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What is Grout?

Grout, sometimes referred to as “slurry,” is made from a combination of water and clay called sodium bentonite. Bentonite is weathered volcanic ash that, when wet, expands several times its mass in water. In the well drilling process, bentonite grout is used to fill the space between the casing and the borehole. This clay forms an impermeable barrier that stops any surface pollutants from getting into your well.

What Is A Cascading Stream

If you can hear water running into your well, you have a cascading stream. This will only happen if there is a space between the bottom of the casing and the water level.

When a stream is cascading, water from the stream pushes back the water in the larger aquifer below, and the lower aquifer becomes a storage space for cascading water. Any water pulled from the well will come from the uppermost stream, meaning you’re essentially drinking and using water directly from the cascading stream itself.

Cascading streams generally bring sediment into the well for a short period of time, but will stop after the fine sediments have been washed out. If the well does not clear up within a month or two, you should have more casing installed at the water level, or a galvanized tank should be installed to catch the sediment. Curious about cascading streams? Check out our Well Videos page to see one for yourself.

Dry Wells

It is rare for a well to go completely dry.  More often an old shallow well's capacity will fall short of the demand put on it by the pump.  For example - a well that was producing 10 gallons per minute(GPM), might fall back to 6 GPM during a dry spell.

If your jet pump is pumping 8 GPM, then the pump will suck air and lose its prime.  The way to get around this is to restrict or decrease, the amount of water that the pump can pull from the well.  (Pump half as much for twice as long).

Try This For a Jet Pump

Place a gate valve on the water line between the pump and the tank.  Then change the small pressure hose on the pressure switch so that it is fed from the tank side of the gate valve.  This allows you to build up higher pressures in the pump head, which in turn slows the pump down. 

This will buy you some time, but a new well will probably have to be drilled at some point down the road.

Why Is The Well Going Dry?

It’s rare for a well to go completely dry. More often, an old, shallow well will have a diminished capacity and be unable to keep up with the pump’s demand. If your jet pump is pumping eight gallons per minute (GPM) or less, the pump will begin pulling air and lose its prime. To avoid this, you’ll need to restrict the amount of water that the pump can pull from the well by pumping half as much water over a period twice as long as it would normally take.

Another reason a well’s capacity becomes reduced is due to a lack of pressure from the weight of groundwater pushing water into your well. Pressures are constantly changing as the water table adjusts to rainfall (or lack of it), and each well requires a different amount of pressure to push the water through the different rock formations and into the well.

Additionally, a well can appear to go dry due to biological fouling. This is when subsurface bacteria form a slime on the walls of the well where water enters, plugging off the stream. To fix this problem see Well Disinfection.

What Is An Aquifer?

Water in your well comes from an aquifer. This is a layer of water-bearing, permeable sandstone that can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet thick. Groundwater enters an aquifer as precipitation seeps through the soil, which then becomes stored in between grains of sand in the rock.

What Is A Flowing Or Artesian Well?

Flowing wells are typically found in low areas such as valleys or places at or below sea level. If your well’s aquifer extends up into a nearby hill, and if the water level in the aquifer is higher than the top of the well, water will flow out over the top of the well. On PEI, these types of wells have been drilled in Wellington, Days Corner, Poplar Grove, MacNeils Mills, Northam, and western Summerside.

Why Does My Toilet Bowl Turn Brown?

This is usually a result of fine sediments remaining in the well. To correct this issue, run your pump for 48 hours nonstop. Keep an eye on your cold water tank’s water pressure, which should not exceed 20Psi, and be careful to monitor your well’s water levels throughout the pumping process. We recommend at least two garden hoses running wide open to keep volume up and pressure down. This will ensure you get the maximum flow rate.

If the issue persists, check the stratigraphic log on your well-drillers report. If the log shows thick layers of claystone, then the well may have to be pumped for a week or more to remove the fine sediments.

If staining is constant and does not improve over time, the water in your well could be low in oxygen. When water reacts with air inside the toilet tank, the iron in the water comes in contact with oxygen from the air, subsequently turning into rust. Some rust can be filtered out by installing a fine filter.

Why Are There Grains Of Sand In My Water?

If you’re relying on an older, shallow well, this is a sign that the end is likely near. When the pump is running, the water level goes below where the water enters the well. Water will pour into the well, bringing sediment along with it.

If your well is a deeper, machine-drilled well, sand in your water is most likely caused by water levels dropping below the uppermost stream in the well while pumping. As water cascades into the well, the sediment comes in with it. To clean the sand out, the well will need to be pumped heavily enough to keep the water level below the uppermost stream until the sediment has been washed and pumped out.

Why Are There Hard Black Specks In My Tap Strainer?

This is usually a result of insects getting in the well via the well cap.

Why Does My Water Turn Red When It Rains?

There is surface water entering the well. Do not drink this water.

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

There are probably sulfate-reducing bacteria growing in the well. It’s time to disinfect your well.

My Well Is Only 30 Feet Deep, Do I Need A New One?

Probably not, but you should have a sample taken every spring when run-off is at its peak. Check the seal at the top of your well to make sure no surface water or insects can get in, and remember that your water supply is coming from an aquifer that's close to the surface. Special attention should be paid to the area immediately surrounding the well (about a 50-foot radius), especially the land directly uphill from the well. Herbicides, pesticides, motor oil, antifreeze, window washer fluid, road salt or spilled gas can be critically harmful to your water quality when water supply is only 20 or 30 feet below the surface.

Should I Be Worried About Nitrates, Chemicals And Fertilizers In My Water?

Charlottetown’s water testing facility is not capable of identifying all of the agricultural sprays and fertilizers used on the Island, however they do test nitrate levels, which have been steadily increasing in most areas of heavy farming. For example, certain areas in East Prince are so prone to nitrates that 100 feet of casing still won’t result in government-approved nitrate levels.

Ideally, a well should be drilled uphill and as far from these big fields and sprays as you can practically get. We test for nitrates throughout the drilling process and use whatever casing is required to bring measurements to an acceptable level.

Is Spring Water Safe To Drink?

It all depends on the source of the spring.