Drilling a well is one of the most common issues people ask about when buying vacant lands in North Carolina. Most of the vacant lands in North Carolina are in remote areas and are not connected to municipal services. But this, of course, appeals to a wide range audience who are eager to get away from high cost of energy, traffic, pollution and noise.

To have a professional company drill a well for you in North Carolina, it will cost in the range of $15/ft- $30/ft. Have it in mind that the cost can vary widely depending on where you live, the soil composition and the depth of available water.

It is always advisable you seek out the opinion of a local water expert who can give you an estimate of the depth of the water table. In addition, if you have neighbours with existing wells, they will be able to tell you the depth where they struck water. Although this does not mean it will be the same for you, but in most cases it will be a good estimate. You can also request well logs from your local water authority.

Depending on your county laws, you may also need a professional and a well permit to drill a well because of the specialized equipment needed. The actual cost to drill the well includes drilling the hole and adding 4- to 6-inch casing. If the driller does not find water, you will still be mandated by law to pay for the hole in the ground.

In North Carolina, the cost to drill a well and add casing averages around $1,500 to $3,000 – not including permit fees. To drill a well 400 feet deep, the cost may run $6,000 to $12,000.

Also remember that these figures don’t include the well pump, the piping for water delivery, pressure switch, the storage tank or any plumbing from the well to the house site. It also doesn’t include any water conditioning equipment for water that requires treatment. Water conditioning can add from $1,500 to $3,000 or more to the well’s cost.

But irrespective of the cost and big grammar, well drilling may not be too complicated, but DIY water well drilling can quickly take a wrong turn. North Carolina in recent years has tightened water-usage rules, increasing the number of permits to drill private wells.

Notwithstanding, private water wells remain a good solution for North Carolina residents who are struggling to find enough water, but it’s important to make sure that the water well drilling is done by professionals.

Factors That Will Influence the Cost of Drilling a Well in North Carolina

Drilling a well is one of the most basic, fundamental and important aspects of any new home improvement project. Even though the costs may vary widely depending on the size and scope of the project, as well as the city or county, a few basic costs can be budgeted ahead of time to help provide you with a general guide.

  1. Permitting

Almost every county in Western North Carolina requires county site approval before the well is drilled. For a fee, the county will inspect the site and give their approval of the location of the well. This can be done by the homeowner or the contractor. Fees can range from $200 to $500(residential) depending on the municipality. The contractor may include the application/ permitting fees in his pricing.

  1. Site Access/Preparation

Have it in mind that for most jobs, site access is not an issue if the ground is relatively flat and graded properly. But if there is a need to re-grade, excavate, or do additional site prep, the fees can run from several hundred to several thousand. Also remember that this would need to be priced on a custom basis. If there is a grader on the site, it can sometimes be used to help prep the site and save money.

  1. Actual Drilling

This is the process of boring the hole into the ground in search of the water source. Depth is the single biggest variable in pricing. A good rule of thumb is approximately $10 per foot on the low end, up to $30 per foot or more for difficult or commercial grade projects. While many areas like Florida and Eastern North Carolina can hit water in 10-50 feet, the mountains of Western North Carolina is often 100-400 feet and can even be deeper.

Also in some rare instances, you can have a well drilled that never finds water or has a low yield. Some old-timers envisage that “witching” a well will help you maximize your odds of finding the best spot to drill your well so you never have a dry hole. The deeper your well, the more “reserve” you have; meaning, your well acts as a storage tank and the deeper it is, the more storage space you have.

  1. Yield

Have it in mind that depth is only part of the equation; how much water your well can produce is another major component. Yield is simply how many gallons per minute your underground aquifers and veins of water pour into your well. Note there can be yields of under ½ gallon per minute (GPM) to artesian wells that put out so much water the instruments to measure yield pegged out and it was 100+ GPM.

Those are rare and 1-10 GPM is far more common. If your well produces a lower yield than the well company recommends for household usage, there are some great options to maximize it like a buried storage tank or fracking, which expands the crevices to try to get more water flow.

  1. Quality

It’s important to acknowledge that Western North Carolina is known for amazing water. In fact, many folks who live in Florida and other areas will tank water from there and bring it to their home because the water is so much better. PH is rarely a problem and any water quality issues seen are usually from rotten egg smell (sulfur) or red water (iron). The good thing about these water quality issues is they can almost always be resolved by a water filtration system.

If it is needed, your well company can recommend the right system. They range from an inexpensive sediment filter to many other complex systems. They protect your faucets and fixtures from sediment and some tank-style systems can costs around $1,650-3,200 depending on certain factors.

  1. Casing

Casing is more or less the liner through the dirt to reach the bedrock. This is what protects and keeps your water sources clean from surface contaminates. Casing can be PVC, or some sort of steel (galvanized, stainless steel, black steel, etc.). Note that casting costs can run from $5.00 to $20.00 per foot. Again, these costs can be lowered when included in a package deal by the contractor.

  1. Grout

Grout is better known as the sealer around the casing, it’s what seals up the casing in the ground. Grout is determined by the local city and county regulations. The grout is sometimes clay bentonite or a form of concrete. The idea is to keep surface water from following the casing down to the water source. Grout is typically required from 20 feet to 50 feet alongside the case. Fees generally run a few hundred for this material.

Conclusion

From the detailed analysis above, drilling a new well is an investment that involves numerous steps. The cost of a drilling a new well in North Carolina can run from $2,000 for just the drilling to $20,000 for a comprehensive, deep well system.

However, the major thing to consider when drilling a new well is the expertise of the installer and the quality of the materials. Remember to also ask your neighbours for general pricing since their soil and conditions will most likely be similar to yours.

Ajaero Tony Martins