How to drive a well.
To drive a shallow well you can rent or buy a hand auger, preferably a four-inch or six-inch one. Don't confuse this with a power drill type or clam type post hole digger. (See photo.)
Next, you need some 3/4 inch pipe to add to the length of the auger, and a driver (as shown) to drive the pipe and point. This is no more than a pipe about three or four inches by three feet long with a cap welded on and some handles with lead in the top to give you some driving weight.
Next you will need a well point in either a 1-1/4 inch or two inch by three feet, sold at hardware or Sears stores. Use galvanized pipe only. Buy the pipe to fit the well point in either 1-1/4 inch or two inch. Also buy drive couplings to connect the pipes if you have more than one pipe, or to connect the point to the pipe (some points have the drive coupling already on it). Make sure that the couplings are for driving or you will ruin the threads on your pipe. You will also need a drive cap and pipe dope.
To start, locate your well away from any septic tanks or septic fields by at least 50 feet. Using your auger, turn the handle clockwise until it's full. Pull it out, empty it, and return it to the hole continuing to do this until your handles are close to the ground.
Add more pipe to the handle to dig deeper, pulling it up and emptying as you go. If you hit a rock and it's too big for the auger to pull up, you will have to start a new hole.
The deeper you go, the more pipe you add to the auger until you hit water. Once you hit this level, stop. You will find that you can't go too much further because the auger will not pick up the muddy dirt or sand. The walls at water level will begin to collapse. This is not the water we are looking for. This is surface water. The water we want is below this, anywhere from four to 12 feet. At this stage, you are done with the digging part. Now it's time for the well pipe and point to go in.
First, measure from ground to bottom of the hole. This will give you an idea of how much pipe you need. Make sure you have enough pipe above ground to drive. If your hole is 15 feet deep have your pipe cut and threaded in 15-foot and six-foot lengths, with your point connected to the 15-foot pipe. That would leave three feet above ground to start driving. Add the six-foot piece as you need it.
Begin by attaching the well point to the 15-foot pipe (use a coupling if the point doesn't have one). Don't forget to use the pipe dope. Tighten, using two pairs of pipe wrenches. Put on the drive cap without the dope. Drop pipe point first, into the hole. Try to keep the pipe as straight as possible.
Lift the driver over the pipe, resting it on the drive cap. Now, raise the driver up by both handles and pull down as hard as you can. The point will begin to sink with every blow of the driver.
Every couple of feet that you drive you will have to tighten the pipe and cap.
When you have driven the pipe down about five feet, you can check to see if you're into good water. Pour water into the pipe, and see how long it takes to drain out. If the water comes to the top of the pipe and slowly goes down, then drive a few more feet. If the water doesn't come to the top, or you can dump in at least two gallons in one minute, then you're probably in good water.
Now you can hook up an electric or a hand pump. If using an electric pump, pump the well for two to three hours so as to make a cavity around the point. The water that comes out will look dirty and foggy at first, but it will clear. You can drop in a couple of capfuls of household bleach to help sanitize the pipe and point. You should have your water tested by the Health Department.
Locally available supplies
As I said earlier, you can buy most of the things you will need at hardware stores, lumberyards, or Sears. Sears sells two 1-1/4 inch by 36 inch well points. One is a 60 gauge for coarse sand, and a 90 gauge for fine sand. Sears also sells drive couplings and drive caps. A 21-foot galvanized pipe sells for between $45 and $60 depending on where you buy it.
So at this price, you might want to consider putting in your own shallow well. If you do decide to put in your own well, drop me a line and let me know how you did. If you have any questions that I might be able to help you with please contact me. My address is Vince Romanelli, 97 E. Lakeshore Dr., Harrison, MI 48625.