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Author Topic: Need help getting well  (Read 7678 times)

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Offline bigwavedave

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Need help getting well
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:05:22 PM »
Sorry about the little pun in the title.  I have an opportunity that doesn't come along everyday.  I have to replace an existing platform over an old well.  I can't say where, but it does have history.  I don't believe its been opened in years, but its rotting out and becoming dangerous.  I took a few pictures through the top to get an idea of how the thing is structured and what shape its in.  All I'm going to replace is the platform, but I've been instructed to make it solid so there is no access into the well (do to public concerns). So, this is the last time anyone will see down there for I'm assuming quite some time.  Anyway, the well sides have been gradually sluffing in and its a danger as sits.  After I downloaded the photos I couldn't help but wonder what all is down in the bottom of this old well (cir. 1860).  It's not too deep, I'm guessing 16 feet or so, but there's no permission (not that I'd want to) to go down into it.  So, I'm trying to think of something I can reach down and collect off the bottom with.  It'd have to be strong enough to operate from above, be able to scoop, collect and lift out without losing anything.  I'm thinking at a minimum there's got to be old coins down there.  Anything of value I get out will go to the facility, either for its possible historical value, or possibly to be sold to help in the maintenance.  So, any ideas on something I could use (besides diving in) to clean the bottom?   Here's a couple photos to give you an idea of the conditions. Well Shaft.jpg

Offline juu907

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 12:54:01 PM »
 <-wave-> mornin dave. i see you hit insert attachment again but only once. hard habit to stop.

     re. well test. why not use a long piece of rebar or any other rod long enough to reach the bottom  attach a tee handle a couple of feet long to one end and a scoop, dirt auger or other tool tie a rope around your waist and start sampling. in my water well i use a 12' piece of rebar with a tee on one end and a 1/2" socket welded to the other end to access the lock nut on a williams pitless adaptor on the water line. works great. doent forget to use a bowline around your waist ( no slip or granny knots) and anchor to something solid with just enough slack so if you slip you wont go in too far. just to be sure. i am in your will? right.  ::)  ::) enjoy jerry

Offline Greg in BC

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 01:19:21 PM »
Cool - how about a small hydro vac and just suck the bottom into containers?  Are you going to back fill to seal or are they just looking to cover the top over?

Offline bigwavedave

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 01:30:15 PM »
I think the rod idea could work.  <-good_>  I wonder what would make a good scoop that wouldn't twist over or slip off the rod (no use in adding more artifacts down there)? They used to have long rod handled scoops for ladling copper samples out of the converter furnaces I worked on.  Wish I had one of those around someplace.  Actually I hadn't thought at all about me falling in.  Guess it wasn't in the plan.  Maybe it should be. <-thinking->   I'll watch the knot too!  I had a friend several years ago who was painting a house and was up on the roof.  He had his dad (a little too old to be working at the time) tie him off down below.  Unfortunately his dad decided he had an errand to run and forgot he'd tied his son's safety rope off to the back bumper of the truck!  Took my friend a little time to recover from that one! Talk about dumb things people do!  Guess that was one for your other thread Jerry!  Too bad nobody had a video of that one!    <~ShOcK~>

I haven't got any power out there Greg, but probably too far down to clean without crawling in and a little bit dangerous as the sides are breaking up. I thought about a dredge, but still an issue running it and keeping it from getting plugged.  I'm going to put a solid wood 4" plank lid over the well hole (its about five feet across, then put the old box/cover back in the middle on top.  I just hope I don't find any bodies down there.  I was at least pleased to see nobody was floating near the surface when I took the pictures!

Offline gandalfwhite

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 01:41:06 PM »
Just my penny thought (or dime? whichever is smaller :) )
when you lift the top off, why dont you put a road.. drum? for water I mean. That will secure the sides from collapsing into the well aswell as it would give you a safe way into the well. Shouldn't be too hard to find a redundant piece somewhere? atleast that's how I would go for it :)
regards

gandalfwhite
I came I saw... and want to start to dig

Offline bigwavedave

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 02:04:28 PM »
I'm afraid I have to keep this operation simple.  Its basically in a historic site, and though I have some flexibility in doing a little "research" while I'm restoring the lid, I don't think I will be able to get away with much of an operation!  They might begin to question my motives if I show up with a four or five foot diameter pipe to sleeve the well, so I can get at the bottom of it safer.  ;D  I think my job description pretty much is going to keep me up on the surface, but the sleeve would be a great idea Gandalf if we were restoring the well itself.  Might be a good second phase project for next year and I'll present it to the group.  Thanks for the idea!  {cool^sign}

Offline juu907

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 02:06:03 PM »
 <-laugh-> good one on the launch dave. for a tool how about one of those twist type post hole diggers? just figure out how to extend the shaft shouldnt be too hard. being an ole montana boy im sure you know of what i speak. more pics and a report as you progress. is there much water in the well?   jerry

Offline bigwavedave

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 03:58:29 PM »
That might be worth a try Jerry.  I think I have one around here someplace.  The water looks to be 8 or 10 feet deep.  I can't see the bottom and I haven't peeled the old deck off yet.  I might try some sort of a fine net or screen on the bottom before I drop anything heavy in.  I just can't figure out what.  Maybe a sieve of some sort.  I want to make sure the bottom is clear of more fragile artifacts or items before doing any digging too far down in the bottom.  There could be any number of old relics, glass pottery, buckets, who knows?  There's even a legend of missing gold in the area that could be laying peacefully down there.  I know...., I probably just got 150 volunteers to help "clean the well" and won't need any tools at all!  <-laugh->  Well, thanks for the ideas everybody.  I think a combination of all of the above might work out!  I probably won't pump the water out though. The water table is around four feet down and I'm afraid pumping might cause a serge and collapse the sides.  I can see the headlines now..."Historic Site Disappears in Mysterious Sink Hole"  I sure wouldn't stick around there very long to have to explain it if that happened!!  I'll take some photos as I move along (hopefully not while hanging from the end of my safety rope)!  ;D

Offline Goldcrow

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 04:21:41 PM »
How about this....rod or aluminum pole, bolt/clamp a hinge on, bolt the hinge to a smaller metal pail, drill hole in pail opposite side of hinge for a rope to pull the pail up level when you lift it out? :) Then you can scoop/drag the bottom.
Work smart..and hard

Offline GollyMrScience

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Re: Need help getting well
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 04:32:47 PM »
A rented 3 inch gas powered diaphram pump can be used in those situations. A length of pvc or ABS pipe for the suction tube can be lowered to the bottom and the diaphram pump will self prime and pump things to one inch quite easily though it could have problems lifting the gold bars.
A cross shaped wire at the intake to limit size of material picked up to one quarter the size of the intake. I have used a 2 1/2 inch suction pipe as it is easier to handle, cheaper and gets a bit more suck on it to the 3 inch pump.
The outlet feeds to a screen sieve set on a tub next to the well though back a bit om the edge and the tub has a three inch hose out of it back into the hole. It does call for some care and control by the operator but it is fascinating the things you can recover. Bottles are common but they wont be coming up but they would not be coming up in an auger either.
The standard post hole augers are too open to work underwater. They wash out as you pick them up.
Every once in awhile you need to lift the nozzle end out of the water to break suction for a sec and drop off things that are stuck on the end like old shoes and rocks.
Make up an operators platform by laying some 4 x 4 "beams" across the entire hole and to a good distance across to solid ground then cover it over with a 4x8 sheet of loose 3/4 inch plywood. If you are not gonna pump the water away you are gonna be working blind and will just have to accept the fact that you may miss something.
Hmmmmm.... you would think that maybe ol' Golly had done something like that back in his checkered past eh?!  ;D
What the heck - lets just keep mixin' stuff together till it blows up or smells REALLY bad!