Instructables

How can I get the dirt out of an old stone lined dug water well?

We have purchased land that has a 100 year old dug well on the property. Until about 20 years ago it was open, but the farmer of the property wanted to make the land a little safer and filled it in. When he filled it in, it had water at the bottom and was approx 30-45feet deep. Since the time when it was filled in, the dirt has sunk about 10feet. It is well made and is small round rock lined. I would love to find a way to get the dirt out of the well and at the same time preserve the nice stone work. It would be my hope to connect a solar pump to it and use the water for gardening purposes. Any thoughts on how to get the dirt out?

Adam Outlaw4 years ago
Okay I get you not only want the water, but also the original stone lined beauty as well. Well..... first make a heavy duty tripod out of 6X6" timber or such. position timber tripod above center to well, add one large pulley at center top of tripod, then loop rope through pulley. load a shop-vac to rope setup. Rig shop-vacs hose straight under the vac and keep it from wiggling around. Add extension cord and surge-strip top side of well to turn on & off the shop-vac easier. Lower rigged shop-vac down well by the rope/pulley system as described.

When you hit the sand tie off your vac rope, then flip switch on. Wait till shop-vac makes a different lower humming sound as this indicated vac is full...now raise vac to surface and dump/repeat. High pitched sounds probably mean your too high above sand and sucking air... lower as needed. The neatest part being as you remove more & more sand from center of the well hole a funnel shaped crater is created which in turn helps more sand to fall towards your center located vac hose. No need to keep moving around the shop-vac rig as the sand should all eventually come to it by gravity.

When doing this be sure to get a lawn chair, cool drink and you never need risk life or limb either. Can you dig that:)
static5 years ago
LOL 100 years old, forget about sending people down it, unless you want the well to become some one's grave. A decomposing corpse will spoil the formation for potable use, anyway. In that you can't see all the stone work, how do you know it's worth preserving? Now about regaining a water well. First check to see what local and State hassles you need to comply with, when constructing or rebuilding a water well. Yours may be grandfathered in, but I do the homework to avoid wasted time and money. Also insure as best you can that everyone's recollections of the old well are correct. So you decided to proceed? First build a safe working platform that extends beyond the old stone lining. Centered over the old well bore, with an opening in the platform where you can run new well casing down. Build a tripod with a rope clock over the well bore. The first thing that comes to mind is driving a sand point, though the water may be too deep for that to work well, but it would depend on the nature of the fill. Second; If you have a municipal or rural water supply nearby, I'd consider trying to "wash" the casing down. By running down water from another source down to the bottom of the new casing flushing the fill out the top of the casing, with gravity pulling the casing down. Third would be the old "spudding method of well drilling. I'll leave my thought as those until/if I can find the bookmarks I'm sure I have on water well drilling.
Kiteman5 years ago
The well is full of dirt instead of water?

Get friends, a ladder, shovels and buckets on ropes.

Do it on a nice day, get the BBQ going, fill a barrel with ice and drinks of your choice and make a party of it.
growing up in the deep woods involved having to clean out the well on our property it to was stone lined and about thirty feet deep your going to need helpers the way we had to do our well consisted of drawing out as much water as possible followed by a volunteer who goes down onto the well to begin filling the draw bucket with dirt,mud,small pebbles,ect. please keep a sharp eye out for snakes as they sometimes like to get in the cracks and crevaces of the stones it sounds like you have a lot of work ahead wether you are in the well or on top drawing the bucket up or the one with the wheelbarrow hauling off the dirt good luck an hope your future well water taste as sweet as ours ps after the well is cleaned out the person inside should use a bag of lime to spread around the well walls from the bottom up for about ten feet this will improve the taste of the water
yeah there isn't any way to get it out without destroying the thing except the way it was created, digging