"If you want a drink of water, you've got to get it from a well."
Credits to Ozark Mountain Daredevils, used by permission.
These are questions asked by our customers about the drilling and pump installation process as well as answers to the questions you may have but haven’t asked yet. Contact Schroeder Rotary Drilling & Pump Company for any other questions you have.
Why Do You Give Estimates Rather Than Bids?
Schroeder Rotary Drilling & Pump Company is proud to provide the highest quality products and service to our customer. To serve your needs most effectively and to ensure that your well and water system are exactly what you require, we provide custom estimates rather than providing prices using a preset fee.
This is due to numerous unknown considerations that can arise during the drilling process such as the depth needed to reach an adequate water supply and types of geological formations encountered during drilling. This approach benefits you because you only pay for the products and labor actually required for your unique water well system. Using the estimation method also allows you to choose the pump brand, horsepower, and flow required for your specific needs.
How Do I Know What Size Pump I Need?
The selection of the pump can also affect the duration and reliability of your warranty. Estimate totals will vary depending on pump selection. Our pump of choice, Franklin Electric J-Class, is backed by its own customer service division which is second to none. Franklin Electric J-class is still manufactured in America. J-Class, we feel offers a more reliable warranty that can be up to 5 years. Old American brands such as Red Jacket, ITT Goulds, Aeromotor, Myers, Sta-Rite, and Berkeley are now being manufactured using motors with the CentriPro and Pentek Brands whose components are manufactured in China and only “assembled” in America.
We will always recommend the products that best fit your needs whether they are for home, agricultural, or commercial purposes.
Grout Material… What to Choose?
Portland Cement or Bentonite?
Portland cement is more expensive and labor intensive to install, however, we feel it provides a more reliable casing seal. In all cases, our choice is to use cement grout which is Portland cement mix with water. The mix gives the grout the consistency of a thin slurry which allows it to find its way to the bottom of the casing through the limited opening around the casing. It is poured into the well in most cases and its consistency allows it to flow freely past any obstructions it sometimes falls into the hole while the casing is being installed. It can find its way past most obstructions so that it ends up around the bottom of the casing where it seals the surface casing as it is intended. It makes for a solid permanent seal for the surface casing to insure for years to come that no surface water contamination is introduced into the potable water source below the surface casing.
Bentonite is another form of grout used by some drillers in Missouri. It comes in many forms 3/6 inch chips, 1/4 inch pellets with a slow dissolving coding, and a powder form to be mixed with water which makes a very thick slurry almost solid slurry. In most cases, the 3/8 inch chips are used by pouring the chips out of the bag around the casing in dry form. Bentonite is a clay that is mined from various areas the United States. Its characteristics are that it rapidly absorbs moisture causing it to swell and become sticky. These characteristics make it a poor choice to use when grouting in the limited space around the casing.
Although the casing is only 6 5/8 inches in diameter the couplings located every 20 feet are a little more than 7 inches in diameter. This leaves barely an inch of space around the casing for the chips to fall through and perfect conditions. If the dirt, rocks, and clay swell from hydration or are loosened by the washing effect that happens during the drilling process as happens in most cases when the whole size around the casing can be reduced greatly leaving only a small space for the chips to work there wait past.
Compounding this problem is the fact that a couple of areas have a large squared lip that also makes it difficult for the chips to find their way past. As the chips fall into the hole, they come in contact with the dirt, rocks, and clay that have been hydrated because of the drilling process. This contact with the borehole surface causes the dry bentonite to become hydrated thus making it swell and become sticky. As the bentonite “tumbles” into the hole it bounces back and forth between the outer diameter of the borehole and casing.
The tumbling effect causes the velocity of the following done today to slow. If the diameter decreases enough and the bentonite swells and becomes sticky enough, it has the tendency to become trapped before it reaches the bottom of the borehole. We believe this happens in most cases and if this does happen, then the bentonite is trapped well above the area it needs to be and the surface casing is unable to be sealed allowing surface water and contamination to enter the potable water supply of the well.
The moral of the story here is that easier and cheaper is not always better. For this reason, our choice is to use cement grout instead of bentonite.
A Brief Explanation of the Grouting Process
Grouting is the process that seals the outside annular space of the surface casing. This prevents surface water contamination. To do its job correctly the grout needs to find its way around the casing to the bottom of the bore hole thru an opening which in most cases is less than 1 inch in width.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' regulations require that at least the bottom 30 feet of annular space must be filled with grout for most areas in Central Missouri. The best upgrade a customer can make in the construction of a water well is to fill the entire annular space around the casing with grout. For every 30 feet of casing, 6 bags of grout are needed to completely fill the annular space. In most cases, the grout is installed using the gravity method as described in the DNR’s Construction Rules for Wells and Water Systems
Insurance Coverage Verification
Regardless of who you hire, we recommended that you require the contractor to provide you with “certificate of insurance.” These are available to you free of charge and certify that the contractor you are about to hire is properly insured. They should originate from your driller’s insurance agent or directly from the insurance company to prevent a counterfeit certificate from being insured.
If your contractor cannot, or is unwilling, to finish the certificate, chances are they are not insured. If you hire an uninsured contractor, you should be held responsible should an accident take place on your property or left holding the bag if your contractor damages yours or someone else's property. We are always more than happy to provide you with a stiff of insurance if requested.
Tom maintains fiscal responsibility to his customers and staff by maintaining General Liability insurance to the limit of 2 million dollars as well as covering his employees with Workers Compensation, Unemployment Benefits, and SSI. Any contractors claim to have insurance coverage when in reality they are not covered at all. When you hire Tom, ask for a certificate of insurance and he will call his agent and have one sent promptly to you. Missouri law mandates that anyone in the construction industry who employs one or more employees carry Workman's Compensation insurance.
Where Is the Best Location for My New Well?
The location of the well ideally should be within 20 to 100 feet of the main point of use. If the well is to be used for a residence, for example, the well should be close to the house. Locating the pressure tank inside the home will prevent the need of a well house or having the unreliability of a high maintenance buried pressure tank. If the well must be located farther than 100 feet from the point of use, this will increase the cost of the well. It would mean more digging costs, more pipes, and could cause the installation to require larger wire. Ideally, the well and the pressure tank should be as close to each other as possible keep installation costs at a minimum.
Try and choose a spot that is not directly under large trees or near smaller trees. As the branch system on the tree grows, it could make it difficult to service the well in the future. The tree roots can eventually cause damage to the well casing. A good rule of thumb would be to keep the well at least 30 feet from the base of any tree.
Care should be given to stay away from the existing very door overhead utility lines (telephone, water, electric, gas, etc.) Avoid an area where fill has been used, such as the site of an old basement or a buried trash/brush pile.
Clear an approximately 30 x 20 ft. or greater space for the trucks.
Ideally, the trucks need to be placed side-by-side with the drill rig located to the left of the drill support rig. This allows the drilling crew to load the drill steel and casing needed to reach the desired depth for your well.
Do I Need Electricity Before the Well is Drilled?
Electricity is helpful so that the pump and electrical components can be hooked up immediately, but it is not completely necessary in order to drill the well.
If you have electricity available at the construction site, it will allow the connection and testing of the pump. If electricity is not available, the well can be drilled and the components set in place and the electrical connection can be made when the power is made available.
Be aware of buried utilities that may be in the path of the trenches that will be dug for the pipelines and/or electrical lines that will connect your well to the home and the electrical source.
Do You Recommend Burying a Pressure Tank?
When a frost-free area is not available to locate the pressure tank, the last resort would be to direct bury the pressure tank in the ground beside the well below frost level. The pressure switch can be then located inside the well casing at a point below frost level.
Our pressure switches are mounted on a 6-foot length of kink proof rubber hose. This allows easy access to the pressure switch without having to pull the pump to make a simple repair. We would like to point out that we would recommend burying a pressure tank only as a last resort.
Where Is the Best Place to Locate the Pressure Tank?
In all water system installations, the equipment and plumbing must be protected from freezing. Locating pressure tanks and plumbing in basements or in below-ground crawl spaces provide the most effective place to prevent damage from freezing. Pressure tanks can also be located in existing above-ground structures if they are insulated and heated to keep temperatures above freezing. To prevent freeze damage, all above ground structures must have a source of heat and be well insulated when extended periods of extremely low temperatures are encountered.
In some installations involving manufactured housing or when no outbuildings car present, it may be necessary to construct a small building. We sell a manufactured 3’ by 5’ insulated well house that is the perfect size and allows easy access to both the well, pressure tank, and controls. A well-insulated building 4’ by 4’ by 4’ tall or larger with a 32” wide or greater door or removable lid is adequate size house pressure tank and plumbing. Make sure the door opening is large enough to allow future access for servicing and repairs. We recommend that the inside walls be covered with some form of sheeting to prevent damage to the insulation from nesting bugs, bees, and rodents. Large buildings can be used but remember that a larger space requires more heat.
A Note About Old Wells...
If your property is the site of an old or abandoned well, steps should be taken immediately to properly plug these open pipelines to prevent disaster. Contrary to popular belief, these wells do not make reliable backup water sources. Unlike old cars, if they were adequate and reliable sources of water, they would not need replacement. If you know of an abandoned well, contact the owner and strongly suggest that it should be properly plugged.
How Do You Know How Deep to Drill?
In addition, our years of experience of drilling in this region of Missouri enables us to make accurate estimates that are based on current material costs along with factors related to your specific location, such as its elevation, the depths of neighboring wells, and known geological formations in your area. However, you must keep in mind that each well that is drilled is a unique project.
Occasionally there may be factors that increase the actual cost of the project such as the need to drill deeper than anticipated or because the formations encountered during drilling may be broken or layered in such a way that the layers may cave into the borehole. If this occurs re-drilling of the may be necessary.
We make every effort to inform you of all possible likely scenarios beforehand or as they occur and are always happy to answer any questions and address any concerns before, during, and after the drilling process and water system installation. We Believe firmly and being honest and upfront with you and we value the importance of providing clear communication and accurate information to our customers.
A Brief Explanation of the Drilling Process
When drilling your well, two different devices are used, a 9 1/4 inch hole to set the 6 5/8 inch surface casing and a 6-inch hole is drilled below the surface casing down into the water-bearing formations to finish the well. The 9 1/4 inch hole is drilled to start.
Although the DNR rules state that the minimum size for this whole is to be a minimum of 8 5/8 inches we increase the size to 9 1/4 inches to allow for more space around the casing. This hole is started on the surface and made through the dirt, loose rocks, clay, and shale that are normally found close to the surface and most areas of Missouri.
Solid rock, i.e. limestone and chert/flint are eventually encountered. In some areas shale, clay pockets, and broken formations are encountered. Missouri regulations require that the surface casing is set at least 30 feet into a solid formation. Once rock is encountered, we continue to drill until we are firmly into solid rock at least 30 feet. The larger bit and drill tools are then removed from the hole and the surface casing is installed. After sitting the casing and installing grout, the smaller 6 inch bit is placed inside the casing and lowered to the bottom of the casing where drilling then resumes.
As the 6-inch hole is drilled it eventually enters porous formations that are saturated with water. As the hole is drilled deeper into the saturation zone the more water flow the well produces. We recommend that the yield of the well should produce at least 2 to 3 time the anticipated pump flow. The extra water produced by the well will allow for lowering water levels and decreased production of water that naturally occurs in periods of extended dry weather and over time as the well gets older.