Can You Drill A Water Well Yourself?

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With water rates rising around the country, many people are looking for alternatives to city water. You can drill your own water well using a variety of techniques.  Which method you use depends on the soil in your area and the depth of your water table.

Here are some ways to drill your own water well in your backyard.

Is drilling your own water well legal?

You may be prevented from self drilling a well by either your homeowner’s association or city, state or county laws. To find out if it is legal, or what permits are required, call your state groundwater authority. Also, if there may be an easier chance of getting a permit if the well if for irrigation only and not for drinking water.  Most states allow rural property owners to dig their own water wells but rules vary greatly from state to state.

What Equipment Is Needed To Drill Your Own Water Well?

If your water table is very shallow you may be able to drive a length of pipe into the ground using a device called a wellpoint. A wellpoint is a sharpened and hardened end that is attached to the pipe that will become the casing. It has perforations for water to enter into the pipe from the sand. You can see wellpoints for sale here: Wellpoints on Amazon

When I was young we lived on a farm near Stockdale, Texas, where I saw my father drive a water well using a wellpoint to a depth of about twenty feet after he had watered a depression in the sandy soil for several days.

Driving your own water well using a sledge hammer and a wellpoint only works if you have very soft soil or sand. It will not work in rock or hard soil and you may only be able to drive a driven water well pipe ten to fifteen feet or so.

Another option for drilling your own water well is to rent or buy a small home water well drilling rig kit. The most popular and well known models are made by Deeprock. You can get rock bits for these rigs that will drill through most sandstone and shale but you may have a harder time drilling through tough chert and other harder rocks with these small drilling rig kits.  You can often find used home water well drilling rigs such as the Deeprock models for sale on eBay or Craigslist. A unit capable of drilling up to 200′ and supporting 4″ casing costs around $4000.  Deeprock makes units that operate off a self supporting stand, as well as more expensive trailer mounted units costing up to $10,000 or more.  Add to this cost your casing and pump system and you may spend as much as a professional water well drilling company would have charged. The difference is that you will have your own equipment at the end of it all, which you can use to drill another water well.

A third option is to use some kind of improvised system to drill your own water well. The YouTube video below shows a do it yourself water well drilling kit improvised with a small motor and PVC pipe. You can often find these kits for sale on sites like eBay.  You simply provide the PVC pipe, barrel, etc.

Considerations In Drilling Your Own Water Well In Your Backyard

After you have determined it is legal to drill your own well or have obtained a permit, you should make sure you follow state and local rules for things such as property line offsets, distance from other water wells or septic systems and cementing of the well head. Well water contamination causes thousands of cases of illness worldwide each year, so making sure your water well is safe from contamination is very important. When drilling your own water well be sure to follow the kit’s safety instructions and keep children and pets away from the well bore.

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