Atlantic Well Drilling
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Frequently Asked Questions

Things You Always Wanted to Know About a Water Well, but Didn’t Know Who to Ask

Q. How deep will my well be?
A. Most wells on the Cape are between 30 and 150 feet deep. The average is about 50 feet. Your well depth will depend on the site location and the formations we encounter during the drilling process. We will make an estimate of your anticipated well depth as part of our written quotation prior to starting work.

Q. How long does it take?
A. Usually one day to drill your well and another day to perform the hook-up. However, it can take a week or more to obtain the well permit and Dig Safe clearance before starting work. Afterwards, it can take one to three weeks for the water test results to be returned from the lab.

Q. How often should I have my water tested?
A. Every year or two. Look for changes or trends in individual parameters.

Q. Does the top of the well have to project above ground level?
A. Normally, yes. The top of the well should project 6 to 18 inches above the ground and should be completed with an approved watertight well cap. This arrangement reduces the possibility of contamination entering the well from surface water.

Q. Is there such a thing as underground rivers?
A. Not on Cape Cod. Here ground water exists between the sand grains of saturated formations. Coarse sand and gravel formations produce higher well yields than fine and meduim sand.  Silt and clay layers are generally not suitable for developing a source of water.

Q. We’re buying a vacant piece of property. How can we have the water tested?
A. If there is no well on the property it will be necessary to drill a well to obtain a water sample.

Q. We’re purchasing a lot. When should the well be installed?
A. Many buyers decide that they want to know definitively the water quality and quantity before purchasing the property. This requires that the well be installed and the water tested before closing. If not done at this time, it will be necessary to drill the well as the first step in the building process and before obtaining the building permit.

Q. Can the well be located anywhere on the property?
A. No. Drinking water wells must meet minimum separation requirements from septic systems and setbacks from roads and property lines. Generally, an engineer must be engaged to prepare a site plan and layout the well location.

Q. How is the site for the well chosen?
A. The site engineer prepares a septic system design and locates the well in accordance with local regulations. The well driller may often advise on the well site location for obtaining the best water, ease of rig access, and eventual connection to the house.

Q. Before hiring a well driller what should we ask him to provide?
A. Ask the well driller for:

  • A written, itemized estimate for the exact work required for your job
  • A certificate of insurance coverage
  • A list of the driller’s licenses and certifications
  • A schedule of when the work will be performed

Q. How can we tell if our well has “failed”?
A. Unfortunately, there are often no obvious warning signs until there is no water coming out of the faucets. Some possible warning signs are:

  • The pump runs for a longer period of time
  • The water is somewhat dirty or rusty
  • There is lower volume and/or pressure than in the past during heavy water use

Q. What’s causing the green stains in my shower?
A. Your water is acidic (low ph); this is the case with nearly all the well water on Cape Cod. The acidic water attacks the copper piping in your house causing the copper to leach into the water. The elevated copper in the water results in green or blue stains in the shower or tub. Left untreated this will eventually result in pinhole leaks in the plumbing system. The usual correction is installation of a whole house neutralizing filter system

Q. What’s causing the brown stains in the toilet?
A. These stains are caused by elevated iron or perhaps manganese in the water. This problem can be corrected by the installation of the proper filter.

Q. Why is the water pressure so poor in my house?
A. You probably have either an older well system that is no longer capable of providing the desired pressure or the water pipes may be undersized.

Q. Why is a well more than just a hole in the ground?
A. We consider a well to be an engineered water intake structure. Not all wells are created the same. The time and attention to detail spent drilling your well will be reflected in the yield, water quality, and long term life of the well. Our objective is to produce the highest possible yield, free of sand and silt, which will be sustained for many years without the need of well maintenance or redevelopment.

Q. What factors determine the price of the well? Aren’t they all installed the same way?
A. Each well is unique. The cost will be affected by the following factors:

  • Well depth
  • Well screen length and material
  • Method of drilling
  • Extent of test drilling required to locate best water bearing formation
  • Difficulty of site access
  • Size of pump and tank
  • Amount of trenching and other factors unique to your property.

Q. How do I compare quotes?
A. It’s usually difficult. Drillers use different installation methods, different materials, and will make different assumptions regarding the above factors in preparing an estimate. You should expect the driller to visit your property and prepare an estimate that is specific to your job. You should expect him to include all work that is necessary for a complete job so there are no surprises at the end.
Price should not be the only consideration. Check into the driller’s reputation for quality work, his ability to meet schedule commitments, his response to customer concerns, and most importantly, his reputation for providing prompt service when an emergency arises.

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