F.A.Q hand dug wells


Frequently Asked Questions

Hand Dug Wells Faq's

What is a Well?

A well is a chamber dug by hand in some cases very deep and often on the same sites as ancient wells. Wells are very labour intensive to build and in times of old they were fiercely guarded. A well was not just a supply of water to drink, it provided large communities with their entire water needs. Many wells that we see today are Roman in origin and have simply been repaired and altered at or near the surface over the centuries. Most wells are about the same diameter and this is no coincidence either. Cartwheels were used to keep the well diameter more or less even as the men who dug them went deeper and deeper. There are some ancient wells which exceed 100 meters in depth - and all dug by hand.

I've discovered a well on my property. Can I use it?

Absolutely. Wells often produce very high volumes of water as they are usually very ancient. Ancient wells provided villages and communities with their water needs. If your well has not been used for a long time, it will need to be pumped out, it may benefit from cleaning and then flow testing. Not only will your well produce water, but the rates of flow will increase along with quality over time.

I have a well on my property which has been backfilled. Can I clean it out?

It can be cleaned out. You have found the right website too.

We are well specialists, We are experts in well cleaning and debris removal. We have many years experience in this and restored many different shapes and sizes of wells back in to use over that time. However to answer the question NO you cannot clean it out due to the dangers and we would hate to hear anymore horror stories of someone dangling from a ladder on a rope trying to clean their well out themselves. Many fatalities happen every year which you would never hear about, that does not mean they do not happen.

We will go down into the well and remove all debris and dig any dirt etc required. We use all the correct safety equipment and are highly trained to use it.

Because you have done a bit of climbing, caving or similar does not mean you can venture down a dangerous and possibly unstable well, there is also the fact there may be very little air down inside the well, Please use caution and stay as safe as possible. Leave it to the well experts.

When a well was filled in they did not think about the person who might be cleaning it out, so they just chucked everything down into it. Sometimes voids were created accidentally, water running down the well took sediment creating voids which if your standing on top of the void without knowing and it decides to give way you could find yourself travelling down very quickly and to a depth unknown. Could be as deep as 60+ meters. If you survive the fall you wont be getting back out or rescued any time soon. So please please use caution!

Can I clean my well to improve water quality and increase yield?

Yes. Wells which have not been used for a long time will contain stagnant water and other growth material. This can have two effects.

One, the water biological content will be high and because of this acidic too. Both of these characters need to be removed or improved.

Two, cleaning the well with lime will kill off the excess bacteria, re-stabalise the pH levels and improve the water flow into the well. As lime destroys bacteria and growth, natural aquifer channels into the well will flow more freely, resulting in a higher yield.
Of course the deeper the well, the more difficult it is to have an effect at greater depths, but adding lime and aggressively pumping it out over a period of sessions will have a major effect.

If you choose to flush your well out with lime, you will need to allow it to fill and then re-flush several times afterwards to ensure that the lime has been effectively removed.
We would recommend a water analysis re-test to confirm the lime levels have dropped to low levels.

We also suggest cleaning the well walls which we do. We do NOT recommend you try and do anything with your well due to the dangers with them. We have all the experience and all the correct equipment.

Is the water safe to drink?

All water to a certain extent is safe to drink if treated and nearly all water can be treated. Well water is no different, they were dug for the exact reason. Mains water comes mainly from boreholes which are slightly deeper then hand dug wells, This is mainly because they produce much more water but hand dug old wells have just as good water so will need treated just as much as mains water. The good thing is with a private water supply there is other options to treating the water then adding chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. We would usually use an ultra violet light and a sediment filter but you we would need to see or conduct a water test to see the quality of the water before suggesting, supplying and/or installing filters.