This is why the public should engage the services of a real estate professional who knows their market. My business colleague Kat Palmiotti has lived east coast and west coast and has much experience with the subject of wells and well water. This is an educational process and part of your due diligence once under contract to purchase land. This is not a simple task yet necessary.
If you are planning to purchase land for a future home or hunting cabin, you may want water! If your land is in the city of Kalispell, you will likely have access to city water. If, however, you are out of town on more rural land, you may need to dig a well. Often the question that is asked is, "How deep will my well be?" And here's the answer.
The answer is, "There's no way to know for sure until it's drilled!"
You will need to contact a Montana drilling company. They will come out, assess access and a possible drilling location and set up an appointment. Once they start drilling, they will note the type of material that they drill through. They will also measure how deep the drill is when water is hit. Usually they will drill a little further and then measure the water flow. Then they provide a copy of the well log to you and you file it with the DNRC. That's it!
Well it's not really that simple.
Finding about other wells in the area
One thing you could do to give you some idea of what your well depth MIGHT be is to take a look at the well logs for homes near your property. You can access well logs at Montana's Ground Water Information Center website. You'll need to set up a user ID (it's free), and then select "Well Data", then "Just Looking for a Well log". When you get the main menu, you can select "Wells-Brief" and then enter township, range and section which you can get from Montana Cadastral if you don't already know it. This will provide a list of all well logs that are available in the area, and if you select each one, you can see the well log information and figure out which ones might be close to you. You can also search for an address or street name using the second tab which may be easier. Please note, however, that this will just give you a ballpark for homes in the area. Your property may be different based upon your specific ground makeup.
Before you can start the well drilling process you will need to select a driller.
Selecting a driller.
If you are using a building contractor, most likely they will recommend the well driller that will be used to handle the job. If, however, you need to select one yourself, you could ask home owners in the area for their recommendations or do an online search. You can also use business related websites such as bbb.org or visit your local chamber website to see if they have any links to drillers. And of course you could ask your real estate professional for a recommendation. Once you have a name or two, check out their online ratings, call to interview and make a decision. At the time of this writing, costs for well drilling in the Kalispell MT area can be somewhere around $48/foot. (Additional costs not discussed in this post are the actual water pump, pressure tank and system.)
Those well drilling rigs are huge! They can be 40 feet long, 9 feet wide and heavy as four or five tons. Physical access to the property is the first area of concern. If your road is too narrow, too mushy, goes over a bridge that won't support the weight, or has any other physical access issues, the driller may not be able to access your property. You may need to make some improvements prior to the well drilling appointment.
Next, where do you want the well placed? Wherever that is, is it level enough and accessible enough for a big truck? Is it far enough away from the location of the septic system (which you'll probably need if you are too far for town services). In Flathead County, the distance between the well and septic must be at least 50' and between the well and septic absorption system must be 100' minimum.
Some people also believe another possible way to determine an appropriate well location is to use water dowsing, which is a method of determining location of water that has been in use for thousands of years but doesn't seem to have a scientific explanation. Some people swear by dowsing as a way to find water, and others think it's just crazy.
Actual drill process
Drilling could take just a few hours or perhaps days, depending upon ground and equipment. The driller will keep track of what kind of material he is finding and at what depth. For example, this screen shot shows a well where the first 12 feet were drilled through clay. They the driller went through three feet of boulder, then 23 feet of clay and gravel and then rock. They drilled through about 270 feet of rock in total, finding water about 25 feet before they stopped.
After getting through the clay, gravel and rock to reach the water, they then did a four hour test to see what kind of water flow was in existence. In this case, there was a flow rate of 30 gallons per minute. All of this information, as well as information about the size of the borehole, casing size, proposed use of well and exact location is entered into a Montana Well Log Report which is supplied to you.
Making water rights official
After you receive, you will need to complete and submit a Notice of Completion of Groundwater Development form to the DNRC, along with an application fee which is $125 at this time. This document is the one that provides your water rights. For more information about water rights, check the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation website.
For more information about purchasing land in Kalispell, click here. If you need any assistance with purchasing land, or have questions about the build process, feel free to call me (Kat) for more information. I'm at 406-270-3667 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally posted at thehousekat.com.
Licensed Broker, CBR®
eXp Realty LLC
P.O. Box 10458
Kalispell, MT 59904