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What is Well Drilling?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Many rural homes rely on their own isolated water systems to obtain fresh water for laundry, cooking, drinking, and daily hygiene because they are not near a public water system. Therefore, these homeowners must have a well that is either dug or drilled. Of the two, well drilling is the most reliable option.

A drilled well uses pipes to tap into underground water sources. This pipe system brings the water from underground into a person's home. Before any well drilling takes place, well drilling experts study the land in order to determine where a good water source is likely to be located.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Once a water source has been located, the well drilling process begins with a machine called a well borer, which digs deep into the earth using a huge drill bit housed in a large pipe. As the drill bit goes deeper into the earth, shards of rock, dirt, tree roots, and water start to flow out of the pipe. Those who work on well drilling projects are well trained in examining the water flow in order to determine when a safe source of water has been reached and how deep to drill.

Once the well drilling team has found a good supply of water, pipes are installed in the hole. This keeps dirt from falling in and blocking the water's path after the well drilling is complete. A waterproof pump is needed to push the water up the pipes and into the house. At the bottom of this pipe is a mesh screen that keeps dirt from getting into the pipe's motor. The waterproof pump is attached to smaller pipes which bring the water from the ground into the house.

The pipes of a well are located underground. They leave the main well hole and branch to the house. A larger pipe also goes straight up and out of the ground. This pipe is topped off with a well cap, which is often hinged. This well cap contains a strong seal that keeps airborne contaminants, insects, snakes, and rodents from getting into the underground water source.

Because water filters through layers of sand and bedrock to get to underground water sources, the water found through the well drilling process is pure and sanitary. Usually, a clean water source will remain safe for many decades, but the water should still be tested every few years to ensure its safety. If the water source dries up, a well drilling crew can dig deeper into the original hole in order to find more water. Alternatively, hydro fracturing can be used, creating a small blast to open more paths to underground water.

Discussion Comments


Would a small earthquake cause a deep well to go dry?


Do you have put a well cap on or could you have a hand pump instead? How do I know that the drilling company is a reputable one?

Thank You --Eve


what equipment is used to detect how deep to drill to get to undergrnd well. How readily available are these equipement. where can i find them?


Is digging for water more difficult, or more expensive, on a ridge top? Does the height of a ridge mean the water will be much lower (deeper) or does the water run through the ridge, perhaps closer to the top? Tks. patsy

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