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Community and Q&A

Salt Water Well – Path Forward?

jjones985 | Posted in General Questions on

Would love to hear what you would do in this situation. Also open to suggestions that perhaps I’m not thinking of.

We drilled a well over a year ago and ended up with salt water. Sodium levels 800 mg/l and chloride 1700 mg/l.  They ended up having to drill 805’ to get us up to 3gpm. Cost was 21k. Vein 1 at about 330’ was 0.5gpm. Vein 2 was 805’ at 2.5gpm. Test came back with high sodium, chloride, iron, and hardness. We flowed more and tried pulling the pump up higher in the well with no significant change in the salt levels. 

There’s another well on site about 500 ft away for our horse barn and that water is pristine but does run dry in the summer for about a week due to the volume used which is why we didn’t tap into that.

We’re on a brook with a gully right by the house and was considering drilling halfway down the gully bank thinking perhaps that might be a ‘fracture line’ where we could hit clean water. Seems like neighbors have hit salt water around 450’ so was going to have it drilled no further than that.

The flip side is that we could install an RO system but it sounds like those are running 20-30k for whole house, have maintenance costs, and a lifespan. For that money we could drill up to 3 wells. 

I know it’s a gamble no matter what but wanted some input on what you would do in my shoes since either option forward has a hefty price tag.


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  1. Expert Member


    Does the brook run all year round? Many people here in that situation dig a shallow well that feeds from the nearby surface water.

  2. plumb_bob | | #2

    Not ideal but you could build a cistern and have water trucked in

  3. user-6184358 | | #3

    Is the water too salty to make a split system? One for drinking with RO and the other for washing & flushing.

  4. KenyonShort | | #4

    Hello there. Though this post is old, I still wanted to chime in on the topic of drilling a salt water well. Hhave you considered getting a professional opinion? Maybe a drilling contractor who specializes in salt water wells could help you find a way forward. They might suggest drilling in a different location or trying a different water pump method. Alternatively, you mentioned the option of installing an RO system. While they can be pricey and require maintenance, they can also be a good long-term solution for dealing with high levels of sodium and chloride. Just be sure to get a CAT 4 inspection to ensure the system is up to code and working properly. Regardless of which route you choose to take, it's important to do your research and work with reputable contractors who offer quality services and CAT 4 inspection services ( ). I wish you the best of luck in finding a solution that works for you and your needs!

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