The price of a basic well is around $10,000 but depends on a lot of factors. It is very important to ask a well drilling company what its initial estimate covers.
Specifically, does it include:
Yes, some existing wells can be rehabbed/repaired to improve water production and/or reduce the amount of sand being pumped. Using special tools chemicals and processes we are able to fix many of the problems that reduce water output or cause sandy water in old open bottom and gravel pack wells or new wells that weren’t constructed correctly.
For open bottom wells, we can provide the following services to help increase water production, reduce sand or improve the pumping water level:
For gravel pack wells, there are numerous things that can be done to increase water production, reduce sand or improve the pumping water level:
The cost can change for several reasons. A different, more expensive drill bit is used to effectively drill through the rock and it generally takes longer than drilling through sand and clay – these special bits and the extra time required to drill through rock tends to increase cost. Some companies charge extra by the foot, and others by the hour for drilling through rock. There can also be potential savings as sometimes casing is not required in the rock.
Drilling through cobbles requires a more expensive bit. Also the cobbles have a tendency to cave in the borehole, and certain measures must be taken to ensure cobbles do not cave in on top of the drill bit, ruin the hole and possibly cause the loss of the drill bit and drill pipe. Sometimes it is necessary to install steel casing while drilling to maintain the integrity of the hole.
Yes, pending credit approval, a payment plan can be setup.
Yes, we take all major credit cards depending on the size of the job.
A pilot hole is a small hole, from 4” to 12” in diameter that is drilled to a target depth to explore the ground and water conditions. Our company has the ability to provide or obtain services for electronic down-hole testing that can accurately determine sub-surface conditions so that we can be assured of adequate, quality water available before spending the money to open up the borehole to the final design diameter. This is an reasonable way to confirm you will have a good well before committing to the cost of a complete well.
A gravel pack well is a type of well that generally gets its water from several strata. An oversized hole is drilled to a target depth based on available data in the area. Then a smaller diameter casing is installed inside that hole with a cap on the bottom. Perforated casing (PVC or Steel, or Stainless Steel pipe with small slots in it) is installed in the water bearing zones while blank casing is used in all other areas. While the casing is suspended and centered in the hole, a special gravel (Gravel Pack) is placed around the casing, creating a filter that water passes through to enter the well, while filtering out sand.
We drill both types of wells. In specific areas, a successful open bottom well can be drilled in many locations. Open bottom wells might be recommended for agricultural wells with a shallower water depth. Steel casing is driven into the ground and landed in a clay layer. Then the hole is drilled deeper to a sand layer. The sand layer is then developed out to create a cavity. All the water that the well can produce comes from this cavity.
Gravel pack wells are recommended for both domestic (house) and agricultural wells. An oversized hole is drilled to a certain depth and generally goes through several water bearing strata. Then casing is suspended in the drilled hole. The casing is usually 4” to 6” smaller in diameter than the hole to allow for a gravel envelope around the casing. Perforated casing is used in the water bearing zones to allow water to enter the well filtered through the gravel pack. The gravel pack acts as a superior filter to help keep naturally existing sand out of the well water.
The gravel type and size is determined once the drilling samples are analyzed. Looked at visually and put through a series of stacked screens we can tell the size of the existing sand. The goal is to select the largest gravel pack that will minimize the amount of sand passing through it.
The casing size is based on several factors, but the most important factor is how much water the customer needs on a gallon per minute (gpm) basis. A typical house well includes either 5”, 6” or 8” diameter casing. Agriculture well casing can be anywhere from 8” to 24” in diameter.
The final depth of the well is determined by several factors. Every area is different, but the overall objective is to drill a well that can provide the required amount of water (in gpm) for a projected timeframe. If you are only concerned about having well water for your home for the next 10 years because you expect city water lines to be extended to your area by then, you can drill to a conservative depth. If you want an Ag well that has the best possible chance of surviving future droughts when your grandkids are farming the land you may drill to an exploratory depth or a depth that a good quantity of water is known to be abundant. . Some of our customers drill 100 – 300 feet deeper than other wells in their area as a form of insurance against future droughts. In addition, many customers are concerned that pending state government regulations that are in process will restrict or prohibit their ability to drill a new well in the future. So they are drilling the wells they expect to need for the next 50 years to depths that have the best possible chance of providing water for 50 years. The general consensus in the water industry is that there are going to be more and more restrictions, so having a well now provides insurance.
There are different types of gravel used in gravel packed water wells. The two standard types are natural rock and silica. We recommend the best type of gravel based on sub-surface conditions and water production requirements for the new well. Gravel type and size are determined once the drilling samples are run through a set of sieves and analyzed. Natural rock is used because it is generally well rounded, but in certain situations it has the potential to degrade over time. Silica is good because of its uniform size and the fact that it does not degrade over time. Although silica is very expensive, there is an abundance of sizes to choose from which provide various options to get the most amount of water from your well, while minimizing the amount of sand in the well water. We stock 8-10 different sizes of silica at all times, and 2-3 sizes of natural rock.
Well design is a very important part of the well construction process. The well driller is in charge of the safety on the drill site, drilling a straight hole, and providing accurate samples that can be analyzed. The final well design is based on the samples we obtain during the drilling of the borehole (or pilot/test hole), possible use of an E-log and our knowledge of other wells in the nearby surrounding area. We will make recommendations but the best option is to have it designed by a water engineer.
An E-log is a sophisticated electronic testing system that includes a probe sent down after the borehole is drilled, but before the casing is set, that helps to confirm the well log produced from visual inspection and sieve analysis of the cuttings. The E-log provides precise information on the type of subsurface soil formations that were drilled through and also the salt content in the water. An E-log gives us additional information that helps to fine tune the final design of the well including placement of perforated casing and selection of gravel pack. We have a specialized van setup to perform E-log tests and down-hole well videos.
A deviation test is accomplished by sending a special tool down the borehole, after the borehole is drilled to target depth, but before the casing is set. The tool provides precise information on the straightness of the borehole. Our E-log, well video van is setup to perform this type of deviation testing.
We use both steel and PVC casing. PVC casing is corrosion resistant, which eliminates the possibility of rust plugging up the perforations. In certain situations, gravel pack, steel cased wells can have potential problems with rust and encrustation around the perforations, which chokes off the water flowing into the well. Cost, water quality, and size are the factors that typically drive the decision to use PVC or steel casing. We sometimes use a mix of PVC and steel casing when deep seal depths are required.
Yes, we use both hammer bits and TCI button bits. We can drill a 5” – 28” borehole through hard rock.
Yes, we can drill through cobbles and install casing ranging from 5” to 24” in diameter.
Yes, we can provide a separate estimate for the pump work that will include a complete water pump system.
We currently use Baroid drilling chemicals. We use a bentonite clay called Quick Gel that helps stabilize the borehole and lubricate our drill bit. There are also polymers called Quick Mud Gold, and EZ Mud Gold that help further stabilize the borehole and are used when drilling in specific sands and clays.
We use various types of Shakers and Mud Puppy systems to separate solids from the drilling mud.
A pit is required to allow the cuttings (solids) from the hole to settle out, so they are not recirculated back down the hole. If native clay gets ground up and mixed with the drilling fluid, it can permanently plug the water bearing strata in the well, and reduce the amount of available water. It is possible to drill without a pit, but it does cost more to do so.
We can drill to 2,000 to 2,500 ft for domestic and agricultural wells.
The actual drilling operation can typically be completed in 1 day for small domestic wells while large agricultural wells can take up to 7 days.
Drilling a straight well is a critical part of the well drilling process. A heavy piece of drill rod, known as a drill collar is placed directly above the drill bit to help maintain a straight borehole. In addition, a stabilizing wing collar is used to reduce any deflection of the drill bit in case it hits an uneven formation while drilling. Creating a quality borehole is very important to us.
We can usually get started drilling an emergency replacement well within a few days.
We currently have 11 drill rigs in our fleet.
We have a number of different drill rigs and they are listed as follows:
Most of our equipment is only 1-4 years old. This includes drill rigs, mud tank units, excavators, and service trucks. Reliable equipment is a very important part of our customer service program. We don’t ever want our customers waiting on us due to a problem with our equipment. Older equipment can break down on the job, and once you start drilling a new well, it is critical to finish it in a timely fashion. Taking too much time to drill can create problems with a well.
Each county has a specific fee for the permit. Typically the cost ranges from $500 – $4,500. It is important to check with the county at the time you plan to drill.
Each county has their own time frame. It’s important to check with the county at the time you plan to drill. The most common time frame is 6 months.
Each county has different time frames for issuing permits. Some counties average 1-5 days, whereas other counties can take 4 weeks or more.
Each county has specific seal requirements. The upper portion of the well must have an outer seal installed. The seal consists of a specific non-porous material, such as cement, to minimize the chance of any above ground or shallow subsurface substances (such as chemicals spilled on the ground around the well or animal feces) from contaminating the ground water. The state minimum is 20 ft, while some counties require much deeper seals of 300 ft or more. The most common is to pour concrete around the the top 50 feet of the well. The name sounds like it is some sort of a rubber or plastic device but it is not.
The State of California and each county have specific rules about when and how to abandon old wells. For example, in SLO County, if the new well is located within 50 ft of an old well, it must be destroyed. SLO County also requires you to destroy any well that is not in use or pay a yearly fee of $92. It’s best to check with the county at the time of drilling the new well, as the rules and permit cost are subject to change.
Developing a well is the process of removing the drilling fluid from the well and removing any fine sands. Development is done after the well is drilled and cased. It typically involves injecting a large amount of high pressure air into the well via an airline to cause water to surge up and out of development pipe temporarily installed in the well. Development pumps may also be used to over-pump a well to improve the overall performance of the well.
There is no set time for the lifespan of a well. Errors made during drilling can reduce the productive life of a well. In addition, poor water quality can limit the lifespan of a well with steel casing. Most wells reach the end of their life when either the water level drops so much that the well drys up or the casing fails.
Since well drilling is a mixture of art and science and each well is unique, there isn’t any way to determine the exact amount of water a well will produce, but we have a general idea based on the samples taken during drilling of the borehole (or pilot/test hole) and knowledge of other existing wells in the surrounding area.
With direct circulation the drilling fluid is pumped down the hole through the center of the drill pipe and out the bottom of the drill bit then it carries the cuttings and returns up to the surface between the outside of the drill pipe and the borehole wall.
With reverse circulation, the drilling fluid runs into the hole and is sucked up through the center of the drill bit carrying the cuttings and returns to the surface through the inside channel of the drill pipe. After running the fluid through the settling pit and mud tank system, gravity takes the fluid back to the bottom of the hole. Each type of drilling has its advantages in certain situations. Once we have a good understanding of our customer’s area and the required specs for the new well we make a decision on which type of drilling method to use.
There are some instances where subsurface conditions can change the projected target depth. For example, if hard rock is encountered at a shallower depth than expected, a decision has to be made whether or not to spend the time to drill through the rock and try to find water bearing strata below the rock.
While rare, earthquakes can damage wells. When the ground shifts, the tremendous forces exerted can shift or even break the well casing.
Yes, all wells need to be disinfected before drinking from them. The disinfection should be the final step and should be completed by the company that installs the pump in the new well after their work is complete.