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What is Hydro-Fracking & How Does It Work?

You’re probably familiar with the term “fracking” as it relates to oil exploration. However, this successful, well-developed process also works great to increase flow of well water. Hydro-fracking (or hydro-fracturing) can help homeowners greatly improve well water yield.

Hydro-fracturing involves using specialized high pressure pumps to inject water under high pressure into bedrock via the well. It involves lowering down into the well one or two inflatable hard rubber “sleeves” or “balloons”, technically called Packers. First, all pipes, wires and the pump need to be removed from the well. The packers are then inflated to seal off a section of the well. The packers are usually set a minimum of 40 feet below the end of the casing and 60 feet below ground surface.

Water is pumped at high pressure into the section of the well between the packers, or below the packer if only one is used. Most hydrofracturing equipment for private wells can provide between 500 and 2000 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure, sometimes up to 3,000 psi. Up to 50 gallons a minute is usually adequate as a pumping rate for adding water into the well. The water pressure within the sealed-off section of the well will rise as the surrounding rocks resist the flow of water out of the well.

A sign of successful hydrofracturing is a sudden drop in the pressure indicating that the surrounding rocks are accepting water. If more fissures have been opened there is often a strong backflow of turbid water when pumping into the well is stopped. 

The cost for single packer hydrofracturing is usually less than when a double packer system is used. A double system allows for a selected zone in the well to be pressured by inflating both packers. The packers are usually first set near the bottom of the well and then moved up to another section. Selection of the zones to pressurize may be made from information on the well drillers log or from a down-hole camera survey.

Are you not getting enough water?

Hydro-fracking may be an option to improve your water supply to your well. CONTACT US today with questions and to discuss options.