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Here's another quick and easy project that will allow you to get water from a drilled well without electricity.
People often talk about the lack of drinking water in an urban environment if the SHTF. What about the people in a rural area? If the power goes out for a few days or longer and they rely on a well they could find themselves in a bind too. Or perhaps you are building your BOL and have a well drilled but no power yet, or don’t plan to have power at all. Here’s a DIY method to get water out of a drilled well.
Well buckets have been around a long time and can still be purchased for around $75 at places like Lehmans or you can make your own for around $25.
You’ll first need to determine what size well casing you have. A 3” well bucket will fit a 5” casing, 4” in a 6” casing etc. Here I’m using 3” as it is more versatile given the possibility that I may use it in different wells.
To build this well bucket you need a 4’ or so length of 3” Shc. 40 PVC pipe, a 6” or so length of 1 ½ Sch 40 PVC pipe, a 3x1 ½” reducer and a 1 1/2” PVC check valve. Cell core pipe is fine. You’ll also need some heavy wire or a nut and bolt for the handle, some PVC glue, a saw and a drill.
On one end of the check valve you will see a spring. This spring needs to be removed. You can grab it with needle nose pliers, hook it with a screwdriver or even a sharp stick and pull it free. No need to unscrew the bolt holding it in place.
Now the check valve will only be gravity operated.
Glue the fittings together as shown in the picture making sure that the bolt in the check valve is pointing away from the body of the well bucket.
Attach a heavy wire handle as shown or you can put a bolt through from side to side for a handle. You have to have something to attach your rope to. Using the rope its self to tie through will rub against the sides of the casing and eventually wear through possibly losing your well bucket down the well.
Tie a rope of sufficient length to reach the water table in your well and you’re ready to get water. It’s a good idea to tie the opposite end of the rope to something above ground in case you accidentally let go of the rope.
Method of Operation
If you have a submersible pump you will most likely have to pull it out. Make sure the power is off at the breaker even though the power is “out”. Using the rope lower the well bucket into the well until it reaches water. As you lower it into the water the water will push the check valve open and fill the well bucket. Once the well bucket is full pull it up and out of the well. The water in the well bucket will hold the check valve closed. Repeat until you have as much water as you need. This well bucket holds about 2.5 gallons.
There are other methods to make these, this is just easy for most anyone with a minimum of tools. One simple mod that I’ll mention is running a small stainless steel wire from the bolt on top of the check valve up to the handle of the well bucket. This allows you to pull the wire to release the water as opposed to having to turn the well bucket onto Its side and pour the water out. This is particularly handy if your installation is semi permanent and you are using a tri-pod and pulley system.
Attached to the check valve nut.
Key ring used to pull valve open and release water in the vertical position.
That’s all there is to it. If you build one be sure to post up pics!
Very nice, and simple. TY
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Great information! I have several reconditioned antique ones, but this would make a nice addition to the what it stock. Swamp
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Great Info! I want to make one of these. Thanks
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Question: I have a friend who was asking me about their well.It's VERY deep ( think about 400 feet!) and need alternate options to get to their water. What would be the maximum depth that this could be used? -k
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Wonder if you would be able to use an electric motor as a winch (with the block and tackle setup) to raise and lower the bucket using a single pole double throw switch??? Would save a lot of arm work muscling it up the well, especially if it is a deep well.
A question I have regards Turbidity of water gathered at static level. Wouldn't the turbidity be greater at static level then say 30 or 40 feet below that level??? While dipping the bucket, Is there a chance of increasing turbidity??? If so, is there a maximum number of dips that you performed before the water got too turbid and you had to wait for debris to settle???
The Well Bucket operation won’t be affected by depth. I would suggest they make as large a Well Bucket as possible though just to get maximum water per lift. A gallon of water weighs about 8.5 pounds so thought should be given to how the bucket will be lifted from the well. A couple methods are described below.
You can absolutely use a winch or motor and I’d recommend it if you have access to them. A winch on an ATV works quite well if you set a pulley above the well. You could also just buy an ATV winch and mount it on a frame above the well. ATV winches are powered by a 12v battery and for long term use could be recharged with a solar battery charger. A lot of winches free spool out so you wouldn’t even need a switch, just lower Well Bucket and then winch up by connecting to the power.
If your well isn’t extremely deep or you don’t need a lot of water you can lift it hand over hand. This will wear you out if you have to do much of it. It can be made easier by setting up a tripod made of poles, pipes or whatever you have available and hanging a pulley or even a carabiner. Remember to tie off the free end so as not to lose the rope down the well if you let go of it. Also a good idea to have a tie off point close to you so that you can tie off half way up if you need to take a break.
Turbidity will definitely increase anytime you disturb a well. Even if you haven’t pulled a submersible pump out of the well the first drop of the Well Bucket will knock debris from the sides of the casing. While you will have floaties at static, you will also have debris sinking through out the entire depth. You will likely have some degree of mineral deposits (flakes) and possibly red (rusty) looking slime or chunks in your water. The red looking stuff is iron bacteria deposits and a common occurrence. It won’t hurt you but may have a slight taster or odor. The up side is that all of these contaminates can be easily filtered out with most water filters. In a pinch, drinking the water shouldn’t hurt you if the well was in use prior to using the well bucket and known to be safe. If the water quality is unknown, as always, filter or boil it.
Well if this ain't the coolest idea. Thanks Blackthorn
Don't get what you mean about using an ATV winch for deep wells though, as I think they only hold 50 feet of cable or so. I've got that issue. All I can see is build a windlass or use a large pulley. Won't know how hard 2 gallons at 300 ft is till you try it, I guess.
The lehmens one would be lighter if such a small amount matters and hold 2 gallons with 2 feet less length but I'm still more attracted to this one, probably. Have you used the galvanized lehmans tho? Maybe that used one in the photo is yours? Sure looks like someone has a lot of experience on them, if it is the Amish light weight in that picture. Almost looks like a thicker steel then the new ones. Curious as to how sturdy you think it would be for extended use like everyday for many years. Or even just a year. Maybe the metal is to thin or the crimps won't hold, or maybe not.
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