WorldWide Drilling Resource

25 MAY 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® by Tim Rasmussen Pumps, pumps, pumps. For years, we have installed hand pumps in the wells Water For Life has drilled in Guatemala. We have found great variations in how long the pumps have remained in service. In some villages, the pumps need to be serviced every couple of years and in other villages they last much longer. We are always trying to figure out how to make them last longer. There are several variables which may affect how long the pumps last. The primary reason is the variability of the use. In some villages, there are 400 or more people who depend on one well, and it is in constant use. In other villages, there is not such a high demand. There is a lot of particulate matter in the water in some areas; the water is very hard in certain areas and the water comes out of the ground much warmer than here in the states. One of the problems we have tried to address is the wear on the pump handles. The holes become wallowed out, and the whole mechanism becomes sloppy and wears faster. One of our volunteers, Larry Duffield, worked on an idea of boring out the holes to make them round again and using various kinds of materials as bushings to decrease the wear. He has tried brass, Teflon-impregnated plastic (PTFE), harder steel. All options have their advantages and disadvantages. Nothing seems to have solved the problem for long-term use. There is a real necessity to keeping the pumps in operation. We learned a long time ago that after a village has been using clean water for a few years, the people do not tolerate going back to a contaminated water supply. If the well goes down and the folks go back to the previous source, every one gets sick right away. Now that we have 160 pumps in operation and are serving 30,000 or more people every day, it is very important we keep the pumps in operation. To address the problem of the reliability of the water supply, Water For Life has made a move to a different kind of pump. We purchased ten pumps sold under the trade name of LifePump. They are manufactured in Ohio. It is a progressive cavity pump, and we have hope it will work very well for us. The pumps operate by the user turning handles mounted on a right-angle gearbox (like bicycle pedals, but hand operat- ed), which then rotates drive rods connected to the helix-shaped rotor which is underwater at the bottom of the borehole. Also at the bottom, sits the stainless steel rotor and elastomeric stator, which combined, is called a progressive cavity pump. When the rotor turns relative to the stator, this creates progressing pockets of water that are pushed to the surface. These pumps can work at depths far deeper than traditional hand pumps. They have been used in Africa extensively, and many pumps have operated for years without any service at all. These are very good pumps and are built for longevity. They are also very expensive. Each pump costs about $3000. This is just slightly less than double the cost of the pumps we have used for years. We are hopeful we can continue to install these pumps and solve the reliability problems we have encountered. Now that we have a rotary drill in Guatemala and have trained a Guatemalan crew to run the rig, we are looking to expand our drilling program. It is our hope to drill 40 wells this year. This will mean more pumps - and more money. This is where you can help. If you have the desire to help us and cannot come yourself and drill with us, using our cable rigs or the rotary rig, please contribute and make it possible for us to continue this life-giving work. Thank you for your support. If you would like to help, contact Gary Bartholomew at 208-907-0010 or 509-939-1941 Tim Tim Rasmussen may be contacted via e-mail to WTR