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How do you know where to dig a well for drinking water?

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Intplm.
Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
I have heard of and have seen many ways of finding the elusive underground water source.
How have you found potable water and has it been consistently successful?

Comments

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    Divining rods.  Mad Dog 
    MikeAmann
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    Divining rods.  Mad Dog 

    Is that the same as what is called witching sticks?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,865
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  • JMWHVAC
    JMWHVAC Member Posts: 45
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    Divining rods, witching sticks, ouja board, etc, etc, all the same thing. Not scientific and they say you have to believe in it for it to work. Gods creation laws work whether a person believes in them or not. As a Christian I urge any and all to not use witchcraft.
  • JMWHVAC
    JMWHVAC Member Posts: 45
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    Here in PA we let the drilling rig find our water. Once in a while we do get a 500' dry well. Then we move to a different spot and try again.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    When I was working in Vermont I had a good friend who used divining rods. Hew swore they worked. Most of the state, though, if you poke a hole in the ground you are going to hit water -- eventually, and how much may be a question.

    A reasonably competent geologist can make some pretty good guesses at depth and yield and probable quality, though... and I wonder about said friend, as he was also a pretty competent geologist...

    I could never make them work.

    On the other hand, I've had pretty good success in years gone by. With one notable exception: we needed a well for a new high school south of Rutland. In marble. I was kind of doubtful even before we started drilling... but on the third try, after two 800 foot dry holes (! -- if you don't think that didn't cost!) we hit just enough water to supply the school. Hardness was off the charts... yield was low... but it did the job.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DCContrarian
    DCContrarian Member Posts: 122
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    I like to survey the site and figure out where it would be most convenient to dig the trench back to the house. Because you know that's the one spot water isn't going to be!
    ratioEdTheHeaterManPRRIntplm.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    There's also the little matter of where can you get the rig -- those things are heavy.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 611
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    It must work with all those 5 star reviews on amazon for dowsing rods.



    :D
    PC7060
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
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    When I had my well drilled, the driller witched it, and guaranteed that he would find water or no charge. He found water 🤠👍
    Yours, Larry
    PC7060
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
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    They say metal coat hangers straightened out will work we did it several times out in back of our high school in science class. The hangers crossed in the same spot for several students. Was there water there we will never know?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    I hate to say this -- but unless you are very unfortunate (see my earlier comment) there will be water there. How much and how good is another question -- but it will be there. Anywhere.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
    edited April 20
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    You contact Willie the Well-Witcher

    But beware of the high handed code.  As amended in 1912.   Although that may have been replaced by The Stupid and Ridiculous Law of 1966.

     :D 



    That aside,I have no doubt holding sticks etc does absolutely nothing.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,271
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    I’ve found copper water lines with brazing stick divining rods
    It works for some, not others. I have seen excavators use them to find buried lines
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    hot_rod said:
    I’ve found copper water lines with brazing stick divining rods
    It works for some, not others. I have seen excavators use them to find buried lines
    Can you explain the science behind how they work?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,895
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    Let the wife deicide

    there never Wrong!
    ChrisJPC7060Intplm.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,160
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    Folks that are Dowsers use crystals and are very successful in
    finding water and they can also tell you how deep it is.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    pecmsg said:
    Let the wife deicide

    there never Wrong!
    That method at least has logic behind it. 

    Certainly much less painful 
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    I am a Roman Catholic, not in to Wicthie-poo, Wiccan, or any of that, but I have seen divining rods work a few times. A Big Well Drilling company upstate.  Don't ask me the science behind it. Mad Dog 
  • JMWHVAC
    JMWHVAC Member Posts: 45
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    There is no science behind it. Rather it is the power of darkness behind it and yes, sometimes it produces supernatural results. If I experience something supernatural, I want it to be the power of God, not power from the other side. I realize some professing Christians do dowsing. I leave them to God but the Devil can come as an angel of light.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    PC7060 said:
    We need a “huh?” button.   
    Not until I get my good grief button. I've been asking for years.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    CanuckerPC7060GGross
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 611
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    I can't tell if some people are being humorous, sarcastic or serious.
    Intplm.Mad Dog_2
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 498
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     A successful Dowser I know uses a forked branch from a willow tree to locate drilling sites.
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 433
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    As Jamie Hall noted, in most well watered areas of the US, say eastern US, if you dig you will find water, how much yield (rate of flow) is dependent on the rock or material type. A number of hydrogeologists (geologists specializing in ground water) that I know, study aerial photos to look for fracture traces which are linear physical indications on the surface of fractures in the bedrock below. They look for places where two or more fracture traces intersect and drill there, the idea being that intersecting fractured areas in the bedrock will yield more water. This always seemed like a bit of voodoo to me, as I could never find them on the aerial photos, but when pointed out I could kinda see them.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    Gsmith said:

    As Jamie Hall noted, in most well watered areas of the US, say eastern US, if you dig you will find water, how much yield (rate of flow) is dependent on the rock or material type. A number of hydrogeologists (geologists specializing in ground water) that I know, study aerial photos to look for fracture traces which are linear physical indications on the surface of fractures in the bedrock below. They look for places where two or more fracture traces intersect and drill there, the idea being that intersecting fractured areas in the bedrock will yield more water. This always seemed like a bit of voodoo to me, as I could never find them on the aerial photos, but when pointed out I could kinda see them.

    It is sort of voodoo, @Gsmith , but if one has studied enough photos (stereo pairs are far far better than single shots!) one kind of gets a feel for what you are looking for. I'm not at all sure it's a really learnable talent -- it almost seems from working with folks over the years that either you can see that sort of thing or not.

    And I can assure you that if you can find intersecting fracture zones in otherwise pretty stingy rock you can create some pretty good rock wells. Not to boast, just the truth, but I managed to find a 48 gpm/72 hour test well that way a few years back. The city water company was very happy...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 845
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    Here's another 'proven' method: ask around in your neighborhood about other drilled wells. Or check on your state map for drilled-well statistics. Even this is not a 'guaranteed' approach. I have seen next-door neighbors with very different results. Its just...mysterious...down there. Even 8-10' down! Ask someone with a leaky basement. I live in a state that has the home of the American Society of Dowsers--Bro. Jamie knows which one that is. Some dowsers even profess to be able to DIVERT water! I sense that some folks on this thread are "less comfortable" with 'earth mysteries.' You could...just let the mystery be.
  • RTW
    RTW Member Posts: 68
    edited April 21
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    BY LARRY: When I had my well drilled, the driller witched it, and guaranteed that he would find water or no charge. He found water 🤠👍
    Yours, Larry

    BY RTW: this quote reminds me of Babe Ruth coming up to bat and pointing in the direction of where his next homerun would go, and it did in 1932 World series against the Cubs. Haha
    Mad Dog_2
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
    edited April 21
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    Hi @RTR , I've come to believe that magic is something we simply don't understand yet. Babe must have understood ⚾️

    Yours, Larry
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    Hi @RTR , I've come to believe that magic is something we simply don't understand yet. Babe must have understood ⚾️ Yours, Larry

    She even signed her name on it. Some lady named... Ruth, Baby Ruth.

    Who is she?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
    edited April 21
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    dko said:

    I can't tell if some people are being humorous, sarcastic or serious.

    Gsmith said:

    As Jamie Hall noted, in most well watered areas of the US, say eastern US, if you dig you will find water, how much yield (rate of flow) is dependent on the rock or material type. A number of hydrogeologists (geologists specializing in ground water) that I know, study aerial photos to look for fracture traces which are linear physical indications on the surface of fractures in the bedrock below. They look for places where two or more fracture traces intersect and drill there, the idea being that intersecting fractured areas in the bedrock will yield more water. This always seemed like a bit of voodoo to me, as I could never find them on the aerial photos, but when pointed out I could kinda see them.

    It is sort of voodoo, @Gsmith , but if one has studied enough photos (stereo pairs are far far better than single shots!) one kind of gets a feel for what you are looking for. I'm not at all sure it's a really learnable talent -- it almost seems from working with folks over the years that either you can see that sort of thing or not.

    And I can assure you that if you can find intersecting fracture zones in otherwise pretty stingy rock you can create some pretty good rock wells. Not to boast, just the truth, but I managed to find a 48 gpm/72 hour test well that way a few years back. The city water company was very happy...
    Hmm...seems like an applied form of dead reconning combined with dumb luck? Excellent responses.
    Surely science seems to have the edge here. Sticks/rods are used for show?
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,654
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    It's interesting to see this. If what I've read can be believed, the statistics of dowsing are well beyond random chance, and only dogmatic believe (note: scientism falls into this category) opposes it.

    I have not, however, been interested enough to look into it myself.

  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 596
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    When I was tasked with locating underground telecom lines (using electronics) , I would occasionally work alongside other utilities. I was shocked one day to see a water guy 'witch' for a locate. He said how else are you going to located a plastic line. He was on the mark.

    When some relatives had a well witched, the gal had a few hits on the property but noted a crossing of good strengths in one spot. Turned out to be artesian at about 24ft.

    I tried witching a couple of times, I didnt get any 'signal'. Maybe I'm not conductive ? lol
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    My take on it all? Whatever works for you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,113
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    RTW...and Broadway Joe Namath 1969 Superbowl:  "I guarantee it!."  Mad Dog 
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    If no one knows where either of my quotes came from, especially the last one I'm going to be highly disappointed.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • PRR
    PRR Member Posts: 156
    edited April 22
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    ChrisJ said:

    Some lady named... Ruth, Baby Ruth. Who is she?

    Nothing to do with Babe ⚾️ (or did it???), and Baby Ruth died quite young. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Cleveland
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
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    Just hire the Lagina brothers from Oak Island. 😏

    Have they found anything yet?

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,271
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    I'm not a scientist, just a plumber.

    I'll send a You Tube of me locating the water lines in my yard if you like. I don't do wells, just pipes :)

    I've never seen it work for a non believer, if that helps.

    https://www.usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/water-dowsing

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
    edited April 29
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    You already know roughly where the pipes are, so in that case I'm sure it'll work.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon

    That's a good read regardless of the topic.

    Am I a non-believer? I'd say 80%, but there's some curiosity. I have no way of knowing for sure that it doesn't work right now.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment