The Well Drilling Cost...
The Questions You Need To Ask


The Well Drilling Cost will be varied and will likely remain somewhat unknown until the water well rig leaves your site. Whether you're drilling a water well on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada or the USA quotes will be valuable to you. Knowing what questions to ask the water well driller will also make a difference... most people are pretty vulnerable in this arena.

There are different water well drilling methods... the old cable tool water well drilling rig has pretty much been completely replaced in North America by the Rotary water well drilling rig. A rotary well drilling bit can easily drill through a couple hundred feet of good rock a day. When discussing the Well Drilling Cost, I'm referring to the drilled water well both rock and overburden using modern water well drilling methods.



What Goes Into Drilling Water Well?


Water well drilling costs need to be taken into serious consideration when developing a property or searching to expand an existing water supply. A new water well drilling rig can be worth upwards to a million dollars fully equipped, there's additional equipment involved too, the cost of operating water well drilling equipment is high. Wages will be paid to normally one journeyman water well driller per rig. His assistant may not be ticketed.

When people wonder why the cost of drilling a well is so high, there's ample reason. It's a tough business with endless overhead and many major repairs. I've been professionally Water Well Witching, quoting water well drilling costs, I have worked within the water well drilling service for 15 years... the water well driller is never given enough credit for their years of commitment to the industry. It's dangerous work and a business of great adversity, one that most could not endure for long.

When asking for a well drilling cost or estimate you will be given a standard price, one for drilling and one for the cost of steel casing. Currently on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.... the cost of drilling a well will roughly be $20.00 per foot for drilling and $20.00 per foot for casing. The casing will only need to be installed until water well driller hits bedrock, the 6" steel casing is used to support the over-burden material... dirt, sand, clay, gravel etc. Once the well drilling bit drills into solid bedrock the steel casing is no longer required as the borehole will be self-supporting.

The installation of steel casing can almost double the cost of drilling a well... sometimes there might only be 20' of casing required before the driller hits rock, once the well driller is into rock the casing will be properly grouted and sealed preventing possible surface or sub-surface water from entering and contaminating the new water well.

From this point the rock drilling bit grinds and chews away at the rock bringing rock filings to the surface as it creates the new borehole, sometimes drilling hundreds of feet before hitting water or hitting several low producing fractures along the way. How far is always the million dollar question!

The well drilling cost escalates if the well is drilled deep and is cased all the way down... we have areas where I drill where we may go through 300' of overburden, to find water if will be at least $12,000 just to get to it @ 300' drilled and cased. Please do not use my prices as your own local prices as they will likely not be the same, I'm only providing an example of the possible cost of drilling a well.



What Is A Stainless Steel Well Screen?


If you end up drilling an overburden well you may not need to drill too far as the water well driller might get into a nice gravel or sandy seam quite quickly producing plenty of good quality water. You don't want to get the water to soon but hopefully with overburden you don't go too deep either.If the well is cased all the way because it's overburden then it will likely be recommended that a water well screen be installed.

A water well screen is generally a 4'perforated stainless steel section installed at the bottom of the well casing which allows the water to move through the well screen and enter the well. The slot size of the well screen will depend on the material that the water well driller has finally located a stable source of groundwater. The cost per section may be estimated @ $2000.00 installed. A screen will not be required in a drilled rock well... only in overburden.

You may want to discuss well screens with your water well driller ahead of time as a quick decision may be required at the time of drilling. Sometimes wells are left open-bottom without a screen to keep the cost down, especially if the property is being developed for resale. This may not be a very good idea... there can be other problems with open-bottom wells that may not be worth saving a few dollars at the time of drilling. Sometimes the new property owner could be inheriting a bit of a problem down the road, water well construction is important. A water well screen will be indicated on the well log or drilling report if one has been installed in the well at the time of drilling.

The above details explained is work that will all be performed by the water well drilling rig and generally operated by a journeyman well driller with an assistant. This is the basic construction of a water well. There will be a few other additional costs, you may be invoiced for a drive-shoe, this could be a few hundred dollars. Sometimes a well drilling service will charge an hourly fee for development of the well, you need to ask about all extra possible fees and have them in writing and signed. Also the well drilling contractor could charge another fee to move the well drilling rig to your site... especially if he's from out of town at all, again this could be a few hundred dollars. He may have a little cheaper rate but he may get you on extra fees so be aware of this. Moving fees are common in my area, I don't like it but it does cost the driller to move the rig. Water Well drilling rigs require a lot of fuel to operate, both to move the rig and drill a water well.

There might be an extra charge for Bentonite which is often used to seal the well casing from exterior water entering the well. In any case it would be very good for you to ask and understand how the casing is sealed into the rock, it's important this is done properly. As you can see the well drilling cost adds up fast, it's expensive and you may still end up with a dry water well. That's why you really need to think twice when purchasing property without water! Even with an excellent Water Dowser on site there can be problems... I've been professional for 15 years, my batting average is excellent but certainly not perfect.



A Little Seasonal Information...


I have never worked one driller against the other when it comes to the well drilling cost, that's just not the way I do business. I like quality, I like integrity, I like water and I don't like well drilling games so that leaves me with a handful of guys on the island I'll work with. There are no games on my sites!

Where I work, the well drilling cost is fair if not on the low side, these guys need to make a decent living and keep the water well drilling equipment in good repair. During the summer you'll see the well drilling cost edge up if there's a lot of work around. But the water well rigs may not work much at all through the winter.

Last year fuel prices were escalating so the well drilling cost needs to reflect this, I don't grind well drillers... they have enough to deal with, the well drilling contractors I work with are always more than fair with me and I know my rates. If you want to drill a water well in the summer you'll likely pay the full rate and may be waiting for a water well rig as summer is our peak demand.

If you don't need to drill a water well in the summer then wait for the off season... the well drilling cost tends to be a little more flexible. The downside to drilling a water well in the wet weather is rig mobility. Water well drilling equipment is heavy and cumbersome, water well drilling rigs get stuck quite easily especially if we have to excavate to get a rig onto a site and it rains before we are either in or out of the well drilling site. If this occurs it will be an additional well drilling cost to the property owner to get the rig pulled out, this often means we need to bring a machine in to pull the rig out of the mud if it's dug down. So you may have saved a couple dollars drilling the well but it could cost more in another way

Some sites are simply not accessible until better weather dries the site out... personally I don't like putting a rig or the drillers into a bad site. If it does not look good I'll wait until I feel we can safely get the rig in and out, without additional expense to the property owner.

Hopefully you can see that the well drilling cost is reflected by all that is involved, some people only have one well drilled in their life... I have done hundreds of them. I don't know anything about drilling a well in your area, I work on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. If you can locate someone who's reputable and experienced at Water Well Witching they will likely have a good handle on your local well drilling scene as well as the local well drilling cost. Call a few your well drilling contractors in the area, arrange for them to come for a site visit... you'll get a good feel that way, don't just hire over the phone. If I need information I will often just start knocking on doors, I ask questions... go visit other people in the local area... people love talking about their well drilling stories!

A lot of the small well drilling companies are awesome, I absolutely prefer them and support them.Gordy Kenbrink from Tri-K Well Drilling is such a water well driller, he'll out work any young fellow, he's an incredible wealth of knowledge and you'll never hear a bad word about him, he's certainly one of my heroes who's put up with me for quite a few years. The help is out there for you... just don't become intimidated and vulnerable.

Remember... Avoid The Dry Hole Syndrome - Do Your Homework!

The intention of this site is not to offer legal advice but general information based on nearly 15 years of experience working in the Groundwater Industry. If you have any questions please feel free to Email Colleen



Colleen's Dehydration Tip:

Digestive Disorders - Dehydration reduces the secretion of digestive fluids. This can be the root cause of heartburn, gastritis, and ulcers.

Dr. Dave Carpenter

More About Dehydration Symptoms