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Well, Well August 20, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

When I bought this house fifteen years ago, one of the questions I asked the previous owners was “Where’s the well?” There was no visible wellhead anywhere. The answer? “I don’t know.”

This concerned me.

So I called the local well-drilling guys for a consult. One of them was a dowser. He said that the well was under the driveway. The paved driveway.

The driveway hadn’t always been paved. When I first rented the house across the street, most of the driveways in town were dirt. One day someone came and paved a bunch of driveways in the neighborhood, including this one. A package deal, perhaps.

I doubt the previous owners knew the well was there. At least, I hope they wouldn’t knowingly pave over all access to the well.

In the four or five years they lived in this house, they had no trouble. So clearly, the pump in the well is at least nineteen or twenty years old. Obviously, someday it would fail.

That day was yesterday.

Tim ran out of water during his morning shower, but it came back. He did dishes after breakfast just fine. But when I drew a bath, it ran out again. So I called the plumber to (likely) verify my worst fears.

Which he did. But he called the well place for me and was able to explain to them all the electrical tests he had run.

The well guys were out on a job, but the woman in the office said they could come out this morning. Instead, they called late yesterday afternoon and drove over to check out the situation.

I told them that my neighbor, who has been here much longer than I, was convinced that my wellhead was under this huge slate in the corner of my house. The well guys doubted the well would have been dug that close, but they crowbarred the thing and dug down a bit. Nope. No well.

So it’s under the driveway. Somewhere. They will come back with a jackhammer. Tomorrow, not today.

The motor keeps heating up and shutting down. So we’re actually not completely without water—we just can’t do something too big, like shower, and likely we can’t flush too many times. I keep a couple of huge buckets filled with water to deal with flushing if summer storms take out my electricity. I’ll be putting that water to use if I have to.

Last night I showered at my next-door neighbor’s. Tim has access to a shower at his office. Today I’ll hit the gym near work, then shower there. Maybe by tomorrow night we’ll have regular water flow again.

Then I’ll have a driveway to deal with, which will present its own challenges, as we can’t have a wellhead raise above tire level if I want to use my garage. I’ll have to find someone to pave it who can pave around a flat covering in an awkward, tight space.

Frankly, part of me is relieved. I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop for fifteen years. I have avoided certain projects—repaving the driveway, replacing outdoor stairs—because I didn’t want to just have to rip them up/out when the well died in its unknown location. Tomorrow I should find out for sure where my well is.

I wonder what that will cost me.



1. Craig R. Smith - August 20, 2014

Could you drill a new well in a more convenient place? Or would that be far more expensive?

2. Mali - August 25, 2014

Hmmm. I never thought of you having a well. How intriguing.

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