Construction How-To Guides: How To Dig A Well

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Depending on the size of the well you want to dig, there are various machines that can be used for the job. As we write the below, we hope you're not digging a well for a weird reason, like burying a body or hiding a kidnapped child.  If you are, please read this blog in private browsing mode before burning the laptop you're using or stop doing both of those things immediately (we're joking, of course).

There are two types of shallow wells:

  1. Pit-styled wells
  2. Hydraulically installed wells via augers or drills

It is important to note that you should check that the area you're digging is not contaminated and confirm with your local utility companies that there are no running lines beneath the surface of the area. Whenever your digging, make sure you download the Before You Dig app to understand if there are services running through the area.


What are the steps prior to digging a well?

  1. Choose an area
  2. Make sure the well isn't near a contaminated area
  3. Check with utility companies or Before You Dig to understand services
  4. Check with your local council regarding regulations around accessing groundwater in your area
  5. Confirm the site will generate water
  6. Build a wall screen
  7. Bore the well

What are the common machines used for digging a well?

Because we have assumed you're a handyman or private punter keen to rip in and bore a well in your backyard, we won't go into how to use a piling rig or drill rig to bore your well. Its unlikely you'll need something that substantial to get the job done, and even less likely anyone will hire you one for a backyard job.


How to dig a well with a backhoe



Using a backhoe to dig a well produces a pit-styled well, as an easier option than drilling using an auger or auger attachment. Of course, it requires you to hire the right backhoe or have one lying around. Usually, you'll need a small bucket attachment fitted to the back arm, that can dig a small pit. The back arm, depending on specifications, digs only up to a point, so it's best for a shallow well, rather than a deep one.  Click here for backhoe hire rates information.

Below is a cool video from a guy in USA that dug a well using a backhoe after they had a landslide on their property.


How to dig a well with an excavator



Excavators are ideal when digging a pit-styled well but again have a depth limitation. For a residential well, you don't really need an excavator bigger than about a 10 tonne excavator . You'll need a GP bucket attachment and a skilled operator. Mini excavators that can do this job are a dime a dozen, you should be able to throw a stone around your local area and hit the right excavator for the job.

How to Dig a Well with an Auger or Auger Attachment



Augers come in big and small sizes, either as a hand-held drill, excavator or skid-steer loader attachment.

Handheld augers are designed to hydraulically install wells that are usually on the smaller side. They can stretch up to about 1.2m in length (3-4 feet in imperial) and only about 10cm wide in terms of the hole they can create. There is also another type of auger called a post hole digger , which can do a similar job. Both of these machines can be hired from your local tool hire depot, they aren't really big enough to be on iseekplant.

By comparison, auger attachments for excavators, backhoes, skid steers, posi-tracks or other yellow gear are generally much bigger and can get massive. In fact, the biggest auger attachment lives in Canada and digs a hole 2.4m wide (96 inches).

When digging a well with a handheld auger, it's important to wear safety equipment including gloves, eye protection, steel-capped boots and long pants.

Can you dig a well anywhere?

The short answer is no. There are a few steps to consider before building a well; find a suitable location, make sure the well isn't near a contaminated area, check with utility companies about the location of the well, and confirm the site will generate water. There are also different local government guidelines around accessing groundwater in your area. We recommend you reach out to your local council before tapping into that sweet liquid gold under your lawn.


Can I dig a well in my backyard?

Before considering digging a well in your backyard, it is important to call your local utility companies to make sure that there aren't any service lines, pipes or cables running under your property.  Accessing groundwater is something that Australian authorities usually like to control and know about, particularly in areas that are ecologically sensitive. Your best bet is to read up on the guidelines from your local land management authority.


How to dig a well for drinking water?

Digging a well that is safe for drinking water requires a pump installation for filtration and softening system. It is noted that the well water should be tested once a year.  Water that is suitable for drinking is called potable water. Sounds like you're a bit of an amateur landscaper. If you want to read more how-to guides on construction tasks, click on the below:

If digging your own well sounds extremely tiring, then hire one of the 25,000 verified construction suppliers on iseekplant to do it for you. Click here to search iseekplant. Subscribe to the Flapping Mouth Blog below to stay informed about the latest construction news and projects in Australia!