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Drilling has over the years developed to a highly specialized and technical activity. Drilling with jumper rigs as in the olden days rarely takes place and most of the boreholes drilled are drilled with the air percussion technique. This technique is fast and efficient. However, when drilling a borehole for groundwater abstraction purposes, drilling becomes much more than just making a hole in the ground.
For many people drilling is only an activity above the ground that they can see and observe. A water borehole is however a specialty engineered hole in the ground, making provision for water to flow into this hole and allowing for a pump to be installed inside the hole to allow abstraction of water. Part of this engineered design is to prevent the surrounding geological formations to collapse and therefore the closing of the borehole. The task of the Driller is to drill and construct a borehole and drill deep enough to be able to get the water.
There are very few people that take time to consider how drillers manage to keep a vertical borehole, which went through sand and hard rock, open until the casing is installed. How does one manage to remove the drilled pieces of rock from deep below the surface? Skill is needed to guide and control a water well drill as it penetrates sand, gravel, clay, and solid rock formations underground. The drill rods are quite heavy and can weigh several tons: if the drill pushes to hard or turns to fast, the drill bit will wear out to fast; if it does not push hard enough, it won't penetrate. Quite often several rock layers are encountered in a single borehole, each requiring different drilling pressures and speeds. When water is encountered the drilling becomes even more complicated and the driller needs to understand exactly what forces need to deal with to further penetrate. Most home wells are drilled to 6 or 8 inches in diameter.
The cost of a borehole can be significantly influenced by the applied design as well as the difficulty to construct a borehole in a specific geological formation. Many times people try to save on costs and therefore they will budget for the drilling of a borehole, but not for the casing of a complete hole. Installation of casing, which might in the sort term seem costly, will almost always pay off in the long run. This casing will allow for the borehole to stay open for years after completion, and correctly installed it will also assist in keeping the borehole clean and free of material that could damage your borehole pump.
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