Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lining the Well

Good Saturday Morning to you all. I hope you do not mind, but will continue the water theme a bit longer. Today's picture is from 1941 and it shows men lowering a concrete culvert into a water well, to serve as a lining for the lower segment of the well.

This is what we are intending to do, so the picture serves as a nice segway into an update on Project HAO. Well, I am sad to report our project has hit a major setback. The concrete culverts were delivered today. The well hole diameter is 37 inches. The concrete culverts have a diameter of 37 inches. The snag is both are Inside Diameter measurements. So, the hole is 37 inches wide and the inside diameter of the culvert is 37 inches, but the outside diameter is 41 inches. The culverts will not fit in the well hole. Now you might be thinking, just return them, but in Africa all sales are final, so we must make the larger ones work. This means Jacob must re-dig the entire hole to the proper dimension. He must re-enter the well, and recut the hole to the larger 41 inch size. Then perhaps we can have a nice photo like the one above, of the culvert actually going down into the well hole.


  1. That's an unfortunate development.

    However, maybe you can do it this way.... enlarge the top of the hole to the outside diameter of the culverts. Put the culvert in, and continue to enlarge the hole under it. It then follows that as the hole is opened up, the culvert would slide down. If this works, then you can put in the liners, without a lot of heavy lifting, and they would slide in a controlled manner to the bottom.

    Graham in St. John's

    1. Even without a Health & Safety executive overlooking things I don't think I would like to be Jacob enlarging the hole while the concrete culvert is sliding down above him.
      It reminds me of a true tale from my days working offshore in the oil patch (North Sea, early exploring days). We had a toolpusher from Texas running the show and one day while we were lying at anchor between drill jobs he was having some repairs done by a welder to the moon-pool. (Open space on the rig where the drill stuff goes down to the seabed.) Anyway, with the rig being idle a whole crowd had gathered to watch this welder and he seemed to get a bit uncomfortable with being the centre of attention. He was hanging over the moon-pool in a harness and he called out to the Toolpusher: "Hey, Bibi! I don't feel too safe down here!" The Toolpusher replied: "Don't you worry, Hoss. I've got another man standing by just in case you should fall!"

  2. What a BUMMER.
    Sorry to hear the bad news.
    I guess digging a well is just like building a house. The saying is measure twice and cut once.
    But at least you know that there is success and the end of the tunnel, or should I have said HOLE.

  3. That is so sad news to hear. However, on the positive side you, Jacob and the whole team know exactly what has to be done and how deep to go and are not digging in blind hope as on the original well hole.

  4. Well assuming you are paying Jacob per day, then I don't think he really minds this development. :-)

    Going from 37->41 is removing 1/4 the dirt of the original hole but all of it has to be collected from the bottom where he can't breath well.

    The suggestion of digging undercutting the culverts as they slide down the hole is pretty reasonable. Many wells are dug that way from the start. That is listed here:
    But as it seems Jacob does this for a living, I would assume he knows the way to handle this situation.

    Thanks PJM, I have really enjoyed this week and your care of orphans.

  5. When I was about 8 years old, my great grand ma gave me several empty perfume bottles. I took them to the chicken water trough, that was beside the well, to wash them out. The water then seeped into the ground, thus into the well. The water then had a sweet smell and taste. My Dad had to draw the well dry, in order to get the bad smell and taste out.

  6. I agree with Henry. Jacob could run into all kinds of probles working under what would become about 3000 lbs of culvert.

    Maybe a better process would be to devise a platform suspended on ropes to allow a place for Jaconb to stand and a place to lay a gunney sack for the dirt to fall on. After he has scraped enough dirt down onto it it could be pulled out with the four ropes attached to each corner of the sack.

    Also, could a garden hose attached to a small compressor ((with generator or invertor attached to a car battery) be lowered as he went town to provide good air all the way to or near the bottom. If enough air volume is available, it would lift the bad air out of the hole and make Jacob a healther man.

  7. To go with AL's idea, if you have a air mattress air pump that runs off of batteries, you could hook that to a hose of some type and run air deep into the shaft. Or rig up a bellows to the hose.

  8. I used to work for a natural gas company, in the engineering department. I well remember how important the I.D. and O.D. were. Not interchangeable!
    I think I'll cry.

  9. Graham has the right idea.
    Good luck & go safe Jacob !


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