How Do Drilling Rigs Actually Work?

Ever wonder how a well is created to provide a natural source of drinking water? Most people have no idea about the work or process that goes into generating clean drinking water from the ground. The first part of creating a well is digging the hole with a big drilling rig. If you’re curious how it’s done, here’s a quick guide on how drilling rigs actually work to create water wells.

How Does It Work?

A drilling rig is a rather large truck-mounted machine that is used to dig a well. Once set up, the drill will bore down into the earth in order to reach an available aquifer or water source deep below the surface. Drilling can often reach far below the water table, as deep as 500 feet in many cases. This is to ensure that you get an ample supply of water for years to come.

What Kind of Drilling Rigs are There?

Drilling rigs come as either a “rotary driller” that uses a circular motion to bore deep into the earth or “cable drilling,” which is designed to punch holes in the earth. Each rotary drill is equipped with bits that help to loosen the soil when boring. As these bits turn, earth and rock are carried up to the surface. The process causes the bits to heat up, so you will commonly see specially prepared mud being pumped through the drill string and up to the surface to cool down the drilling bits, lifting the rock, and keeping the hole clean.

How is the Well Created?

Long pipes commonly made of steel or plastic called “casings” are placed into the ground to line the new well during drilling. They help to prevent collapse and stop any contamination of the water source during the drilling process. A two-inch gap is also left between the well wall and the casing that is filled in with gravel and capped with cement towards the surface to prevent any contaminants from entering. A pump is also inserted in the well that draws the water up through suction when powered by an electric motor.

How is the Water Kept Clean?

Filters are installed to help stop debris and other impurities from getting into the water at the bottom of the well. Once drilling is complete, a screen is placed at the bottom of the well casing that acts as a filter to prevent larger particles from being drawn up into the pump and any contaminants from polluting the water. Gravel is also placed at the bottom because of its natural filtration properties to help keep the water clean. Contamination often occurs if the casings or caps are improperly installed or if there is a break in the casing. In order to prevent illness, wells should be properly maintained and tested regularly for the presence of microbial, inorganic and organic chemical contaminants.

If you need a well test or have any questions about drilling new wells or improving the performance of your already existing well, contact us at Altair Water and Drilling today.