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Disaster Stories of Dry Well Drilling

Drilling a water well isn’t quite as simple as just digging until you hit water. A lot can go wrong, which means surveying before you drill is more than a good recommendation; it’s a necessary component of ensuring you end up with a successful and safe well.

The disaster stories—what can go wrong

There are a couple of different types of things that can go wrong when you are drilling your well. For instance, you could hit something in the process of drilling down to your new potential water source, leaving you with a geyser instead of a well (let’s just hope it’s a water main you’ve hit and not a sewage main). Similarly, you could hit something that will contaminate your water source, or you could access a contaminated source of water—like water with too much salinity, or water that is contaminated with something worse. In these instances, the risk isn’t just to your own well. Drill the wrong way, and one wrong frack could lead to the cross contamination of your neighbors’ water sources, too. Alternatively, you could end up with a dry well, and the prospects there aren’t any better.

Dry wells can take a couple of different forms. First, there are the shallow wells that have hit water, but which run out of water quickly during summer heat and drought. These types of wells can sometimes be drilled deeper to access a more stable source of water—but not always. Alternatively, you could end up with a well that is purely in the wrong place and never had a hope of hitting water. Drilling a well—especially a deep well—is a very expensive endeavor, and a dry well will leave you with nothing to show for your money or efforts except a potential safety hazard on your property.

How surveying can help

Surveying can help you determine the depth your well needs to be and the potential yield of the water before you start drilling. A groundwater survey sends deep pulses of seismic sound waves into the ground. The information that is sent back can determine where there are aquifers, layers of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures, gravel, sand, or silt. Technological advancements have even enabled experts to determine potential yield as well as just availability of water, and this can go a long way towards ensuring you drill a well that is going to adequately cover all of your water needs. From this information, experts can assess where it would be most practical to drill a well, and how much water it will be able to produce, estimated either in gallons per minute or in liters per second. It can help you avoid ending up with a dry well, and it can also reveal other pipes and systems that could leave you with either a contaminated water source or the old faithful of raw sewage.

Surveying can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, and it can help to ensure the water you end up with is safe for you and your family to drink. For more information about having a water survey done before you drill, or to get a quote, contact us at American Water Surveyors today.

July 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm Comments (0)

How Does Getting A Water Survey Save Me Money?

Alright, let’s use some hypotheticals to demonstrate this point: say you are staring at a totally untouched, five-acre stretch of land. You decide to build a house on it, but you need to service it. So, you have to pay to get electricity to it, and install a septic system, and dig a well to have water. What makes more sense to you? To dig a hole for a septic tank without knowing what your digging into, or to survey the land first? What if you bury that septic tank right on top of the best source of water?blog pic

Dollars and sense

In the above-mentioned scenario, you’d likely want to relocate your septic system, which means digging a new spot for it, and then repairing the old spot to accommodate a well – and of course, you don’t want these two things to be too close to each other either. It costs money to buy a septic system and have it installed, and it costs money to remove and relocate a septic system. It also costs money to have a proper well drilled and built – even if that well turns out to be dry. So at the end of the day, doing a proper land and water survey is the best way to guard against making costly mistakes.


A survey should always be the very first thing you do on your land before anything is built. You need to know exactly what your plot is made of, especially if you are in a rural location. You don’t want to build your home on unstable ground, and you don’t want to dig multiple dry wells – you certainly don’t want to put your septic system in the wrong place. Yes, land and water surveys cost money, but if you are going to build your own home, or need a new well because a previous one is now dry, you don’t want to forgo these costs simply to save a buck. Let’s face it, at the end of the day skipping a survey could end up costing you more than you budgeted for anyway. Do it right the first time.

Survey before you buy

You might come across undeveloped plots for sale, and there is a good chance those plots have already been surveyed, so you’ll want to go over those records before you buy any land. If a survey has not been done, paying to have one completed prior to buying any land is important. Think about it like you would if you were buying a home; you never purchase a home without doing a professional home inspection first, because it’s important that you know what you are buying – and it can give you negotiating leverage over the price. The same is true for buying land. Never buy something you aren’t fully informed on. The land could be contaminated, it could be primarily boggy, or it could have no usable water resources on it.

The fact of the matter is, cutting corners to save money now will always result in you paying that money later anyway, and possibly more than you would have paid the first time around. Collect all the information you can to begin with so that you can make an informed decision the first time around.

To get an affordable, high-quality water survey that will locate groundwater and estimate the depth and yield so your well drillers know exactly where to drill, contact American Water Surveyors today.

July 11, 2016 at 7:50 am Comments (0)