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close this bookWells Construction: Hand Dug and Hand Drilled (Peace Corps, 1980, 282 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsSection one: Planning
Open this folder and view contentsSection two: Hand dug wells
Open this folder and view contentsSection three: Drilled wells
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices
View the documentGlossary
View the documentAnnotated bibliography


apron - A slightly sloped concrete pad which surrounds the well and helps prevent contaminated surface water from finding its way back into the well.

aquifer - A water-bearing layer (stratum) of permeable rock, sand, or gravel.

artesian well - A well that reaches water which, from internal pressure, flows up like a fountain.

bit - The piece which operates at the bottom end of the tool string to loosen the soil or rock to deepen the hole.

bottom plug - A concrete slab across the bottom of a well which can act to prevent anything from entering the well or allow only water to enter.

bottom section - That part of the well that extends beneath the water table.

brake post - An anchored cylindrical object which can act as a friction brake for rope wrapped around it. casing - Metal pipe used to reinforce a drilled well.

cement - A gray powder used as an ingredient in mortar and concrete.

concrete - A hard strong building material made by mixing cement, sand and gravel with sufficient water to cause the cement to set and bind the entire mass.

consolidated ground formation - Any of the various kinds of rock; hard rock; examples: granite. contaminate - To make impure or unclean.

curb - A part of the well lining that extends out from the dining into the surrounding soil, helps to hold it in place and prevents it from sliding down.

cutting ring - A sharp edged ring used on the bottom of a lining that is being sunk into place to make sinking easier.

development - See well development.

drive cap - A strong protective covering, screwed on to the top of a metal casing pipe and then struck to drive the pipe into the ground.

drop pipe - That section of pipe in a deep well pump assembly which extends between the pump cylinder and the pump body.

foot valve - A valve at the bottom of the suction pipe which prevents the water pulled up into it by the cylinder from flowing back into the well.

form - The structure or material around or in which concrete will exactly conform to.

ground water - Water deep enough in the ground so that it cannot be drawn off by plants or evaporated out through the ground surface; accumulates in quantity in aquifers from which it can be drawn out of the ground through wells.

grout seal - Mortar or concrete used to fill in a space to make it waterproof.

head wall - A short wall which extends above the ground level around a well.

hydrologic cycle - Continual natural cycle through which water moves from oceans to clouds to ground and ultimately back to oceans.

impermeable - A substance through which water cannot penetrate.

intake section - That part of the bottom section through which water enters the well.

laterite - A residual product of rock decay that is red in color; prevalent in Africa; difficult to penetrate but has little strength for construction purposes.

level - (Adj.) perfectly horizontal; (noun) a device used to establish a perfectly horizontal line.

lining - Masonry wall built to reinforce dug well hole walls.

lining ring - A hollow circular column, usually made of concrete, which is used to reinforce a dug well.

middle section - That part of the well between the ground surface and the water table.

mold - Form used in the construction of linings and lining rings.

percussion - The act of tapping sharply.

permeability - The speed which water can move through a certain type of soil or rock. Water will move much faster through sand than it will through clay so the sand is said to be more permeable. platform - See apron. plumb - Perfectly straight down or up.

pump cylinder - That part of the pump in which the piston and cup seals slide to move water. sinking method - Any technique used to dig or drill a well. stable ground - Firm soil; not likely to cave in.

suction pipe - That part of the pump assembly which extends beneath the cylinder into water.

surface recharge - The amount of water that soaks down through the ground to reach an aquifer in a certain length of time.

surface water - Water that is found on the ground surface in puddles, streams, rivers, lakes or oceans.

surge plunger - A device that can be inserted into the casing pipe and is moved up and down to develop the well.

swivel connection - A device used to connect two pipes or hoses and which permits one or both to turn freely.

tool string - The entire length of equipment and connections operated in the hole to sink a drilled well.

top section - That part of the well above the ground surface.

transpiration - The passage of water vapor from plants into the atmosphere.

unconsolidated ground formation - any type of soil other than hard rock; examples: sand, gravel, clay.

valve - A structure that permits the movement of fluid in one direction only.

water source - Any place where people could possibly come to gather water; for example a well, spring, river, lake, reservoir, public tap, private home faucet.

water table - The upper limit of that portion of the ground which is wholly saturated with water.

watertight seal - An impermeable material used to prevent water from moving from one area to another.

well development - The process of rearranging the soil particles around the intake section of a well to permit easier and better water flow into the well.