Some Advice for Those Considering Borehole Drilling

If, just like a growing number of South Africans, you may harbour some concerns about the long-term capacity of your local municipality to continue meeting your daily water requirements, it is possible that you may have also considered hiring someone to conduct borehole drilling. If this is the case, there are some important facts you might need to be aware of. Firstly, not only can this be a rather costly operation, but it is one that can offer no iron-clad guarantee of a favourable outcome.

The task of a driller is simply to drill, and it is up to another type of specialist to offer guidance as to precisely where might be the best place in which to do so. For this purpose, you could rely on the skill of a dowser. Although often thought of as charlatans, many are extremely accurate in the predictions. Alternatively, a hydrologist is able to “read” the local terrain and consult survey maps of the region to locate the best site to commence borehole drilling.

At this point, the ball passes back to the driller’s court. The results of the survey will have given a rough estimate of how deep it will be necessary to drill and, based upon that estimate, should be in a position to provide a quote for sinking a shaft to that depth. Should the initial shaft fail to intersect an aquifer, it will then rest with the client to decide whether to go deeper. The driller will have normally included a per metre charge for proceeding to drill further if necessary.

A reputable company will not undertake borehole drilling unless its experts consider the chances of success sufficiently high and will provide a comprehensive and detailed quotation. In addition to the driller’s contribution, it should also cover the cost of everything that may be relevant to the satisfactory completion of the project.

Bear in mind that this could even include the cost of transporting heavy equipment to the drill site and returning it to the company’s premises. Furthermore, borehole drilling equipment tends to be rather bulky, and it is possible that your quote might also need to include the cost of removing and replacing a section of wall, where there is no adequate, alternative access to the proposed site.

Once the initial shaft has been sunk and an aquifer successfully tapped, it must then be fitted with a stainless steel liner to ensure the surrounding soil cannot enter the water and contaminate it. Other necessary additions include a submersible pump, which must be connected to a mains power source and a control panel located on the well head. It goes without saying that a borehole drilling project will also require installing some surface pipework and, at least, a tank in which to store the pumped water.

Testing is also a mandatory requirement and must cover well pressure, the capacity, flow rate, and potential yield of the aquifer, as well as the water quality. Depending on the purpose for which the borehole water is to be used and results of its analysis, additional treatment plants could add to the total cost of your borehole drilling. Clearly, it is important to ensure your quote is as comprehensive as possible.