-----Original Message-----
From: Phil & Tricia DeVries <>
Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 10:02 PM
Subject: Driving a Well

Thank you for your home page section on driving your own well.  I searched the internet for info when I was interested in looking into it and your page was the only one out there on the subject!  I really used your encouragement to get me started.  I ended up doing what is called "Sand Sucking" my well to drive it down.  I started with an auger style post hole digger to get me down to the water table (only about 20 feet here in Spring Lake).  Then the hole keeps falling in on itself when you finally hit water.  At this point you send a 3" PVC pipe down and begin "sand sucking" your 3" pipe down.  The sand sucker is a pipe that just fits into the 3" pipe.  It is open at both ends with an upside down funnel at the bottom.  There is a steel ball in the pipe (the pipe is about 2 1/2 feet long), that lets the sand and gravel in, but the water bubbles out the top.  You keep lifting the sand sucker up and down till it gets some sand in it and then pull it up and empty it out.  In the meantime, the 3" pipe tends to settle down farther and farther till you are as far below the water table as you want to go.  I hit water at about 20 feet and sucked my 3" pipe down to 29'.  At this point, I placed a 2" PVC pipe with a 5' PVC point attached into the 3" pipe and attached sections of 2" pipe until the point was resting at the bottom of the well.  Then I pulled the 3" pipe up to expose the 2" PVC point (5 feet or more).  Then you cut off the 3" and 2" pipe at the surface and attach a pitcher pump to clean out the well.
I am planning to use our well for watering our lawn because I do not want to pay the city for its water.  I purchased a 1 1/2 horse jet pump.  With a 1 1/2" pipe as output from the jet pump I am getting 60 gallons of water per minute!  This is PLENTY of water for my little 100' X 150' lot.  I am laying the automatic sprinklers out this weekend.
I have attached a picture of the well in progress.  I am the one in the flannel shirt, the other is my buddy Skip.
In the picture of my wife and Skip you can see Skip holding the sand sucker.  The 3" pipe is sticking up quite a ways, too far in fact to work the sand sucker.  We ended up cutting it off to a managable 5' sections so we could work it from the ground rather that on the ladder.  Our dog Mango (a Jack Russell Terrier), is also in the picture.  She is going to love the sprinklers as she loves chasing water...
Thanks again for your information,
Phil & Tricia DeVries
Spring Lake MI
     sand sucker 1
     sand sucker 2
The well has a flow rate of 60 gallons per minute and Phil says he can operate twice as many sprinklers at one time as his neighbors who depend upon the municipal system. If you have further questions, you can reach Phil and Tricia by clicking on the address at the top of this page. They live in Spring Lake, MI.
Fascinating isn't it? For more details, click on any of the above photos.  If you have access to a machine shop, you can build your own sandsucker by following Phil's diagram (you will need Word 97 or above to open it).
                                                                        This page last modified on August 20, 2001.