How to Dig a Well on Your Homestead Property

This detailed article gives you step-by-step instructions on how to dig a well for your homestead property.

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    A little muscle and a little know-how can add up to plentiful water for the homestead.
    Photo courtesy Popular Mechanics
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    Well-driving setup diagram.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

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Excerpts reprinted by special permission from Popular Mechanics. 

Several new back-to-the land communes and couples have asked about low cost methods of drilling a well. Here, from the April Popular Mechanics, is about the lowest cost solution to the problem that we know. It won't work for everyone, but it might for you. 

And, to find that vein, we've got a feature coming up on water witching. 

Watch for it! 

Many people who own rural and country homes, lake cottages and even suburban homes install their own primary or secondary water-supply systems; this article gives you instructions on you how to dig a well on your homestead property. If the soil formations permit, driving a well is a relatively easy, and possibly, one-day chore. But to avoid frustration or disappointment, it is wise to check with your state geological survey office before starting. If you submit a legal description (survey) of your property, it will advise you if the conditions in your area are suitable for a well.

Where to drive a well. It is important to locate a well away from any source of contamination such as marshy areas, cisterns, septic tanks and the like. And the well should be situated on higher ground than any of these areas. If a sewer line is present, stay at least 50 feet away. Also, check with your utility company to make certain that you do not start your well on top of underground service lines. Before beginning construction, check your local building department. In many communities, this work requires a building permit.

9/3/2011 11:20:10 AM

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