Aging Water Well? 4 Ways to Extend its Life
Over time, well yields tend to decline for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the casing has deteriorated or mineral and biological buildup is clogging the well screen and rock fractures at the well bottom.
Reduced pumping rate, water level and total well depth are common symptoms, often accompanied by higher levels of sediment. Wells have a specific capacity based on the gpm pump rate divided by the drawdown that occurs during pumping. You can determine capacity by comparing current performance against past performance, either when the well was newly drilled or you made the last major improvement.
The best way to assess declining performance and its potential causes is to have your driller evaluate well yield and examine the well with a down-hole camera. If yield has declined 25% or more, it’s time to take action. There are four common ways to rehabilitate a faltering well:
- Chemical cleaning. A strong acid solution is injected into the well to dissolve mineral and biological buildup. Once the buildup has dissolved, it and the acid solution are pumped out for proper disposal. Many older wells perform as well as or better than new after a thorough, professional chemical cleaning.
- Mechanical cleaning. A variety of methods are used, but the most common practice involves scrubbing the well interior with a special brush attached to a drilling rig. Once the encrustations are removed, the well is pumped to clear out the debris.
- Hydro cleaning. Water-based cleaning methods include high pressure jetting, high velocity jetting and surge plunging (well surging). Water is applied under pressure to scour the interior of the well and clear blockages at the bottom. Typically, a chemical solution is added to more effectively remove buildup, and the water, solution and debris must be pumped out before the well can return to use.
- Well lining. If your well is faltering due to a deteriorating casing, it can be lined with an inner casing that seals leaks, restores functionality and may improve water quality. Full liners extend the entire depth of the well, while partial ones are used to reinforce a failing section or placed at the bottom to function as both liner and screen. Liners may affect well yield because they reduce well diameter, but they can be an effective way to extend well life.
Rehabilitating an aging well often requires a combination of methods, so your driller may also recommend hydro-fracking, which has a good track record for increasing water flow. When you’re seeking a way to improve performance and extend functional life, well restoration is a solution worth exploring.