When you stop to think about it, civilization as we know it would be difficult to achieve if the planet was not endowed with aquifers throughout its subsurface. Certainly, the Earth’s population levels would be much lower if everyone had only drinkable surface water and rains to depend on.
I found the well drilling process interesting and was impressed with the simplicity of the machinery/tools involved and the dedication of the drillers. As with most things, there’s more to the process than you might imagine.
After greetings and verification that they were where they were supposed to be, an inspection was made on the proposed well site. I had not considered the overhead electrical lines, so it was suggested that the spot I had wanted be moved over a little further from the high voltage lines. Made sense to me!
Some of the drilling crew set about placing the drilling truck, leveling it, and then securing metal pads to the ground to take pressure off the wheels. The huge air compressor was likewise positioned close-by.
Meanwhile, the head guy made an offering to the spirits of the land, with candles, incense and a bottle of lao khao (rice whiskey). This bottle, incidentally, mysteriously disappeared about the time Thip’s brother Sawt and his cousin Peh joined us for the post-drilling party.
There are two main components to the drilling rig: the truck, itself, and the portable high-pressure air-injector. From the truck, a drill head with holes for air to be blown out from the injector is attached to an increasing number of drill rods until the aquifer is reached.
If a rock or hard spot is reached, at some point along the line, the drill head is brought back up and a special rock-cutting drill head inserted. This special head is then brought down to the level of the drilling and when successfully through, brought back up and the original head put back on. In order to do this, each section of drill rods need to be unscrewed and then re-screwed and again unscrewed and re-screwed. This takes time and patience.
Mud starts to come up before the aquifer is reached. We hit our aquifer at about 40 meters (approximately 131 feet down). Once the aquifer is reached, the drill goes down slightly lower to make a clean hole into it. It’s exciting when water starts to be blown out by the air compressor.
Once the hole into the aquifer is verified as a clean tap, the head and rods are brought back up to the surface, one-by-one. After they are up, PVC pipe is inserted down to a level of about 3 meters, from ground. Once in place, our own smaller circumfrance PVC pipe is lowered down, one section screwed onto another, with the head being grated to prevent large pieces of anything from being pumped up to the surface. The pipes go down to the same level as the drilling, with a tubular, internal electric pump not far from the end of the piping. This is the device that actually pumps water to the surface.
(Thip's looking pretty happy about all of this...)