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Drilling: Day 3

On Day 3, still at Site 1 (TW1-a), the drilling team began putting the 6″ casing down.

They ran into some trouble while trying to put gravel and clay in the hole to block a salty, upper aquifer.  The guys measured and re-measured with incredible patience trying to make sure everything was placed correctly.  Finally, after persevering through the frustration, they got it as best they could.

(The white PVC pipe in the photo is the casing.)

The verdict at Site 1?  It appears we have 10 gal/minute, but the water is rather brackish.

It was time to move on.

Off to Site 2 (Gulbert’s land).  For those of you who remember, this is the land where a collaboration of community members asked us to drill.

Unfortunately, it very quickly became apparent that the prospects were doubtful.  The drilling rig ran into pure blue clay pretty early.

Pretty nasty stuff!

After a certain number of feet with nothing but gloppy, blue clay, the experience of the drillers and Maxwell (representing the water study company) said that it would be unprofitable to keep going.  A decision had to be made in the moment.  Judy and Rick discussed it with the drillers…

And the drilling company agreed to punch a fourth hole for us!!! (This was not in the original contract.)

So as the sun set, the decision was made to pull up at Site 2 and go to an unplanned Site 3: the Lemuel garden land.


Now, here’s a bit of the history of the Lemuel garden land.  (You can also scroll down and skip it, but you may miss some cool details.)

The Lemuel garden land has been drilled three times.  The first well ever drilled was done many years ago, before Lemuel even existed. The man who drilled it said it was the sweetest water he ever tasted in the Northwest. Unfortunately, it got filled in (that’s another long story).  After Lemuel purchased the land, another man drilled a hole for us.  However, the water is very low in quantity and highly brackish.  The third hole was drilled two years ago. Again, the quality and quantity are better than nothing, but very poor.

The man who drilled the very first well recently suggested that at some point we try drilling right next to that first hole.  Years ago, Lemuel had that hole cleaned out, but it had to be done by hand.  The men who did it dug down incredibly deep (in fact, the driller commented on how impressive a feat that was). Still, it was nowhere near as deep as a drill rig can go.  Its current rate is only 4 gal/minute. Not only that, but it could be that in cleaning out the well, they also mixed different aquifers, which would account for why that water is also now brackish.

At that point, it was too late to change our chosen drilling locations. And when we floated the idea of a fourth hole to the drilling company, they were not encouraging.  So, we let it go…


By the time we got to the Lemuel garden land, it was getting quite dark.  We quickly chose a convenient spot near the first well (its the one with the windmill pump).  A mixture of Development guys and standers-by quickly mobilized themselves with shovels to make a way for the drill rig to pull in.

The men set up the rig and got the hole started, then they called it a night.

But wait till you see what the morning revealed!

(Seriously, you really should read about Day 4.)

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