A well is effectively a hole in the ground that is deep enough to find water. In this sense, anyone could dig a well.
Of course, it’s not actually as simple as digging a hole in your yard. The first thing you’re going to need to establish is what rules are in force in your state. Every state has their own guidelines regarding the digging of wells in a back yard.
These rules don’t generally prevent you from digging, but they do insist on certain safety standards. You’ll need to ensure the dig is safe and doesn’t cause any structural issues to nearby properties. It will important to line the well properly and to establish the depth of your well before you start.
Checking with the state before you start will ensure you comply with all the relevant regulations.
Depth Of Well
The depth of your well is dependent on the height of the water table in your area. The higher the water table the closer water is to the surface. You need to drill through the water table, which is known as an underground boundary between soil and the saturation zone.
The water table indicates how much water is held by the soil but this isn’t guaranteed to be there in dry periods. However, if you drill into the saturation zone you’re in a space that is made up of rocks. Water fills all the gaps between these rocks and you can pump it up to the surface and use this virtually unlimited supply.
You’ll need to get a professional to assess your soil in order to establish how far to dig.
Digging The Wheel
It is possible to create a square hole and slowly dig down. You’ll need supports to stop the sides from collapsing and a means of getting up and down as you dig deeper. It will then be possible to set up a frame above the hole and lower a bucket down to the water level, allowing you to winch up freshwater.
This is a primitive, slow, but effective approach.
Today, people are more likely to create a well with the aid of earth augers. These are effectively giant drills that drill into the surface of the earth to your required depth. They can be set up to add piping which fills the diameter of the drill hole, effectively making sure the home won’t collapse afterward.
A simple pipe can be lowered into the hole and connected to a pump on the service, allowing you to pull the well water up. Of course, if you want to drink it you’ll have to test it and possibly treat it to ensure it’s clean and safe to use.
There are other methods, depending on the size of the hole you intend to dig. But, the earth auger approach s the simplest and generally very effective.
In short, you can dig your own well at home but you should check the relevant permissions and know what you are getting into before you start.