Completely stupid question about wells/plumbing

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Rosalind, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Our local plumber, who works mainly on newer homes, is confounded.

    Background: Our house is 300 years old. Our barn is 150 years old. Many, many things came with the house. Some were in the barn. Some were in the yard. Some are clearly identifiable, such as outdated and half-rusted-through plough attachments for a pony- or donkey-pulled plough. Some are merely random parts of something-or-other that used to be iron. One identifiable a hand pump for a well. This hand pump may be missing crucial parts for all I know; I know for sure it needs de-rust-ified and new gaskets and such in order to work.

    Thing is, my well looks like this:


    And above that spidery, hand-dug 30' hole is a pulley for a bucket. So, clearly the hand pump does not go with this particular well.

    OK, so out in the barn there is a Mystery Pipe. Top of said pipe is rusted and broken off, but was obviously threaded once upon a time. Other end of pipe goes down through manure barn and into the ground. There's a sort of wooden box around the very bottom few feet, for what purpose I know not. This pipe is right up against the northern wall of the barn, with perhaps 3" clearance between it and the wall.

    How likely do you think it is that Mystery Pipe is in fact a second well? How would I find out whether or not it is a well, and if so, how do I figure out how deep it goes and whether or not it is useable? If it's useable, I could clean up and refurbish this hand pump thingy for it, get the supply line re-plumbed, construct something to sort of guide the manure away from it. From the storylines in the newspaper wrapping the supply line in the manure barn, it appears to have been originally installed in the 1920s-1930s (Prohibition notices in the newspaper police blotter). Is there such a plumbing expert as an Antique Well Specialist?
  2. verthandi

    verthandi Songster

    May 18, 2007
    Equally stupid question back at you. Are you sure the pipe in the barn was for a well, or could it have been the drain for a sink? Just a thought, but I have a hole in the floor of my old barn's milk room. The pipe runs under the barn to the the top side of the manure pile. At the manure pile end, mine has the remains of a metal 55 gallon barrel. It was a type of waste water system.

    Is the photo of the well hole, in the house? That might actually work fine for a hand pump if needed. My well that I use a hand pump in is that large across the top, I just made a wooden cover for it and a circular hole in the center for the pipe to pass through.
  3. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    If you get a pump working, you can get a sample of the water and have it tested. Often times small rodents will fall into these wells, contaminating them, but there are ways to fix that. The water can also be used for watering outdoors if you don't want to hassle with it that much.
  4. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    Maybe you could use a long thin rope with a weight and something that will get wet on one end and lower it in. That only works if the pipe is not obstructed by something.If it gets wet you can measure how long the rope is.... just my 2 cents worth. My granny used to have a well in the veggie garden that had a hand pump and the house had well water too.

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