Water Well Journal

February 2021

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/1330849

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Page 40 of 59

got me there. The actual answer you know I'm really looking for is the obvious one! Water! Mind you, it can't be just any water. Water for human consumption must be reasonably clear and free of pathogens, and most people won't touch it if it is not at least a little bit palatable. Now, where can we find this water? How about that stream in my backyard or the lake across town? But hey, wait once again, we can't just hook up and start using water from any old source, especially in our currently crowded and polluted world. Competition for space amongst all of us as well as the continued effects from development has resulted in contamination of many surface water sources that, for previous centuries, used to be as pure as crystal. Therefore, that means we can't just drop in a suction line and start pump- ing from anywhere, not if we want to keep healthy anyway. What to do? Well, how about a well? And not just any old well, mind you; we must have a protected deep well—one that is properly cased and sealed to protect us from yucky byproducts from all sorts of critters. Our well has also got to be deep enough to protect us against a future drought or depletion of water. It also has got to deliver our water reasonably clean and free from sand and other gritty material that could degrade the life of our well or pump. All in a Day's Work I know, we'll call in a professional water well contractor, one who is as proud of his ability as he is his children. He is the person who would rather discuss the merits of rotary versus cable tool drilling than a Notre Dame versus Michigan football game. He is the guy who knows that a good well is not measured by the amount of chrome on the drilling rig, but by that extra trip he makes back to the well to place that extra bag of cement in the seal, just to "top it off." A finished well is not simply a hole in the ground to the professional contractor. It is almost like a member of his family. Sure, we've all seen this, a guy who can spout the depth and capacity of a well he drilled in 1970 off the top of his head but can't remember his wife's birthday. Okay, so we now have our new well, drilled to a depth sufficient to provide for all our water needs, safely and effectively. Where do we go from here, how do we get the water out of the ground? This is where the title may change slightly, from a professional well driller to professional pump installer, but the importance never diminishes. Although the relative importance of his work is the same as the driller, the pump installer would never want to be con- fused with the driller, just as the driller would not wish to be confused with the pump installer. Their roles in delivering clear and safe water to a residence are uniquely different but equally important. The professional pump installer is the guy or gal who drags themself out of bed, often at 3 or 4 in the morning, to drive 50 miles to fix a pump just so some dairy cows can continue to have drinkable water. This pump installer, just as the driller, will brave every conceivable weather condition and trudge through all kinds of muck and yuck just to get the well done or the pump fixed. Neither one of these people will ever think of themselves as heroes or important to anyone other than their immediate fam- ily—but to the other family experiencing the relief and grati- tude of seeing the water flow or pressure gauge rise after a day or two of being out of water, they are always heroes. I can attest to this feeling myself. I have seen contentment on the housewife's face with a sink full of dirty dishes need- ing washing, the dirty and scared kids who need but don't want a bath after getting the water back. I have also experi- enced the gratitude of the relieved husband who won't have to pack water from the neighbor's house another night. If importance is measured in legacies of performance, our work is surely important. Just look back on the hundreds of well logs or pump installation records left by our predecessors who, to this day, are often referred to as the best in the busi- ness along with the decades of trouble-free service many of those wells and pumps provided to their owners. The best is truly the elite, the minority of people in every profession who regularly rise to a level of work excellence that only their cus- tomers see and competition fear. However, the real legacy of the best in the business are the stories of what they did to stand behind the few wells they drilled or pumps they installed that didn't work quite right. Usually, the warranty they offered in these instances was well beyond the normal expectation and written document. Certainly, these well warriors thought that their work was important. Then, there are those in the rest of the business. Consider how many times you have been called back, time and time again, to work on the one well with the inferior seal or rotten pump installation. You know the one, installed by the guy down the block who really didn't care too much about his work other than the check at the end of the job since the work obviously wasn't too important to him. What about you? Do you count as one of the unsung best or are you just content to be one of the rest? Therefore, the original question remains: Is our work truly important? To briefly summarize, our work may not be as glamorous as lawyers and doctors. We surely won't win any fashion awards for our wardrobe, but is it important to the world? When the water is flowing and the family is happy, you'll know, damn right, it's important! Until next month, work safe and smart. WWJ facebook.com/WaterWellJournal WWJ February 2021 n 39 Ed Butts, PE, CPI, is the water and wastewater design manager at 4B Engineering in Salem, Oregon. He has more than 40 years of experience in the water well business, specializing in engineering and business management. He can be reached at epbpe@juno.com. Learn How to Engineer Success for Your Business Engineering Your Business: A series of articles serving as a guide to the groundwater business is a compilation of works from long-time Water Well Journal columnist Ed Butts, PE, CPI. Visit NGWA's Online Bookstore at www.NGWA.org/Bookstore for more information.

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