How To Keep An Artesian Well From Blowing It's Lid
Our Artesian Well Is Just Amazing.
I always heard about these wells but had never dealt with one before. Our well comes out of the ground with 22 #s of force which will blow the well head right off. Apparently this tends to happen about 1 am. In our case I awoke to the sound of a stream running by our window. It seems we did not leave enough water running to relieve the pressure. A quick calculation revealed that 22 psi pushing on a 6" diameter well head equals 565 pounds of force. (Standing on it won't even help) That requires something more than just the compression of a rubber disk between two plates, the normal method of holding the well cover on a normal over the top well. So we set about designing a bolt down system to assure we would not risk flooding the yard and at the same time be able to let the well reach maximum pressure. I'd have a picture of the 6" column of water blowing about 6" above the well casing but at 1AM I just wasn't prepared. Take my word for it, that's a lot of water. What the water pressure lacks in pressure it makes up for in volume. By removing the restrictors from faucets and showers we have never needed a pump. Makes watering the garden and farm animals a zero sum cost. Pretty neat.
Working On The Well
One of the first things we noticed was that even though we were dealing with 560 pounds of pressure and could never hold the cover down by hand, it behaves very gently and in no way poses any risk of bodily injury. (We were more than a little concerned when we first had to deal with the well due to a broken pipe right at the well head. We were burying the water lines and my son inadvertently tugged on the line. The 1 inch pvc broke instantly and a 6" column of water reduced down to 1" equals water all over the place!) As soon as we got the cover clear of the top of the well casing however, the pressure was instantly relieved. The great advantage of hydraulics. If we were dealing with equivalent air or gas pressure it would be downright dangerous. After some consideration and a desire to keep it simple we came up with a design utilizing 4 short pieces of 3/8" threaded rod welded to the casing and two 8" pieces of Uni-strut bolted on top with lock nuts and washers. The modifications to the system can be seen in the pictures.
I used our mig welder to attach the threaded rods to the casing after laying out the Uni-strut and eyeballing and marking the best spot for the rods. After that I bent them out slightly in order to clear the edges of the cover and installed the struts, the washers and locknuts. Now we can run at full pressure without worry. The well is amazing as we can leave water running all the time for the sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens and the rest of the farm critters. Works great summer and winter. At the time we kept the pipes from freezing by wrapping the whole thing in a tarp and placing a plastic tub over it. We get down to about 20 deg here in the Smokey Mountains. Now it is protected inside our new garden shed but that's another Hub for another day. I hope our experience will help others.
My Favorite Artesian Well Links
- The Water Cycle: Groundwater discharge, from USGS Water Science for Schools
The Water Cycle: Groundwater discharge, from from USGS Water Science for Schools. Our water cycle diagram is available in 60 languages.
- artesian well: Definition from Answers.com
(Click to enlarge) artesian well A water table higher than the well ensures water pressure will consistently force water into an artesian well
- What Is an Artesian Well?
An artesian well is a well in which pressurized water naturally rises to the surface. Found all over the world, artesian wells can...
- Artesian aquifer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- How Does An Artesian Well Keep Up Its Supply Of Water?
Artesian wells are named after the French Province of Artais, where they appear to have been first used on an extensive scale. They are perpendicular borings into the ground through which water ris...
- Artestian water and artesian wells; groundwater and aquifers, from USGS Water Science for Schools
Artestian water and artesian wells; groundwater and aquifers, from USGS Water Science for Schools.