NH Droughts Cause Well Maintenance Spike

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are reporting that all of Rockingham County and more than half of Hillsborough and Strafford Counties are experiencing Extreme and even Exceptional (the most severe) droughts.

These are the regions most effected by the drought.

   North Atlantic Excavation has never really been involved in the well digging business until recently. We are changing our operations to meet the needs of local residents needing a consistent water supply for their homes throughout Southeastern New Hampshire. This is not just to establish another source of revenue for our company, but this is to provide the public with a solution to an issue that is reaching an emergency level.

   While given the chance, Biff Yergeau, a well drilling specialist, took a quick break to survey the well he had just completed the installation of.

Biff Yergeau drills a new well to replace a dried up well in Epping, NH.

   “A lot of the wells around here are water table wells. They just aren’t deep enough to access water when the water table is drops to such low levels.” Biff Yergeau stated, while standing in a shallow trench used to connect a new (deeper) well to the house.    

   “They rarely drill deep enough into the bedrock to access the confined aquifers below the water table. They run out of water as soon as the water table drops below the depth of their well.”  

   It has been a problem for many people as water table wells (typically dug wells) are common in the area.        

   “We’ve had this well for over fifty years and we have never had issues like this. We haven’t had a reliable water source for over a month,” stated Mrs. McIntyre, a resident of Epping who had to have a new (deeper) well drilled by Epping Well & Pump on Monday, October 10th. “We simply couldn’t wait any longer.”

   Well digging and drilling companies are being overwhelmed with requests for new wells to be dug or drilled for customers whose trustworthy wells are not deep enough to reach the dangerously low water table levels. Their waitlists are growing longer as each day passes.

   Instead of digging new wells, a frequent solution to having a dry well is to dig or drill deeper to reach these confined aquifers. Confined aquifers are bodies of water laying below the water table, restricted by a layer of impermeable bedrock. Drilling through this barrier can provide a much more consistent and suitable source of water for a well. When this occurs, the well is either an artesian well (with its head above the water table) or a flowing artesian well (with its head below the water table line, so it constantly has the capability to flow).

These are the different types of wells and their water sources.

   To identify whether a well needs to be deepened further, there are a couple of tell-tale symptoms of a well running dry. There might be air and water spitting out, the water can turn brown with sediment seeping into the water source, or the water might be running slowly. When these issues come about, it is best to have the issue addressed before the well runs dry.

   Many drilled wells haven’t been affected yet because water table depths aren’t the same everywhere. Authorities urge all homeowners using water table wells to pay close attention. All types of wells (artesian or water table) could begin experiencing problems soon if the drought continues.

   Your well may not only be having these types of issues due to water shortages. If these symptoms occur, it could be from a variety of complications involving other problems associated with the well casing, valves, waterlines, pumps, or pressure tanks. You can make a quick check of your own well (in a safe and secure fashion) using this quick checklist, hyperlinked here. If you have any of these difficulties, please seek the attention of a licensed well driller/digger and a pump installer to see about an appropriate resolution to the problems being experienced. 

   The NH Department of Environmental Services has recommended that municipalities implement mandatory lawn watering bans. The agency is also asking the public to discontinue non-essential outdoor water use and take water-use reduction measures indoors, as well.

   If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a professional well driller/digger, a pump installer, or the NH Department of Environmental Services Water Well Board. They will be able to give the best assessment of what needs to be done to get your water flowing again.

   When an excavator is needed to access the waterline or well, please contact North Atlantic Excavation. We’ll be happy to help.  


Ben Brady