket or on plastic; however, it is easier to move the soil cuttings after you complete the well using these methods.
Add new poles to the hand auger as you reach the land surface with the handle. Continue to dig the borehole and add poles until you reach the total depth of the well. Check with the manufacturer of your well pump to determine the optimal depth for your well to ensure adequate water flow.
Assemble the well materials. The well point will screw into the bottom of the screen and the casing will screw into the top of the screen. Place a well cap on top to keep material out of the inside of the casing and screen as you complete the irrigation well installation.
Insert the well materials into the borehole so that the well point rests on the bottom of the hole.
Place sand into the annular space between the outside of the screen and the borehole wall until it reaches a height that is 2 feet higher than the depth of the screen. For example, if your well screen sits between 15 and 20 feet below ground surface, the sand should extend to 13 feet below ground. Use a weighted measuring tape to measure the height of the sand. You can drop the tape between the casing and borehole wall until it reaches the top of the sand. Take care not to pour sand on top of the tape, as it will eventually become buried.
Pour 2 feet of bentonite chips or pellets on top of the sand. Add one bucket of water to the annular space to hydrate the bentonite then allow the well to sit for approximately one hour while the bentonite clay swells, sealing the sand and screen from the surficial layers.
Fill the remaining open annular space with grout. You can mix the powdered grout mix with water in a bucket, then pour the grout through a 1-inch PVC pipe with a funnel so that the material fills the opening from the bottom to the top. This method ensures that no air holes remain within the grout.
Complete the well with a well cover to protect the casing and your well pump.
Tracy Barnhart is an earth science expert. A professional geologist with over 16 years of technical writing experience, she has expanded her writing skills to include instructional articles on business, parenting, finance and science. She has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in geology from Furman University and the University of South Carolina.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images