These well-drilling photos are a good reflection of our emotional state the past few days.
It was a kick to see Troy, of All Seasons Well Drilling here in Salem/Keizer, making his rig do sit-up tricks as he maneuvered the hugely heavy truck into place over the gravel that we'd put down in front of the new well location.
Amazingly, given the stories I've heard about how long it used to take someone to dig a well by hand, or with crude equipment, he was down to 445 feet by late in the afternoon.
Our expectations were as high as the top of his rig.
Sure, we knew that drilling a well is a chancy affair, but we'd used a VLF water finding service (Water Finders, based in Gladstone) that claims to be able to locate water-bearing fractures and faults (sample equipment shown here).
The well we use now has pretty good quantity -- about 12 gallons per minute -- but the quality is super-crappy. It takes an ozonator, softener, iron filter, and ph adjuster to transform the raw well water into usable house water.
So we weren't horribly disappointed when Troy told us that he was getting about 7 gallons a minute from the new well (hard to tell exactly, apparently, until a pump is installed).
We could live with that. But our home test kit indicated that the iron level was about the same as our current water. Iron is our biggest water treatment bugaboo.
Hardness and other issues can be dealt with fairly easily. Iron, though part of the hardness problem, is the nastiest stuff. It clogs treatment equipment and is a pain to handle if it sneaks into our house.
(For much of my karate training career, we were figuring out how to treat our water effectively, so I stood out as the student in the decidedly non-bright "white" gi.)
However, at the moment we're on an upswing. Laurel re-tested the new well water this morning and got a considerably lower iron reading. Plus, after sitting overnight there was no sign of the scum that forms on our current raw water.
Additionally, Troy phoned a few hours ago with results from a water sample: 2 ppm of iron, 25 grains of hardness.
Not great. But for us, reason for hope.
That iron reading is at least half of what we have to deal with now, and maybe considerably less -- depending on the date of our old well water testing.
Tomorrow we'll get results of an even more definitive new well water test. Hopefully our emotions will keep going up -- if iron is down.