HYDROFRACKING AND WELL DEEPENING
Hydrofracking and Well Deepening
Low-Producing Drilled Water Well Solutions
Since the late 1940s, oil, gas and water well drillers have used hydrofracking (or hydrofracturing) to free otherwise inaccessible resources within cracks in underground rock. In the case of a water well, fracking is used to flush sediment and rocks that may be obstructing water flow and to further break up bedrock to increase water well yield. Water well hydrofracking is easy to understand and, if done correctly, poses no risk to surrounding landscape. While we can’t guarantee that hydrofracking will be successful, we’ve achieved quality results for many of our well customers who choose this water well development method.
A quick bit of funny history on drilled water well cultivation…
Before hydrofracturing technology came into its own, other methods of well development included dynamite and injecting dry ice into a water well. Dynamiting a well was quite unpredictable and in many cases would collapse a well entirely. Imagine that! Another method used until just a few years ago was injecting dry ice (solid CO2) into a water well and then immediately capping the well to trap the pressure resulting from solid CO2 transforming into gaseous CO2. Unfortunately, that pressure was sometimes so extreme that the 6” steel casing that forms the upper walls of a drilled well would begin to separate, and in one reported incident, the casing shot completely out of the ground!
Needless to say, we only utilize clean water at high pressure, not dynamite or dry ice. No blast caps required.
Hydrofracking involves a few easy-to-understand steps that can only be performed by a licensed, experienced well driller. First, we inject a massive amount of water into a drilled water well to dislodge sediment or rocks that fall in over time. Next, we lower an inflatable balloon (or packer) to an adequate depth below the casing to avoid dislodging casing or harming seals between each section of well casing. Once correctly positioned, we inflate the packer to very high pressure (often 2000-3000psi), which eventually causes a portion of the well beneath the packer to crumble.
Since fracking is generally effective in just 50% of cases, we usually only recommend fracking very deep, low-yield wells (perhaps 1000' or more). In many cases, deepening a drilled well produces better results than hydrofracking.
Our first step in deepening a drilled water well is to place a drilling rig over an existing well. Then we insert drill steel (20' long, 1/4"-thick steel pipes) threaded together until we reach the bottom of a well. From there, drilling proceeds normally with our basically picking up where a previous driller left off in pursuit of more fresh, clean water.
Whether we're deepening or fracking, we regularly update customers on our progress and tailor our advice to each water well owner's needs. Of course, there is no way to guarantee success with any well development method. But our combined 100+ years of well drilling experience should yield New Hampshire and Maine water well owners the very best results.
Page content sourced from Hartley Well Drilling team and NH DES. See links below for further info.
NH DES Hydrofracking Fact Sheet
American Ground Water Trust Article Explaining Hydrofracking