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Deep Bore Soakaway &
Water Well Specialists

Please get in touch, contact Gary to discuss your requirements. 

Our Services

Hello, my name is Gary Carpenter, owner of G C Drilling. we offer cost effective solutions for both domestic and commercial clients, fully qualified and insured 

we drill both deep bore Soakaways and water wells. You can find lots more information about both on this website. 

If you require the services of a knowledgeable, qualified and safe drilling contractor please get in touch to discuss your project.  

See what our existing clients have to say here. 

Water Well Drilling

Looking for a water well? Look no further, G C Drilling can provide you with pure water from your own water well. In the past if you wanted to drill a water well you had to apply to the National Rivers Authority for a Licence. In the last few years they were absorbed into the Environment Agency. In 2003 a change in UK law means that anyone can have a private water well supply, and can pump up to 20,000 litres per day without requiring a licence. There are no restrictions on the use to which the water can be put.

Most importantly, with dry summers becoming more frequent in the South of England, many keen gardeners worry about their beautiful gardens being ruined by a prolonged dry spell. Water from your own water well can be used even when a hose pipe ban is in force, you will never have to worry about water for your plants, trees, ponds or lawns ever again.

The cost of drilling the water well is based on a combination of factors: How deep is the natural underground water level, what are the expected geological ground conditions, ease of access etc. 

The first step is to find out what the geology is beneath your property, together with probably depth to water and expected quality. This service is called a water borehole prognosis which many companies charge for. Borehole-Driller provides this service absolutely free. We use an extensive database of water well records, borehole records and geological maps to ascertain the geology and hydrology beneath your property. Simply send us an email with your location and we will do all the research for you, this information is completely free of charge.

If you are lucky enough to be situated above the chalk in Kent, we can offer you very advantageous rates for your well. Contact us and we will do a free report for you on the viability of drilling your own water well.

The drilling rig used predominately is an Edeco Wayfarer 1500 or Dando 175 drilling rig, boring diameter is 150mm or 200mm. The process of drilling is not normally messy, and the materials arising are not hazardous. No chemicals or muds are used in the process, and none have to be specially disposed of afterwards. For Manicured Lawns etc we would lay down 8' x 4' plywood sheets to avoid ruining your pride and joy.

Contracts over deep rock bearing layers will require rotary drilling and are considerably more expensive, this service can be provided if we think the geology warrants use of a rotary drilling rig. On the bright side, much of Kent is blessed with ideal ground conditions. Water bearing Gravels or Chalk aquifers are ideal for well drilling.

Frequently asked questions.

So how do I go about getting myself a water well?

Firstly you need to know what the geology and hydrology is beneath your property.Contact us at G C Drilling and we will carry out a water borehole prognosis. We search an extensive database of borehole and water well records and consult geological maps to build up a profile of the hydrology and geology beneath your property. We will then be in a position to give you an accurate quote for the drilling of the water well. The prognosis and the quote are totally free of charge and you are under no obligation to use our services.

What can I use the water for?

Water abstracted from your water well can be used for any purpose. If the water is only to be used for irrigation or filling ponds etc it will only require minimal filtration. However, if the water is to be used for drinking water, the water will need to be analysed to determine its quality and then the appropriate filtration equipment can be sourced. Dependant on the geology we can usually give you a good idea of what the quality is probably going to be like and what filtration may be required.

The following pictures were taken in Addington, Kent. The client had a pond which was fed by a stream. Unfortunately for 6 months of the year the stream dried up and so did the pond.

The next picture shows the pond a few days after the water well was installed. The fish now have plenty of water all year round and the client also uses the water to irrigate his garden and extensive vegetable allotment.

Where can I situate the water well on my property?

Generally speaking in Kent it doesn't really matter where the borehole is located. Water Dowsers will pick an exact spot and tell you that is where the sweet water is etc. Personally we take these sort of statements with a pinch of salt. From past experience we can't find any reason to want to use their services, although in other areas of the country where you are trying to find specific fractures containing water, they may well be useful in locating these.

The most important factors are :

Access. Can we get the rig into your property. All drilling rigs are quite large, so if you've only got a postage stamp sized garden then this probably isn't for you. As long as the access to your garden is reasonable we can usually get in. See our page on Restricted Access to see our rigs being lifted into awkward situations.
Our main criteria is to locate the borehole near to an electricity supply, which will be needed to power the water well borehole pump. And to be near any water infrastructure on the property that you want to connect to.

The following picture shows one of our drilling rigs being lifted over a walled garden by a lorry Hiab.

What will the water well look like when it's finished?

There are two options here. If space is at a premium we can house the water well totally underground with a manhole chamber covering the installation. This would probably be a good idea if the water was solely used for irrigation. If filtration is required to bring the water up to a potable standard, we would recommend that the installation is covered by a shed or similar enclosure which would house the filtration equipment and make it easier to maintain. If necessary we can house the water well installation underground and lay a water pipe from the water well to a more suitable location where the filtration equipment could be housed.

How long does it take to drill the water well?

This depends on the depth of borehole and the geology we are drilling through. Typically a water well takes about a week to complete, but we would give our best estimate of the timescale involved when we produce our quote specific to your property.

Will drilling the water well make a mess of my garden?

Borehole-Driller prides itself on the fact that we respect the time and effort you have put into garden. We lay down 8 x 4 boards to minimise damage to your lawn etc. We recommed that a skip is hired to dispose of the cuttings from the borehole drilling process. If for access reasons we cannot get a skip near to the location we will wheel barrow the cuttings to a skip. We have many happy clients who will vouch for this and would be more than willing to provide references for you to confirm this.

Will the water well dry up in the summer?

Every effort is made to make sure that you have a sustainable supply for the future. We drill a minimum of 20 metres into the water table (where geological conditions allow), this allows for seasonal fluctuations of the level of the water table. The water well is also pump tested and water levels monitored at a rate of 70 litres per minute to ascertain the yield of the borehole.

How much does a water well borehole pump cost?

This is dependant on a number of factors: Depth of borehole, depth of water, length of cable required and the amount of water needed to be delivered. We use ZDS water well borehole pumps, these are high quality pumps that benefit from a 2 year no quibble guarantee. We offfer advantageous prices to clients who have a water well drilled by us. If you would prefer us to install a borehole pump provided by yourself, we do not have a problem installing it for you.

The final cost of the pump will take into account all of the above factors and will be sized to provide the perfect pump for your specific application.

Borehole-Driller was recently featured on the BBC News The filming shows three of Borehole-Driller's clients water well installations.

The first was for a client who had practically no water pressure from the water companies and was faced with a shared bill of £40,000 to have a new pipe laid by the water company. They are now self sufficient and have a reliable source of top quality water from their own water well.

The second was carried out for who were supplying water to Ashford Golf Club to reduce their water bill.

The third was for a client who had a large beautiful garden complete with croquet lawn. With their own water well they are now able to guarantee that their garden always looks pristine even in times of prolonged hot weather and even drought. Since the water well has been installed the client has installed an irrigation system to take the hard work out of watering the garden.

At the end of the feature the BBC stated that water from water companies is better, and that boreholes may dry out. Borehole-Driller disagrees with this statement and would like to clarify the situation. When we drill a borehole into the chalk aquifer we are taking the same water as the water companies by the same means, the only difference is the size of the system. We however do not have to pump our water through a decaying infrastructure and therefore do not have to add fluorine and other chemicals to compensate for this. Water from the chalk aquifer is pure and requires little filtration. All of our boreholes are drilled at least 20 metres into the chalk aquifer to allow for seasonal fluctuations in water levels. All of our boreholes are tested to make sure that there is sufficient water for their purpose.

If you would like to see an installed system, let us know and we will arrange a viewing.

Water Guarantee
We will employ our equipment, skill and experience to make the water well borehole a success, but we cannot be held responsible for finding water which does not exist. We undertake to do the work contained in our quotation, for which we must be paid whether water of adequate quantity or quality has been discovered or not.

We will only attempt to drill a borehole with at least a 95% chance of success. If we consider the chances are less than 95% we will inform the client of our concerns and then it will be up to the client to assess whether he thinks the risk is acceptable.

Deep Bore Soakaways

Deep bore soakaways are the most effective and low cost solution to drainage problems.

There is no need to have your existing soakaway replaced, we can recommission your existing soakaway to work perfectly.

Certain rural areas of Kent are high above the chalk aquifer making them unsuitable for water well drilling but perfect for deep bore soakaways. If you are not connected to the mains sewerage system you will be aware of the high cost of emptying your septic tank or Klargester and how quickly it fills up. Most septic tanks are also connected to soakaways to drain away the excess water. Sometimes the soakaways are situated in clays which are not suitable for the purpose and become ineffective very quickly. They also tend to silt up over time which stops the water from draining away. The problem can be exasperated when rainwater is also directed into the soakaway. The soakaway fills up very quickly and although 99 percent of the volume is rainwater, you have to pay the far more expensive rate for getting contaminated water disposed of.

Usually the solution is to have the soakaway emptied and then cleaned out, this can be extremely expensive - if you have a soakaway that isn't working correctly we are sure you are already aware of this!

Surface water drainage can be particularly problematic especially in rural areas when no mains drainage is present. Systems which require large scale excavation to provide sufficient soakaway drainage are not only very expensive and intrusive, they often fail through prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. The problem is that if the ground is clay, it doesn't matter how big the excavation is it will eventually fill with water, if the rainfall is more than the storage capacilty of the excavation the soakaway problem will still be there. In many areas of Kent there is a clay layer sometimes called head deposits which sits above the permeable chalk, this layer can be any depth from between a few centimetres to over 20 metres below ground level. Any soakaway constructed in the clay layer is doomed to failure as the water cannot permeate into the clay quick enough. By drilling through the  full extent of the impermeable clay and into the permeable chalk fractures, it is possible to drain massive volumes of water which will permeate through the fractures to eventually replenish the underground aquifers. Water can freely drain at rates in excess of 10 litres per second without any type of mechanical installation at all. The environment Agency should be consulted in the first instance to see if they have any reservations about discharging water into the ground. Generally speaking the Environment Agency only have a reservation if you are discharging foul water or are in very close proximity to an aquifer which may be used as a water supply. To find out what the geology is beneath your property just give us a call and we will do a FREE geological survey to determine if your property may be suitable for a deep bore soakaway.

If you already have a soakaway which is just filling with water and never soaking away, there is no need to have the soakaway emptied or cleaned out. We drill through the base of your existing soakaway and carry on drilling until we find the porous geology. We then install a well casing which will quickly drain all of the excess water. The installed well is positioned 1 metre above the base of the existing soakaway, this allows any silts which enter the soakaway to settle and not interfere with the drainage. No maintenance is required and you can look forward to trouble free drainage.

Please feel free to give us a call and receive a free no obligation quote, we are always happy to answer any questions a client may have.

For  those of  you who would like more detail please read on.

Technical detail

The deep bored soakaway consists primarily of two parts, a conventional chamber, and a narrow bore perforated liner usually 100mm to 150mm diameter. The chamber is constructed in more or less a similar manner as a conventional soakaway, but the chamber is used solely for attenuation.

The chamber is generally formed wholly from non-perforated rings (Milton Rings) which are constructed from preformed concrete. The size of the chamber is dependant on how much water flow will come into the chamber at peak flow and how quickly the water runs away down the deep bore soakaway pipe. Chamber depths do not usually extend beyond 7 metres and generally are 3 to 4 metres in depth.

In exceptional circumstances the lower part of the chamber may be perforated, provided the perforations commence a minimum of one metre into a suitable permeable strata. Passing through the base, which again can be concrete, is a plastic or steel liner usually 110 to 150mm in diameter in Kent, although in exceptional circumstances diameters of between 80 and 300mm have been used, these are used in exceptional circumstances such as for use by the local water companies. High volumes of water are pumped by the water companies to lower the turbidity (small particles suspended in water) of the water.

Limitations in depth of the liner as a result of groundwater protection concerns are increasingly resulting in the use of 200mm and 250mm diameter liners. However for domestic use a 110mm, deep bore soakaway pipe should be more than adequate. A call to your local buiding control or environment agency office should be able to advise if there are any special requirements.

The liners are inserted into a borehole drilled normally by a cable percussion shell and auger or rotary auger rig depending upon the underlying geology, with the diameter of the borehole a minimum of 50mm greater than the outside diameter of the liner. The plastic deep bore soakaway liner is perforated over the permeable layer to facilitate discharge of the surface water run-off into the surrounding soil and as such its length is dependent upon the required soakage rate although it may be limited in depth by the requirements of the environment Agency to avoid contaminating a water aquifer. The usual requirement of the Environment Agency is that the deep bore soakaway must terminate 10 to 20 metres above the water table or aquifer.

A section of non perforated liner is normally installed to below the interface with the soakage medium (usually gravel or shingle) and the overlying relatively impermeable soils. It is recommended that the non-perforated liner penetrates at least 2 metres into the soakage medium. Between the perforated liner and the side of the borehole is a gap which is backfilled with 'pea-gravel' or similar typically 10mm in size and up to 20mm maximum size. Like the granular material surrounding a conventional chamber this helps to disperse the water evenly from the liner perforations into the soil and backfills the void between the borehole and the liner to allow the installation of the bentonite seals above the perforated section of the pipe.

As the diameter of the borehole is more controlled than the dimensions of the conventional chamber excavation, the soakage area of the liner is taken as the borehole diameter. Above this annulus of granular material lies a bentonite seal which restrains the water to below this level even when the run off backs up into the chamber. For particularly sensitive sites it may be appropriate to introduce a reducing coupling local to the grouted area to enable a thicker annulus of grout to be obtained (eg reduce 150mm perforated pipe to 110mm plain pipe at or below the grouted zone and extend 110mm pipe into the chamber) and/or increase the depth of the seal above the standard depth increment of 2 metres. Capping the liner which protrudes one metre above the base of the chamber is a syphon head placed to prevent the blockage of the deep bore. This also helps to inhibit the ingress of silt or foreign objects into the liner. Access into the soakaway chamber to install the syphon head must be treated as a confined space if at any significant depth and can only be undertaken with the necessary safety precautions (Gas detector, safety harness, tripod winch, backup team etc). Borehole-Driller uses a custom made syphon head which can be lowered over the soakaway pipe which negates the need to enter the chamber. The deep bored soakaway intercepts far fewer joints than the conventional soakaway and therefore relies upon the driving head developed by the water column to force the run-off through the available fissures that are encountered in the sides of the borehole.

This installation is prone to smearing the fissures in the borehole which further reduces the soakage rate. Use of Muds and Polymers to stabilise the borehole can also be detrimental to the permeabilty of the fractures. Cable percussion rigs suffer far less smearing due to the nature of the process of drilling and are therefore preferable. We undertake a series of soakage tests as the borehole is deepened and then  carry out a permability test prior to and after installing the deep bore soakaway liner to confirm the soakage rates. The field tests do, however, satisfactorily model the capacity of the deep bored soakaway generally being of a similar diameter to the proposed liner. Field tests on the installed liners are possible and less water is generally required to demonstrate the liner capacity compared to a conventional soakaway although tankers will often be required to fully justify the capacity of the deeper liner systems in highly permeable strata. These tests would be needed if the deep bore soakaway was for perhaps a housing estate, but for domestic use a water bowser and pump test would suffice.

In general terms drilling within the Alluvial gravels and chalk can be undertaken by conventional cable percussion (shell and auger) techniques. The 'rock-like' structure of the Lower Tunbridge Wells Sands and especially the Hythe Beds often precludes the use of the light percussion rig methods. In such deposits it may be necessary to utilise rotary coring drilling techniques. The costs of this specialist drilling is however quite high, typically 2 to 4 times that of cable percussion rig work. In some circumstances it may be advantageous to employ a light cable percussion rig to drill through the overburden materials and prove the position of the underlying 'rock' strata, the rotary rig can then move onto the position and carry on with the rest of the drilling. This may be particularly useful on sites where a number of deep bore soakaways are required, such as a large housing estate.

Once this has been undertaken the more expensive specialist rotary drilling rig can be brought onto site to complete the works. For brown field sites, whilst the deep bore soakaway liners themselves may be in suitable strata, the chambers and/or inlet pipes may be in loose made ground. Settlement of the chamber and/or opening of joints in the inlet pipes will stop some of the water reaching the soakaway liner which may result in surface settlements and/or washouts. It is therefore important to consider the need for ground improvement local to the soakaway chamber and greater flexibility in the inlet pipes on larger scale soakaways.

Whether it’s a water well or a deep bore soakaway, contact us to discuss your requirements. We guarantee to beat any genuine drilling quote!!!

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