I recently attended the Michigan Ground Water Association's annual Fundamentals course for well drillers, and heard several good ideas for keeping clean while drilling into the dirt. It's all about sanitary well practices.

I drove to Lansing in last week for the Michigan Ground Water Association's annual Fundamentals course for well drillers.
I soaked up as much information as I could in the one day I could make it (it was a three-day training), but I'm sure I just scratched the surface. But, a Drilling 101 course is just what I needed to build on my fledgling knowledge of the industry. Every bit helps me serve readers better.
The session that most intrigued me (other than lunch, which I always find intriguing) was one on sanitary best practices for drilling given by Bryan Brewer of Central Wells & Pumps. Brewer had a lot to say about keeping job sites, tools and equipment clean.
Not many people, I guarantee you--and maybe not enough well drillers--think about the cleanliness of a drilled hole. I mean, you're drilling a hole in dirt. Isn't dirt, um, dirty? According to Brewer, it doesn't have to be, and definitely shouldn't be. In fact, keeping equipment as clean as possible, from trucks to boots to casings, can help cut the number wells that end up not passing water quality tests. If drillers can do a few simple things to reduce problem wells, shouldn't they?
I wouldn't have thought about it this way before, but every speck of crud (that's a technical term) on your bit or casing goes down into the hole. To reduce the contamination coming out, it makes sense to reduce the contamination going in. Brewer has simple tips:
Wash your gloved hands.
  • Pressure wash or steam pipes and fittings.
  • Keep your casing off the ground on saw horses before it goes in.
  • Clean equipment on site, to avoid transferring contaminants from one job to the next.
  • Store pipe so that it stays clean. Cover it or store it inside if possible.
  • Clean your hoses and stick tape on the ends for storage, so they stay clean.
He had lots of other suggestions, and drillers with specific questions may want to contact him. It's all about protecting the aquifer, keeping drillers' customers happy and helping drillers work smarter, not harder. It doesn't hurt that, as Brewer puts it, these practices cut costs.
"The most expensive thing we do as a contractor is to go back and chlorinate a well," he told the class.
So, clean up your act, and avoid redoing jobs due to contamination.