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WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
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WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
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WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
How to construct a hand dug water well: This article gives advice for arch top type & other Hand Dug Water Wells and the sanitation and maintenance concerns with hand dug water wells.
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Alvin Starkman M.A., LL.B., Casa Machaya, Oaxaca Bed and Breakfast.
This article describes the process of digging a well to provide usable water and the steps taken to make the well safe and sanitary. We include both technical advice and a description of the practical problems that one must encounter and overcome in providing usable water in an area where public water supply is absent or limited.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The article author, Alan Starkman is a retired Toronto attorney who operates the Casa Machaya bed and breakfast in Oaxaca Mexico. Mr. Starkman has written more than 90 articles about life and cultural traditions in Oaxaca, Mexico, and writes here about well digging from a lay person's perspective.
Readers should also review Hand Dug Wells what are they, can they be sanitary and safe? Also see WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES for alternative methods of assuring that water from a dug well remains sanitary and potable, and see WATER PUMP LIFE EXPECTANCY for choices on methods for moving water from a dug well to storage tanks or to the point of use.
Take a look at the sagging, temporary lift used by the workers to remove stone and soil as the well was being dug (below left) and you will appreciate why expert well builders like to finish the job with a more functional arch over the Dug well opening. Our masons built a temporary support scaffold over the well opening, then constructed a plywood arch against which a brick arch would be constructed.
Our photos below show the brick arch being completed over the Dug well. Once bricklayer has completed the arch (a couple of days), then he will wait a week or so take off his mold for the arc. Next we will clean it as best we can, and then proceed. The masonry arc, being secure, will permit me to lower myself into the Dug (really "chiseled") well for an inspection. It will be the first time for me descending 12 meters into the ground
Watch out: never enter a confined space such as a dug well without proper safety precautions, including:
The brick wall we show constructed around our dug well (photo below left) serves two purposes.
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Water Supply & Drain Piping, Wells, Pumps, Water Supply Equipment