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smb5769

Any water well pros here? I got methane!

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So, I have an old shallow water well behind my house that was used for a pond which had been filled in. Well I decided to get a hand pump to try and use it for emergency water. Pumped some water from the well and it had a purple color to it. That's not the kicker though...now that there is water around the well pipe I saw bubbles in that water. So I decided to see if it was flammable. Yep, it's flammable. So I assume I have methane gas coming up around my well. What causes that, is it a problem (wish I could catch it and compress it then it would be a good problem!), and can I still use the water? For something besides drinking I'm sure, but at least for washing or flushing toilets in case I lose my treated water?

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Methane in the water is a sign of decomposition of organic material. Are you saying the well was sunk into the pond after it was filled in? That would be a deal breaker for anything but flushing toilets. It isn't safe as there is no end to what may be in the water. Anything that went into the pond could now be leaching into the water. Dead critters, tires, pesticides, and any dead plant material from when the pond had water in it.

 

The purple color is a new one to me, though it does remind me of the color water takes when it sits in an old tire for a long time, particularly when the tire is really, really old. It is like little bits of the rubber are suspended in the water. The same sort of stuff like gets on your hands when you change an old windshield wiper. 

 

 

 

 

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No the well was used to fill the pond. It's probably a driven point well if I had to guess, 1 1/4 inch pipe only 25 foot or so deep. We live right next to a lake though and it probably is where the well draws from and I'm not sure that water is clear of pesticide for sure. It was open/uncapped for six years so I'm sure it had quite a bit of dirt and who knows what down in the pipe. I pumped several gallons of water out of it then poured half a jug of bleach down it and am going to let it sit overnight before I try again. The only thing I can think of to do is pump a few gallons every day and then catch a sample to have tested. I'm pretty certain that it will not qualify for drinking water though. I'm betting a high amount of atrazine and DDT residual will be found. Heck, I wish I could trap and compress the methane! Nice fuel!

Edited by smb5769

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32 minutes ago, smb5769 said:

No the well was used to fill the pond. It's probably a driven point well if I had to guess, 1 1/4 inch pipe only 25 foot or so deep. We live right next to a lake though and it probably is where the well draws from and I'm not sure that water is clear of pesticide for sure. It was open/uncapped for six years so I'm sure it had quite a bit of dirt and who knows what down in the pipe. I pumped several gallons of water out of it then poured half a jug of bleach down it and am going to let it sit overnight before I try again. The only thing I can think of to do is pump a few gallons every day and then catch a sample to have tested. I'm pretty certain that it will not qualify for drinking water though. I'm betting a high amount of atrazine and DDT residual will be found. Heck, I wish I could trap and compress the methane! Nice fuel!

Methane is kind of a pain to deal with unless you are getting a lot of it in a steady stream. Oil wells produce quite a bit of it but unless it is a steady supply of it mostly all that can be done with it is to vent it off and flare it. My cousin's oil well in Michigan has a vent and flare setup on it and all of the one's I've seen in Indiana do too. The flares aren't all burning but the igniter is always on so if gas comes up the pipe it can be burned off. If they don't burn it off it settles in the low spots and can cause problems. For one it displaces the air and will asphyxiate anything that has the bad luck to wander into it. And if it builds up enough and gets an ignition source you get a boom. 

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It's cleared up a lot since I pumped three five gallon buckets out of it. I still wouldn't trust it yet for drinking until I can find out how to test for pesticide and heavy metal. My son said to listen and see if the jug starts rocking it has heavy metals in it....lol. I guess I should learn how to make my own activated charcoal.

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In your case with bubbling water caused by possible methane, it should smell like shat.

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Oddly enough I dont smell anything bad with the water. Not to say that I might just have not got a good enough snort of it.

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Are there any oil/gas wells/drilling near by?  I am sure they have slowed down operations now but maybe a little NG leak contaminating the water table. Just a thought. 

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3 hours ago, smb5769 said:

Oddly enough I dont smell anything bad with the water. Not to say that I might just have not got a good enough snort of it.

Commonly methane caused by decaying matter in bodies of gurgling water are very easily detected. Like being down wind from a paper mill.:D:

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3 hours ago, sw9mm said:

Are there any oil/gas wells/drilling near by?  I am sure they have slowed down operations now but maybe a little NG leak contaminating the water table. Just a thought. 

None close that I know of, but not sure how far away that fracking somewhere else might contaminate this aquifer. There used to be quite a few gas fields around here so it is possible that there is a bit of crossover with an old gas pocket? On another note, I dropped a string down the pipe with a nut on the end and it stopped about sixty feet down, not 25 like I originally thought. Not sure if there is a foot valve at the bottom of the pipe or not, but the water level itself is only about 8-10 feet down the pipe. I'm going to assume that the aquifer is the same one that everyone uses for furrow irrigation around here. Every time I pump it so far I have to pump a gallon or two out before it clears up or it will look purple and eventually a bunch of dirt or whatever it is settles out of it leaving it murky. After a few gallons it's clear as tap water, but has a metallic smell. Maybe I need to ask any of the local farmers who their well guys are and maybe they could give me a few answers about all of this that would apply better to my local area?

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48 minutes ago, smb5769 said:

it will look purple and eventually a bunch of dirt or whatever it is settles out of it leaving it murky. After a few gallons it's clear as tap water, but has a metallic smell.

Lots of iron and manganese. This doesn't cover the manganese causing the purplish hue but explains other stuff that might apply to your situation. https://extension.psu.edu/iron-and-manganese-in-private-water-systems

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