The Utilities of Shelter

Water! Water! Everywhere!

The Way of the Buddha:
Develop Sanctuary With Working Utilities.

Wells and Water treatment utilities transform nature's underground wealth into a healthful and useful form. Here is wisdom.

A quote from my book, Grasshopper StickieNotes, version 9.9.2, which can be found only in the dark moist recesses of my frontal lobes.

Wells and underground water are the second major cost item and stumbling block after you have your land deal closed.

No one should close a land deal if they did not have a successful wet-weather percolation test. No septic - NO house.

We paid $12,000 for our land, plus $670 for closing costs and the estimated $6,000 we spent on searching for the land, about $18,670 total. A successful wet-weather percolation test protected that investment. But, we had a huge gamble to make, one that we could not have put into a contingency when we made our offer to purchase - drilling a successful well.

We got 'best' estimates for drilling costs per foot from well drillers. We talked with all of our neighbors who would speak about their wells and experiences with drillers and the water they found for them. We learned that most wells in our immediate neighborhood were about 200 feet deep. Those near the crest of the hill above us had 600 foot deep wells. One guy had a 500 foot dry hole and then paid to drill another one a few feet away that hit water at 400 feet yet had to drill to 600 feet to be certain of enough water.

Costs for pumps, trenching and piping were on top of the costs for drilling and varied wildly. Final totals would depend upon how deep we had to go and how far the water had to be pumped to get into the house.

We settled on John Ebejer, of B&J Drilling, to do our well. He came highly recommended by everyone we spoke to. We often heard, "He's in the lower price-per-foot range, but does quality work and is reliable. He also cooks very well!"

John came up to visit Liza and I on our land on September 16th 2010. It was a day when a slight rain was coming down. I once lived in Hawaii where such 'events' are considered a sign of good fortune. We signed the contract, gave him a post-dated check, signed a blank well permit application and went on our way.

John was drilling a well near Yreka at the time and was having a hard time finding water in a deep gravel embankment. He estimated he might get to our well about November, if all went well.

I returned to Utah with the expectation of staying there until John got the well drilled. But I could not keep away. I had to come back to our land and 'Do something'. I returned in October and began to clear the land of brush and trees that were in the way of our planned work and built a small storage shed for tools and materials.

John finally managed to satisfy his other customer and showed up at our place in early November just after his brother George had completed grading our driveway pad. The driveway pad was in the same area that their Dad had determined was the best place to find water. It was also the same area where our engineer had determined we'd have to locate our house. It was a great coincidence that would save us a lot of money.

John got to the 40 foot deep level on his first day of drilling and shut down for the night. The temp got below 25 degrees and John's rig froze up - breaking a brass fitting. The fitting could not be replaced so John had to do some brazing to rebuild the fitting. It took several days of work before he was successful in his efforts.

When he was able to restart it took John just three more workdays to get to 205 feet where he hit the first water. He estimated the recovery rate was about 5 gallons per minute, just a little above the minimum needed to get County approval. I said, "Go deeper. Go until you get much better recovery. Let's see what 100 more feet will bring us". And down he drilled

The next day John drilled down to 305 feet. He called me over and said, "I got about eleven gallons per minute recovery. Are you satisfied?" I said, "Yes." John continued to blow out the hole with compressed air to clear the mud and contaminants. We took a clean sample an hour later. I left immediately to get to the water testing lab in Medford and then drove to Redding on December 2nd 2010 with another sample for Basic Labs.

On December 16th, I got an e-mail from Basic Labs. The water sample was good. The results showed no arsenic near the maximum tolerable level. There were no bacteria growths. But, oh my, we had really hard water but no dissolved iron or sulpher. We were 'good to go'. I immediately filed for our building permit the day before I left to go to Russia to visit Liza's family for the winter.

It was to be John's last well. He parked his rig at our place while waiting for a flatbed 'low-boy' truck to haul it to the next site. But weather prevented that and John let 20 years of unhappiness wash over him. He came back in spring 2011 and installed the pump and pipe. He was done. Thanks John for your devotion to our job.


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