Well Drilling Services in Washington

We specialize in water production wells. We service and drill wells to procure water for our customer, and we primarily work on residential projects, for drinking water supply and irrigation uses.

For our residential clients, we believe that we can offer you a well that is as good as the well that the city gets their water from. Because of this belief, we’ve developed processes for Washington well drilling that result in a well that will structurally last a life time. Some of these processes are based on emphasis in proper well development, aquifer testing, screen sizing, and pump sizing. All of this is to make sure our future business is earned by word of mouth, not system service and replacement.

For commercial & agricultural clients, we believe that in addition to the above, you’ll appreciate that we can provide services that are predictably scheduled, that we have the ability to accurately estimate costs, and we have a business philosophy that goes back to a time when a hand shake WAS a contract.

For large projects, we strive to work closely with the engineers and project managers, to make sure the end product is right the first time, and to develop the relationships that make us a good contractor to work with. We believe we should make our living from our knowledge & skill, not our change orders.

New Dual Rotary Drilling

JKA Well Drilling & Pumps is the first north end Puget Sound contractor to provide Dual Rotary drilling technology for traditional 6-IN to 24-IN diameter wells, and the only company in Western Washington able to deliver this technology alongside traditional casing hammer machines working clean water drilling projects. With dual rotary drilling, casing can be advanced successfully and productively through boulders, rocks, cobbles, and caving materials, often without additional project costs.

If you have a difficult drilling project in your future, we have the machine for it!

Steps to Building a Water Well System:

The process for completing your water system typically goes through the following steps:

  1. Well Specifications and Design
  2. Well Siting
  3. Rig Access and Setup
  4. Drilling of The Well
  5. Submersible Pump Installation & Well Testing
  6. Pressure Tank, Well Controls, and/or Water Storage System Design & Installation
  7. Water Treatment Design & Installation
  8. Ongoing Maintenance

     

    1. WELL SPECIFICATION & DESIGN

Even a small residential well may be used for a variety of purposes – washing dishes, showers, washing cars, watering lawns & gardens, and in emergencies, as a fire sprinkler supply (if your house has fire sprinklers). Proper well specification and design helps to establish an estimate of costs, reduce changes in the drilling plan, and reduce the costs associated with changes in the plan to adapt to actual conditions.

A proper specification should include all of the intended uses for the well – domestic supply, irrigation, fire sprinklers, etc. Additionally, an anticipated demand on a daily basis and peak flow rate is ideal, but not always available. For example, a 4 person household might use 350 gallons per day at a peak demand rate of 10 gallons per minute (GPM), but if you add in a fire sprinkler system, peak demand can suddenly rise to 26 GPM or more.

Well design is completed by our driller/project manager using the above data, publicly available well reports in the area of your well, and our knowledge about the existing geology in the area. We will develop a drilling plan and design that will try to anticipate potential problems while completing the well while still delivering the intended results.

2. WELL SITING

At one point in time a well driller could pick the site for a well on behalf of the property owner. In the last 30 years, local well siting regulations have become more difficult to navigate, and/or, impossible for well drillers to complete due to county restrictions. We often refer people to other professionals who regularly deal with the jurisdictional requirements of siting wells, even if it’s not necessarily required that the well be sited by those professionals, as it reduces the potential for costly errors and simplifies the process for all parties.

Please refer to the below table to determine how to properly your get your well sited. We have a list on our website of referrals to other professionals to help you navigate the septic design & site approval process, as necessary. New construction projects in King County require that a Critical Areas Designation (CAD) be completed by a Wetlands specialist prior to septic design work.

You will need to provide us a copy of your septic as-built or design with your proposed well site marked. If the property line is within 100-FT of the well, we’ll also need copies of the neighbors as-builts showing the distance from the proposed well. For neighborhoods with public sewer, a plat map or similar showing the sewer location is adequate. The well must be 5-FT from property lines, 100-FT from all drain fields (even reserve), and 50-FT from septic tanks and sewer lines. Please WAC 173-160-171 for the full list of setbacks in Washington State, though individual counties may have additional requirements. You can download copies of as-builts for King, Snohomish, and Other Counties by clicking here, copies of plat maps and information about sewer lines will have to be gathered form the local utility district or city offices.

3. RIG ACCESS & SETUP

Site preparation is more complicated on larger projects, but is generally required on all projects due to the size of the machinery involved in the project. Some projects only need a load of gravel laid down on the road, others need whole roads & drilling pads constructed with containment ponds and surface water management. A site visit and a clear specification from the Owner is necessary for most site preps to proceed.

Please review this site planning document.

4. DRILLING THE WELL

The drilling process, much like a perk test, is the discovery phase of the process. Once a drill bit is advanced, and casing begins going down the bore, we discover the actual geology present under the site, the aquifer location, and the wells potential for meeting the design established. Drilling often takes 1 to 5 days, sometimes longer for more complicated projects.

Once drilling rigs are mobilized to the job site, they are setup and drilling often begins immediately. Shallow wells can often be completed in one day, while deeper wells can take 2-5 days to complete, some even longer if adverse drilling conditions are encountered. Once the driller finds water, a determination will need to be made as to whether a screen should be installed. A screen assembly is fabricated on site using a wire wrapped well screen and a Figure K packer, then it is pushed to the bottom of the well casing telescopically to be exposed to the aquifer – this creates 10x more surface area for water to enter the well, and reduces the influx of sediment into the well. While a screen is often desirable, it is not always required. Once the well is developed by pumping air into the well to remove sediment from the aquifer, the drilling machinery is mobilized off the job, and the driller completes a Water Well Report for filing with the Department of Ecology. Upon completion of payment for the work, a copy of the Report will be provided to you, and a pump can be installed in the well.

Please take a moment to check out our YouTube channel that includes a time lapse video of a drill rig setting up and starting a well, and this video of our newest rig, a Foremost DR24 starting up drilling a well in Sultan, Washington

5. SUBMERSIBLE PUMP INSTALLATION & WELL TESTING

After the drilling work is completed, a pumping testing can begin using test equipment provided by us, or the permamnent well pump can be installed and used instead. Pumping tests allow for the well to be put through its paces – determination of actual well yields, specific capacity, aquifer characteristics, and water quality can all be established during this phase. Water samples are usually collected at the end of the pumping test and delivered to certified laboratories for analysis.

We typically will provide an estimate for a permanent pump installation prior to starting the drilling work. Once drilling is completed, this estimate is re-evaluated to see if it matches the dimensions of the well and/or any changes the Owner may have requested. Upon approval of the new estimate, a pump crew will be scheduled to install the pump and perform any necessary testing that the County requires. Typically, water test results take 2-4 weeks to be returned by the laboratory.

At a minimum, JKA recommends a minimum pumping test be performed on all wells, in which the water level in the well is recorded as the well is pumped, this is known as a Drawdown Test. Water samples, if necessary, should be taken at the conclusion of this testing.

Many counties do no require the entire EPA drinking water lists to be sampled – King only requires two Microbacteria samples be collected, and testing be completed for Arsenic & Nitrates, while Snohomish has their own 18 item list. We recommend at least one bacteria sample be completed (2 in King County) and a Complete InOrganic Compounds analysis be completed, a total of 32 analytes. This covers the EPA’s primary and secondary drinking water contaminants list, including Nitrates, Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic, amongst others.

6. WELL HOUSE, PRESSURE AND FLOW CONTROL, TANKS, ETC

For new construction projects, the remainder of work to complete your water system usually gets completed once a well house is built, often months after drilling and initial water testing is completed.

Typically, wells that are designed to deliver peak demand straight from the well will use a Captive Air Pressure Tank or Diaphragm Tank to store pressure, and a switch or drive to start the well pump on an as needed basis. In most installations, this equipment takes up approximately 3-FT x 3-FT of floor space and is around 6-FT tall – similar to a hot water tank. A typical pressure tank and control circuit for well pump operation is $1,500 to $2,500, installed.

A drawing for this type of installation can be found here.

From the well to the well controls (pressure tank or other controls) you will need a Additionally, the wire and water line between the well and the installation location will need to be installed,, but estimates are difficult without specifics about the job site. The pressure tank and controls need to be installed in a frost free enclosure – such as a well house, garage, or mechanical space.

Sometimes it’s necessary to pump water to a larger atmospheric tank, then use a secondary pump to pump the water into the house – this allows you to use a low flow well to meet higher peak flow demands (1 GPM well to serve a home, for example). A storage tank system with booster pump for domestic needs, irrigation, and/or fire sprinklers, if necessary, can run $9,500 to $16,000, typically, including the pressure tank & control circuit above. We typically will require the construction of a well house for this type of system, but sometimes this system will fit in your mechanical space, garage, and/or a partially buried option may be available for outdoor installation.

You, the Owner, should plan to have you or your buidling constructing whatever facilities could be required above ground (see linked to drawings), provide trenching, and pipe/wire in trench as necessary (we can provide sizing as required), unless specifically stated in our estimates.

7. WATER TREATMENT DESIGN & INSTALLATION

Many wells require zero filtration, but most of our clients decide to install something to polish the water or adjust it in some way or another – but it’s often elective. Some wells have naturally occuring contaminants or problems, ranging from low pH corrossive water to arsenic. We’ve successfully designed filtration systems for all the problem waters we’ve encountered in the past, but some are more challenging than others

We recommend that well systems used for irrigation or fire flow, and domestic supply, a separate water line be run from the well controls to the fire/irrigation demand PRIOR to filtration. This may mean running two water lines from a well house to the home, one for fire flow, and one for domestic supply.

If arsenic is encountered, a potentially harmful natural contaminant that is somewhat common in Western Washington, we have a process to first determine if treatment is necessary, then to collect the correct data for filtration & treatment design by a licensed professional engineer. Snohomish County will allow for Point Of Use (POU) and/or Point Of Entry (POE) filtration up to 250 parts per billion (ppb). King County will allow for filtration up to 50 ppb. In both counties, an Engineer will be required to process the data and design a filtration system per County policy. Arsenic system design and filtration installation will ideally be completed in conjunction with installatino of the rest of the water system (above).

Filtration for irrigation wells is often not necessary and/or cost effective. However, if there is a lot of ‘hardscape’, such as decorative concrete or fencing, the presence of iron and other contaminants may cause staining over time. If the irrigation water can be kept off these features, that will mitigate the problem.

It is important to remember that filtration & treatment systems are very maintenance intensive compared to the rest of the water system, and without ongoing maintenance, the system may not operate as intended. Additionally, while it doesn’t happen often, water chemistry can change during the lifespan of the well, and once operable systems may need to be altered to make them effective again.

When possible, we recommend that the well be put to use for 1-2 months BEFORE a filtration system is designed & installed. This could be as simple as hooking the pump up and running water to waste while the house is being built.

8. ONGOING MAINTENANCE

The well itself is not likely to require any additional maintenance, though every 20-30 years it may require a cleaning or rehabilitation to remove sediment, mineral build up, or iron bacteria build up. A steel cased well will often have a lifespan in excess of 50 years in the Pacific Northwest.

Well pumps, tanks, controls, etc. all have a limited lifespan. Older equipment once lasted 15 to 30 years, or more. Modern equipment is designed to be more efficient, but this has adversely impacted the lifespan of the equipment. Most components have a 12-20 year life span. Pressure tanks, pumps, and equipment should be checked annually for wear or malfunction.

Water filtration & treatment systems will often require at least annual maintenance, and may require more frequent maintenance, depending on the equipment installed and the water quality in your well. Subsequent to installation we can provide a quote to complete the required maintenance, or, you can complete the work on your own if able.

The National Ground Water Association recommends annual bacteria testing, equipment checks, and arsenic testing, if the well has ever tested positive for arsenic in the past.

TYPE OF PROJECT SEPTIC DESIGNER OR ENGINEER REQUIRED HEALTH DEPT APPROVAL PLANS, SEPTIC DESIGN, OR AS-BUILTS SHOWING WELL SITE, REQUIRED BY JKA WATER RIGHT REQUIRED
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Water Well
(1 connection)
YES All Counties YES All Counties YES All Counties EXEMPT
(see Exempt Well rules for limits)
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Shared Well
(2 connections)
YES Snohomish
King, Pierce see GROUP B below
YES Snohomish
King, Pierce see GROUP B below
YES Snohomish
King, Pierce See GROUP B below
EXEMPT
(see Exempt Well rules limits)
EXISTING CONSTRUCTION
Replacement Well
(1 connection)
YES King, Pierce
NO Snohomish
NO Snohomish
YES King, Pierce
YES All Counties EXEMPT
(see Exempt Well rules for limits)
IRRIGATION
Includes agricultural and/or stock water
NO All Counties
See WAC 173-160-171
NO King,Snohomish
YES Pierce
YES All Counties Possibly EXEMPT
(see Exempt Well rules for limits)
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Group Well
(Group A, 14+ connections)
YES* All Counties YES All Counties YES All Counties Possibly EXEMPT
(see Exempt Well rules or contact an engineer)

 *We recommend you hire an engineer for this work experienced with water system design. Please see the list of referrals.

Do you need help with your water system? 

If you need well repairs, a well inspection, a well drilled, or any of the other well and water system related services we provide, you can email us 24 hours a day at service@jkawelldrilling.com, or call us at (360) 684-1932 (office hours are Monday-Friday, 730AM - 300PM).

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