Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fire and Water

Mr. Well Guy II, Aaron Drilling from Calgary, arrived today and did a fantabulous job of getting my well back into working order. Want to change out a wellhead in a pit and add a casing extension to raise your wellhead up and get rid of the pit? (Note: that last statement was to aid Google in it's search terms). Here's how it was done, and what happened to us in a chronology of photos.

Step 1: Remove the pit
See this post for details.

Step 2: Pull the pump.
I'm a retired reservoir engineer who did a bunch of time as a production engineer. I understand about pumps (a bit, though my buddy Swade has me cleanly in this department). I thought they would need a rig of some kind to pull the pump. Nope. The fine gentleman from Aaron's and I did it by hand. The data I had on this well was nonsense; it's only 60' deep (not the +100' I was told), and the pump was only set about 50' down. So when we pulled it, the pump and the "tubing" (2" poly) fit in my yard.
Tubing hanger and pump seal in the foreground
It was obvious that the problem causing the well to be contaminated with surface runoff was the fact that there was no seal on the tubing hanger (in fact, there was one heck of a gap). Any crap or fluid that fell or seeped into the sump/pit was destined to fall into the well. This had nothing to do with seals around the casing, as I was told was part of the problem.

Step 3: Cut the Casing
So to clean up the problem of the casing not being closed to surface runoff, you cut the casing off clean.
Easily cut with a wheel
Step 4: Weld on the casing extension
Aaron's then took a 10' section of new casing and welded it on.
Bright light from the arc welder
The fun part about this step was making sure the new casing was straight, because balancing a 10' steel pole 7" in diameter on a hole is not the easiest thing to do.

Step 5: Add the pit adaptor
My well used to be down 7' in a culvert. In truth, it's called a "pit". Pits are nasty. While I have had at least 3 people down in my pit in the last few months, technically I knew that going down there is considered "entry into confined spaces". I know what trials and tribulations there are in sending employees down into confined spaces. But the folks who went down there did all the dirty work necessary, cutting the water line and the electrical connections.

The old wellhead/tubing hanger was replaced by a pit adaptor. To install this, first you drill a hole in the new casing.
Drilling the hole
Then you strap on a pit adaptor, which is a spiffy connector that straps to the casing as a takeoff for the downhole water lines.
Pit adaptor strapped to the casing. New connections almost in place.
Step 6: Cut the casing to the correct length
Here's Aaron's performing gymnastics to cut the casing off.
Cut is 18" above grade
Step 7: Re-run the pump
We chose to replace all the poly and all the cable leading to the pump. Yes, it was only 2 years old, but it was just 50' in length and cheap to upgrade. The pump itself probably only weighs 15 lbs/7 kg. So it slides into the well just fine.
Pump in hand, off to the ladder to run it
At the top of the tubing, a new tubing hanger is installed. It has a fitting that slips in the pit adaptor, and "dogs" (a set of 3 arms) that force pressure onto the tubing to make sure it connects to the pit adaptor. Wish I had a photo of it. The tubing hanger has a 1" steel rod temporarily attached to it, and this is used to guide the fitting into the pit adaptor, and a simple bit of cord sets the dogs which apply pressure to the fitting to insure no leaks. This is similar to a retrievable bridge plug in the oil and gas biz. I wish I had taken a picture.

Step 8: Start refilling the hole
We had a backhoe to dig it out. We could not get one to fill it back in. Here's what it looked like when the backhoe was done.
Culvert moments from being removed. Note the dirt pile
So we started scraping the dirt back into the hole. By my calculations, 351 cu. ft, 13 cu. yds, or 10 cubic meters of rocks, dirt, rocks, sod, rocks, tree roots, rocks and more rocks.
Yours truly hard at work
Did I mention there were a lot of rocks? We started at 2:30 PM, and with a LOT of breaks, by 5:00, the pile looked like this with the hole about 60% filled.
We have to fill the hole about halfway up the red part on the casing
A 6:00 pm view. Lots left.
Hard work.

But we were not the only ones hard at work today. The painters started. They got a lot of prep done, including priming the front door...
...and filling a billion holes inside.
Lots of little fixes
On top of that, our fireplace guys were here all day, and our fireplace is now installed and done.
Dudes on the roof, fixing the chimney & bugging the squirrels 
The finished thing
Today was a hectic day, but a lot got accomplished in great part due to Aaron Drilling. Got a well problem? Call them. They rock. We called Tuesday PM and they were here today. After three months of frustrations with Mr. Well Guy 1, they are my heros. I wish I had known about them in the first place.

Tomorrow, we finish filling the hole.

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