08 September, 2007

Goin' Down, Down, Down

Well, it's not quite working in a coal mine, but that's what came to mind when the well drillers showed up from Shipyard Village.
Workin' in a coal mine
Goin' down down down
Workin' in a coal mine
Whop! about to slip down
Workin' in a coal mine
Goin' down down down
- Lee Dorsey

Rube Goldberg arrives
The Well-Drilling Equipment
This rig is old, old, old. But it still works - I think. So, as they're unloading and positioning the rig, it promptly gets stuck in the clay mud. With the rain we've had, everything is saturated. It took a crew of friendly folks to push the rig into position to be ready to drill.
Pushing and Pulling
So Serious - He's Really In Charge
A Lot of Effort to Move a Few Feet
Ancient Looking Stuff
After the rig is positioned, the Mennonite drillers move the derrick upright into position. It's not a rotary drill, but an impact drill - basically a pile driver. It's in two parts. There's the drill, a drill bit with a huge weight behind it, and then the muck tube, with a spring-loaded door to trap the muck loosened by the drill, so it can be extracted from the hole.
Set Up and Ready to Go
Punching Its Way Down
Drilling began quite soon after that. We did have a glitch. About the time they reached 25 feet, drilling stopped. It seems the muck is caving in as soon as it is pulled out of the hole. Of course, they didn't show up with any pipe to line the hole.

I checked all the suppliers in town for 8" pipe - none available. I got on the horn with Franz, our contractor/builder for the Mennonite house. He said he'd try to find some pipe in Belize City... This was really poor planning. Who would show up to drill a well with no pipe? Only in Belize.

Anyway, they found three 20-foot lengths to borrow from Fruita-Bomba (and those pieces are not cheap), the papaya growers here in Belize, and all began to proceed again.
Drilling in Progress
Checking the Progress
Below are two shots showing the drill on the left and the muck tube on the right, along with the pool of muck that develops as a result.
Drill Piece and Muck Tube
Plenty of Muck to Go Around Too
The rig actually at work. Believe it or not, the engine just keeps chugging along. It actually runs smoothly.
V-Belts at Work
This Actually Runs
Nothing Runs Like a Deere
Below is what we're after - the hole. About 8-inches in diameter. It'll extend down roughly 60-feet. And, hopefully, we'll have sweet water as the end result. I'll let you know.
The Hole
Today, I'd be surprised if they don't finish the drill. Then all we have to do is buy a pump, flex piping, a pressure tank, and some fittings, get current (electricity) to the site and the pump, and then we'll be in business. Till then, We'll cap off the well to prevent neer-do-wells from dumping anything down the pipe till we're ready to

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