Evidently our neighbors did not know they were sharing their well with us until we took them a well agreement to have it signed before we purchased the property. They refused to sign it and then provided contract after contract with unfair terms that we refused to sign.
Last week they decided to turn our water off and told us that they had contact someone to do it and they would provide us with 48 hours notice before they pulled the plug.
It’s all kind of sad. We had been working on drilling our own well (you need one of those if your neighbors refuse to share the water from their well) since a week or more before we purchased the property. We were able to offer our neighbors to have someone else come in and turn the water off for them. Because we will need the water turned off as we get our own well and pump and we seem to be on the same timeline for turning the water off.
So I’m happy to say that we will have our own pump and water source on Monday. I’ll talk more about well drilling in a minute.
More importantly, I want to mention neighbor relations. I find the entire situation to be devastatingly sad. I have had no intentions other than to get along with our neighbors. I’ve tried to talk with them, and I’ve tried to be friendly and at this point they flat out don’t like us and don’t trust us. I can sort of see their side. They had presented us agreement after agreement and we refused them all. We didn’t find any of them to be fair and while we offered to sit down and talk about it, that offer was never accepted. There were some misunderstandings and here we are.
Going forward we have a lot of convincing to do to assure our neighbors that we are not out to get them, we want to be friends and be able to trust each other. It’s just a sad situation that I fear we’ll have to work on for a long time.
So, drilling a well… It’s really a lot like gambling. The well driller comes in and says that he thinks he’ll find water x feet under water. In our case, he could find water at 80 feet, but there was water at 120 feet with less iron in it and potentially a higher water flow rate.
If we went for the 80 foot well, we would likely have to get a water softener (or something to make our water clear instead of red). The water is healthy, just not attractive. If we went to the 120 foot well, we would have to put in a stainless steal screen at the bottom that cost $1600 to prevent the pump from being clogged with sand. We would also need a bigger pump because it had to pull the water further and that takes more power.
I said that all like it was a sure thing. That is just what they have experienced in this area. There are no guarantees of anything. In fact, when they stopped drilling at 80 feet they asked if I wanted them to keep going to see if they hit water at 120 feet, otherwise they would have to go get more pipe and keep going until they hit the next aquifer. And it costs ~$30/foot.
We went for the shallower well and will do the tests to see if we need to get a water softener of some kind. We can have the driller back and go deeper within a couple of years if we need to.
And then once you get a well drilled, you have to figure out what pump to install. Until they know how deep the water is and how much water there is and other stuff about the well, you can’t get a very accurate estimate on the pump price.
Then you have to figure out how to make your pump last. The life of the pump seems to be shortened most by cycling (turning on or off). If the pump is not running, it is fine. And if the pump is running it is fine. But if the pump keeps going on and off, that is when you have troubles. Our pump will have two uses, home use and irrigation. Irrigation provides a long constant demand on the pump, so it just keeps running. That is fine. Home use provides an intermittent demand based on when you use water. So you can decide between a 14 gallon or 85 gallon pressure tank. The 14 gallon tank can be placed nicely above the well and it’s convenient, and if there is high water demand, it’s not a big deal. The 85 gallon tank is better for home use, but you have to build a pump house to keep it in. And that costs more money.
We’re going with the smaller tank until we build a place to house (in several years?) our pump and then we will probably get the larger pressure tank.
We’re still not sure how much it will cost, but it is not an inexpensive process. Of course, this thing is supposed to last 20-30 years, so if you divide it over the life of the pump, it’s not that expensive. And now, instead of sharing a 20+ year old well and pump with the neighbor, we have a brand new one. It will be good for us.