Photograph of a water well pit Well Pits to Contain Water Equipment & Well Access

  • WELL PITS - CONTENTS: Well Pits for Water Equipment & to Provide Well Access
    • Types of wells and water supply systems and what to watch out for with each
    • What sorts of problems occur at well pits?
    • Well pump & water tank diagnosis & repair procedures
  • PITLESS ADAPTERS - separate article
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about using a well pit to protect well piping & equipment from freezing;

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This article describes Well Pits to Contain Water Equipment & Well Access. We provide advice about what to do when things go wrong.

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Well Pits for Access to Well Heads, Pressure Tanks, Pumps, Controls

Also see Water Tank Types and before assuming that a water problem is due to the well itself, see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE an specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost.

What is a Well Pit & Why are Well Pits Used - sketch & explanation

Photograph of sketch of the componentsof a well pit.

Well Pits for drilled wells are excavations, usually outdoors, which were dug below to below the frost line (in freezing climates) to house the well top and sometimes the pump and water tank.

The photo above shows a messy well pit interior with a plastic bucket over a well casing and a glimpse of the water pressure tank. At page top we have a collapsing well pit with no cover whatsoever - a serious falling hazard.

Photograph of a water pressure booster pump and tank systemThe sketch shown above, courtesy of Carson Dunlop, demonstrates use of a well pit of capping and accessing drilled wells was used in order to provide ready access to the equipment while also assuring that the water line between the well and the building it serves was protected from frost. While the sketch places the water pump and pressure tank inside the building, in many instances the well pit may contain all of these items.

At left is a photo of an ugly well pit with a bucket covering the well head - what does that tell us?

Well pits are very common in many areas all over the world.

Watch out: Safety Warnings Regarding Well Pits

  • Well pit covers: As with our concern for dug well safety, a well pit should have a child-safe cover to prevent falling-in and injury.

  • Well Pit shock hazards: You should also be very careful of electrical shock hazards when entering a well pit. Often the well pit is wet or perhaps even flooded. In such cases be sure to turn off electrical power before entering in or working in the well pit.

    At a property where we broke a water supply fitting we needed to shut off the water pump. The water pump and its controls were in an outside well pit. On opening the pit cover and seeing a foot of water therein we knew better than to jump down into the pit to turn off the pump switch. We used a dry broomstick to push the switch to the off position. We could also have found the main electrical panel and found and turned off the pump circuit there.

  • Watch for collapsing well pits such as the frost-damaged masonry block pit walls shown at page top.

Hand dug well converted to drilled well (C) Daniel FriedmanAs we also discuss at DUG WELLS, by HAND, our photo at left illustrates a hand dug well that was converted to a drilled well with a steel casing. The old hand-dug well now serves as a well pit. Notice that there is no protection against surface runoff entering the top of the well casing - a sanitary or water potability concern. This rural well is being used for crop watering in San Miguel de Allende.

  • Watch out for flooding well pits - especially if the well cap is located in the well pit floor. A well pit that floods risks leaking unsanitary surface water into the well - be sure that the well cap is water tight in these cases, and take steps to keep water out of the well pit.

    At a property inspection we observed a well pit housing the well head itself as well as water pump and pressure tank. The well casing had no cover installed. It was raining. Water was running across the property from a pony stable down into the well pit and into the well.

    Manure-runoff was entering the drinking supply, making it unsanitary and possibly quite dangerous to the building occupants. The well needed to be sterilized, tested, and provided with a water-tight sanitary cover. The well pit needed to be protected from surface runoff from the stables. The building occupants needed to be informed immediately that their water was unsanitary.

A rough sketch of a well pit and a compression-type well sealing cap can also be seen at Components of a Well with a Two Line Jet Pump? or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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