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Is Your Well Tapped? Know the Drill

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Every drop counts when it comes to conserving water, and people who rely on well water are no exception.

If a well runs dry now, it will be a long time before the water starts flowing again.

Most people who have them probably do not spend a lot of time thinking about a well. Harry Letchworth does.

"Drilling is in my blood. I mean, I just love it. Every hole is different. Every day brings something new," he said.

These days, Letchworth has been seeing a lot of new wells.His latest is a new neighborhood well which is 310 feet deep and pumps nearly 100 gallons a minute.

Letchworth cannot drill fast enough these days. He said he is busy fielding a record number of calls from people whose wells are tapped.

"We've probably got more backlog now than we have had in a number of years," he said.

Some wells are actually drying up; others need work. Letchworth said in most cases, the pump is the problem.

He said before making a call, take this simple test:

Cut the circuit breaker off and allow the well to set for three to four hours. Switch the breaker back on and check. It may just be that the water supply feeding the well was overtaxed.

"We subconsciously use more water in dry conditions and hot conditions. So use your water normally," he said.

Drilling a new well is not cheap. Letchworth charges by the foot and said the average depth in Wake County is 250 feet. Letchworth said he can even drill deeper.

"As one of my drillers told a customer one day 'We'll stick it out the other side if you have enough money,'" he said.

Right now, Letchworth has a two-to-three week waiting list. He said emergencies are handled sooner.

According to geologists, a drop of rain water that hits the ground today will not get down to the average rock well for over 100 years.


Dan Wilkinson, Reporter
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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