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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article series offers advice for Hand Dug Water Wells and the sanitation and maintenance concerns with this water supply type. 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.
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Alvin Starkman M.A., LL.B., Casa Machaya, Oaxaca Bed and Breakfast. 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. Also see Hand Dug Well Sanitation for more about safe drinking water from hand dug wells.
This article series offers advice for Hand Dug Water Wells and the sanitation and maintenance concerns with this water supply type.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. 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 TYPES & LIFE EXPECTANCY for choices on methods for moving water from a dug well to storage tanks or to the point of use.
I had the water from our new dug well tested at a local university, but after a couple of rains and no cover on it, and it came back with some e-coli, apparently no surprise.
The engineer said to come back after the tabique circle (partition wall circle) and arc are done, the top is on, and all the crap at the bottom has been removed and the rest has had a few days to settle so we can get a more accurate readying of more or less pure water without drain-off contaminants.
She said she'd then test again, and we would put in some bleach, and test again to see the potential. She is confident that the water will be drinkable (not that we will drink it, but it certainly suggests your contention is right on that it should be kept isolated from the regular cistern water).
The best of all is that she's prepared to work with me in term of recommending chemicals, people to clean and filter, etc. I already have a pump guy for a submersible, and it's just a matter of determining how many hp, you'd think a simple task, but not so down here.
Water Quality: Technical Notes on Dug Well Sanitation
You can shock the well, but if you are not going to drill a modern sanitary well (costly) you will need to install water treatment equipment to sanitize the water - after testing to see what contaminants besides bacteria are present. Shocking a dug well (see WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE) to try to make the water potable or safe to drink is usually pointless. If nonetheless someone insists on shocking the well, or on letting it "settle" before further testing, also see our warnings at FAILED WATER TESTS - WHEN to RE-TEST.
Our photo (left) shows a typical residential well water chlorination system.
If the well water is used for irrigation, such as watering plants, and possibly for filling a swimming pool (slowly or you'll run the well dry - see How Much Water Will a Dug Well Deliver?) - watch out whose water will be disinfected by the pool treatment equipment, using the Dug well may be fine.
But if the dug well water is to be used for drinking - that is, for a potable water supply - water treatment equipment will be needed.
Before you can choose what water treatment system is appropriate, it is important to test the water for both sanitation issues (bacteria, chemical contaminants) as well as aesthetic concerns (sediment, odors, taste). See WATER TESTING GUIDE and WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS for advice.
Watch out: don't mix water from an un-sanitary source with potable or sanitary drinking water. Doing so risks cross-contamination of the entire plumbing system. If your property includes both potable and non-potable water supplies, be sure to keep their piping and storage facilities completely isolated from one another.
Looking Ahead to Part II of Digging a Well in Oaxaca
In my next and final installment, I deal with issues such as flow rate, biological analysis, decorative brickwork and custom iron cover, ongoing issues relating to structural integrity, and matters such as pumps and piping, the additional cistern, and whatever else it takes to conclude such an endeavor.
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Questions & answers on determining the quality & safety of well water from a hand dug well: how do we test & protect the hand dug well water for & from contamination?.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Water Supply & Drain Piping, Wells, Pumps, Water Supply Equipment