How to Clean Silt from Dug Round Water Wells Used by 3-4 Billion People on Planet?

This is a clam shell bucket, from an old toy crane. I am taking this to a machine shop, welder, had having them make it 18 inches wide. It would be used only with rope, no block and tackle. 

Problem: As best I can surmise, about 1-10 percent of hand dug, round water wells used by around 4 billion people on the planet are full of silt, dirty, and old plastic jugs used to pull the water up from well. As the silt rises in the well, the wells slowly become too dirty, or the locals need to pull the water out in buckets, then allow the silt water to settle. It is way to expensive for people who earn 10 USD per day to pay people with pumps to drain the wells. I want to create a 1-2 man powered clamshell bucket system to clean these wells. 

What is the best way to make a method to clean a dug well? How much would the steel, rebar cost? Labor is 10 dollars per day in central American, South America, Africa etc.

Thanks for help, I will take the finished bucket to Lome, Togo West Africa to test, and modify, iterate.

Andy Lee Graham of

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Dr H19 days ago

What about a device made from a non-water tight, stable plastic fabric, like IKEA bags, to pull up the solid parts up? What you may need is a heavy cone, or tube, that would contain the bag-bucket and allow to carry it deep enough into the slit, and some mechanism to unfold the bags within the slit, a bit like the one of an umbrella. Do not build a single big, but many small (10-50) liter ones. If something breaks, it should be the bag, easy to repair or replace. To selectively remove larger objects, use a net instead of fabric.

I have no idea if this concept really would work, could depend on details. But it would be a simple, cheap and mobile solution, and something that might also be build locally.

I wish you lot of success with your project

Kind regards


slit remover 1.tifslit remover 2.tif

I like this idea, although I had to search for pictures of, "IKEA bag"

since I had not previously seen, nor heard of, IKEA bag.

It is also called "FRAKTA", here,
and I am not sure if FRAKTA is a proper noun or a common one, or a brand name or what, since they wrote in all caps.

Of course if you had used the words, "woven polyproplyene", I would have instantly known what you were writing about.

Wow At 18 inches that is going to be heavy, depending on the thickness of the steel you are looking at around 200 pounds or more a lift of silt.

I wouldn't model the bucket after a single line bucket like the toy bucket. a two line bucket would be better.