View Full Version : Water well Sand & Gravel sucker

Dirty Harry
08-28-2009, 11:23 AM
We need help designing a tool to lift gravel and sand out of a water well...we are down to about 54 ft......on a new well , this is being done in a wilderness area, where there is no way to get a large well drilling rig into the Hunting camp.....
We are using a 1947 Willis Jeep as a home built drilling machine .
....we have a 4" PVC casing down about 54'...now we have some mixed gravel to lift out. some of the stones are about 1" in diam, ....HELP...PLEASE...

08-28-2009, 11:42 AM
I have a baby water drilling rig and it flushes gravel up no problem from over 100 feet, Are you using drilling mud? I know it helps flush cuttings up better, sorry cant be more help! Stupid question,you are using a dirty water pump to flush out the well, right?

Dirty Harry
08-28-2009, 12:34 PM
Hey tnhomestead...
no we are not using any pump...we made up a 3" ID pipe 6' in length, with an inverted funnel welded in the bottom of it...then we put a 1.25" steel ball inside...about 6" above the funnel we put a 3/8" pin through the pipe to keep the steel ball at the bottom area of the 6' pipe.....the inverted funnel has a 1" hole in it.......The hydro force from droping the heavy 6' pipe down the casing, drives sand and some small gravel up inside the pipe...the 1.25" steel ball traps it there above the funnel which has a 1" hole in it..... Thanx for your reply....

08-28-2009, 01:38 PM
I don't know if this is applicable to your issue or not. The well will need to be filled with water for this to work. We use an air lift to remove sand and sediment in dive applications. Basically you need a lift pipe that has an air inlet in the side down about 6" -1 foot from the end and conected to top of the lift pipe you need a discharge pipe or hose exiting on the surface. You pump air down a hose outside the lift pipe and discharge hose to the air inlet. As the air is released into the lift pipe and rises in the pipe/discharge hose it expands and causes a suction at the bottom that lifts sand and gravel and pulls it up thru the discharge hose and then dumps it at the end. As long as the well has water in it, and you keep pumping down air, you get suction. The deeper you go the more suction you can get, as the air expands a greater amount.

I can do a sketch if you think this might work for your application. My bigest concern is keeping the well filled with water so you have the means to remove the sand.

08-28-2009, 01:52 PM
Shy of some type of auger, the way mine works is a jet of water (and some clay/dirt) i forced down the pipes, out thru holes at the bottom and washes sand/rocks/gravel up to the surface, into a settling pond(2 by 3 or so) then the water is sucked back in and repeat if you can get a dirty water pump, attach to the top of the pipe, and jet it out at the bottom(or close) you can probally make something work.

Dirty Harry
08-28-2009, 02:07 PM
Hello, DSW....if you can send me a sketch, that would be cool...thanx...appreciated.
I will be heading back to the hunting camp in a few hours ,, so I will not be at my PC....the camp is in Deep Wilderness and no computer hook up....the only water supply is what we haul in with Jeep and trailer..we do have a 300 gal tank for this work....and we capture all the rain water we can...
Thanx for the help......Harry...........musicmaker48623@yahoo.co m

08-28-2009, 02:38 PM
Ok see if this scan makes sense. Usually we control the air with a valve at the suction end. In your case you can either use a valve, or just regulate the air pressure at the compressor. You will probably have to weight the unit, use steel pipe for the lift pipe, or use ridgid discharge pipe so you can keep the unit on the bottom and not have it "float" if that makes sense. We usually tape the air hose to the discharge every 2'-3' to keep it manageable. Depth will partially dictate your air pressure. you need at least 20psi / 33' of depth minimum. Usually we set the compressor to max and the guy on the bottom controls the flow with the valve, but youll have to adjust yours at the surface based on whats happening.

Hope this helps.

Dirty Harry
08-28-2009, 03:19 PM
DSW.....Thanx , I received the pic........looks good , printing a copy of it now...I will be trying it tomorrow....I will let you know of my sucess......I hope.......Harry..

Dirty Harry
09-12-2009, 10:39 AM
No luck...our air supply pump was to small....we are still trying to come up with somthing that works..

09-12-2009, 04:34 PM
You need a bailer that will suck the gravel up. 3 to3.5 tube weld flaper door on bottom inside you need rod with some sort of piston welded to the bottom of rod then a spring mayby off a auto shock. The rod will come out the top of tube with a bail on the end of that. On the top of the tubeweld a flat plate with hole cut in center for the piston rod . YOU NOW HAVE A SUCTION BAILER. Lower it well with cable pull up fast a feww times pull out of well open bottom flaper door drop gravel out. Go again until you got it clean. Hope this helps i drill well and this will work

09-12-2009, 05:56 PM
Harry, it sounds like you have built ALMOST the same thing my dad had on his churn drill when I was a pup. Except his was a couple of inches smaller than the drill hole and it had a large ball w/ a heavy(1 1/2"-2") stem welded to the ball and extending thru the ball seat w/ a large paddle same size as the bailer OD attached edgewise to the lower end of it.It usually had a few inches of travel. The way it worked was to lower it down and when the paddle hit bottom the water along w/ gravel and cuttings was forced up into the bailer. When you start lifting it the ball seats, holding the contents in the bailer. Bear in mind the water level can't be much higher than the top of the bailer for it to suck up stuff from the bottom. So if you're in the water table you have to be able to bail out water faster than it can replinish in order to get the water level down low enough for the bailer to pull stuff off the bottom. When the bailer came out of the hole it was dropped in a "dump box", which was a piece of 24" casing w/ another piece welded at a little more than 90* to it forming an ell. Then top opening had a flange a few inches larger than the bailer welded inside it. this flange is very important. without it when the bailer hits the bottom of the dump box, everybody in the immediate area gets a mud bath. You usually do anyway,just not to the extent you would w/o the flange!!!
Hope this helps, I'd draw some pics but I'm not too good at it,

09-12-2009, 07:17 PM
Harry what mike is talking about is called a dart bottom bailer,ithink what will work best for you is a bailer that will suck the formation up into the bailer. With this type you can pick the gravel off the bottom and slip the caseing down deeper.I can talk you through how to build one if you want. 719-523-9957 anyway good luck,sounds like fun. Dave