How to Pump Sand out of a Shallow Well

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Water wells may accumulate sand in the casing and screen during installation. After you install the well, wait at least 24 hours and then develop the well to remove the sand and other residual debris in the casing. Well development removes sand and debris that fell into the casing as well as fine material that can enter through the screen slots. Well development is also effective after a well sits unused for an extended period causing sedimentation to build up.

Things You'll Need

  • Surge block
  • Submersible pump, or similar
  • Remove the well cap and any existing pump equipment from inside the well.

  • Place the surge block into the casing and push and pull it along the length of the well. A surge block is similar to a plunger for wells. It typically has a disc with rubber bands attached to a handle that you move through the casing. This movement will scrape the sides of the casing and help to agitate the water and mix the sand into the water column. The sand is easier to remove when it floats in the water.

  • Insert a submersible, or similar, pump into the well. Pump the water and sand until the water runs clear. You can allow the water from the well to run over the land surface if the water is clean.

  • Repeat the surge block and pumping process to make sure the sand is gone. Once the well water is clear immediately after using the surge block, you know that the casing is free of sand.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the well runs dry, allow time for the water to recharge, then surge and pump the well again.
  • Do not use a pumping rate that's too high as it may damage the well.
  • A well that routinely fills with sand may have damage to the screen or casing.

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