Project of the Week 10/15/14, Vinings (Atlanta) Well Upgrade

In Atlanta, Municipal water rates have gone up 47% in a 3-year period.

This huge jump in prices, along with the continuing water wars between Georgia and its neighbors and periodic droughts, leave customers not only paying more than just about anyone in the nation to water their yards, it also threatens their ability to water when their landscapes need it most.

In most cases, the client already has an existing irrigation system that is designed to city water volume and pressure- often 35 gpm or more per zone, with between 10 and 30 zones running an average of 20 minutes each, but an average system is about 20 gpm and under 20 zones,and operates 2x per week to supplement rainfall. If you had a calculator handy, you’d know that was about 9,500 gallons per 6 1/2 hour event, and not very many drilled wells are able to produce that volume for such a sustained period of time.

When we are asked to engineer a private water system to run such a system, we often have to set a large pump at 600+ feet deep and either add storage tanks or make sure the irrigation clock has rest periods to make up for the deficit, sometimes even asking the irrigation contractor to renozzle his irrigation heads or replace high-volume heads with matched-precipitation heads to reduce demand. So long as everyone involved- the client, the driller, and the irrigation contractor- have a clear understanding of how we can all work together, we can usually create a system that will allow the landscape to flourish while keeping the city water meter shut off.

These are BIG wells, and they cost a LOT of money to build. Unfortunately, some homeowners go “cheap” when they get the well built, as with this Vinings water system, built by a driller from the Middle part of Georgia.

This messy and un-serviceable water system needed a little TLC

This messy and un-serviceable water system needed a little TLC

    • View flow was not sufficient to remove sand on this system, causing the sand that was being pumped out of the well to continually damage and clog up irrigation components, not to mention the fact that it was not on an autoflush, so the client had to get under the fake rock continually to service the filter.
    • Controller was mounted on a piece of wood driven into the ground, which had been eaten up with termites and fallen over.
    • They had used Dekorra insulated pouches- excellent products when applied correctly, but when put over the control box’s fan, smother the system and cause premature failure.
MWD to the Rescue with All the Right Stuff!

MWD to the Rescue with All the Right Stuff!

  • No test tap on the well head, and an inoperable dry gauge so you could not tell the system operating pressure.
  • No surge suppression system to protect the control box from damage due to power interruptions and spikes.
  • Not even a service disconnect at the well head!
  • Cheap galvanized steel components used at the well head (and presumably down the hole)


Even though we did not install the well, we were still happy to bring it up to our Certified Water System standards and bring them under the Lifetime Warranty protection of our Managed WellCare program.

Completed Upgrade Ready for a Lifetime of Trouble-Free Service!

Completed Upgrade Ready for a Lifetime of Trouble-Free Service!

This will have been the last control box this client ever buys!


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About the Author

Rob Miller

Rob's background in Environmental Horticulture and the green industry, as well as time working as a Legislative Aide and Private Property Rights Advocate at the Georgia General Assembly, informs his unique perspective on metro Atlanta water issues, as well as water and its management as a global issue.