“What’s That You Say About ‘Guaranteed Water’?”

Well construction is risky.

There are a whole host of things that can go wrong with the hole: muddy or sandy overburden requiring foam, shoring, or steel casing, vertical cracks in the bedrock just below the casing allowing surface water to contaminate the well, and weak rock formations allowing cave-ins, to name a few of the more troublesome ones.

This muddy mess required larger casing, additional shoring, and water remediation; all driving the construction costs well above the client's expectations.

This muddy mess required larger casing, additional shoring, and effluent treatment; all driving the construction costs well above the client’s expectations.

Water quality is also a huge concern: the geological formations through which the water is flowing into the well may bring with them undesirable dissolved solids, sand, mica, or in a couple of cases in an area around Northside Drive and Garmon Rd in Buckhead- something that looked like sheetrock mud which completely fowled the pumps!

Even if we are able to drill a good hole and the water in the hole is clean enough to be pumped and treated for use, the customer’s end use may be such that the combination of the static water level and the well yield may not be usable without hydrofracture or adding storage reservoirs, or maybe not at all… every driller occasionally drills a “dry” hole.

These are just some of the risks we face every day, and under traditional well construction contracts, the client pays and pays every time a new problem arises. Although when we do work under traditional well construction contracts, we try to help our clients budget for the project, it is really nearly impossible. You see, there is no such thing as a “normal” well; there is only “average”…

“Average” for a 2-bathroom home is about 300′ with a 1.5 Horse Power/ 10 Gallon Per Minute pump and a single media filter. About $10,000.

“Average” for a complete water system built to run an existing 18GPM lawn sprinkler system is about 500′ with a 5HP/ 25GPM pump. About $19,000.

But the numbers behind “Average” are where folks get into trouble: For either one of these cases, we’ve found more water than the client needed at less than 140′ just as often as we’ve drilled 800′ and hydrofracked. Every time we set up our rig, we are gambling: hoping for a big 140′ well, but expecting something deeper and more complicated. To put that into perspective: the chances of that irrigation well costing less than $10,000 are just as good as it costing $30,000, and the 2 bathroom home could just as easily be $3,000 or $15,000. All the variables add up to make it nearly impossible to budget for a well construction project.

Manage costs: we'll take the risk for you!

Manage costs: we’ll take the risk for you!

To offer our clients an option of mitigating that risk, we have developed a tiered pricing model for a turnkey system- a complete working well, “Plug-and-Play”, with an available Lifetime Parts and Labor warranty. Pricing is based upon the clients’ end use… a single 2-bath home or up to 9 individual connections; or an irrigation system up to 20 regular residential zones. We ask our clients to pay a deposit- that’s their “skin in the game”, and everything else is up to us: All the worries about the borehole, the usability of the water, and the quality of the equipment installed is “on us”. If we don’t deliver a usable system, the client doesn’t pay another penny. If we do, the client pays a set price, agreed upon at the beginning of the project. Although that price is a bit higher than “average”, it is certainly not “worst case”. It is fair when you consider we are taking the risk and offering our clients the opportunity to better budget for their water needs.

We absolutely lose money on some of these projects. In August, we did a job on Valley Road in Buckhead where we had to install 8″ casing because of overburden issues, had to drill 780′ because the well yield was so low, and still had to hire a hydrofacker to develop the well to meet our guarantee for usable water volume. That project lost over $4,000 compared to what we would have charged under a traditional “per-foot” contract. But jobs like that are made up for when we hit big water at 180 feet, like we did off Hwy 64 in Brasstown last week.
We are able to do this because we drill a LOT of wells. We spread the risk out over enough jobs that it works out in the end.

Our clients usually don’t have that luxury: they are working with a finite budget and this may be the only well they ever have drilled in their lifetime. Guaranteed Water offers them the peace of mind that they will not see any unexpected bills.

Just another way Miller Well Drilling helps our clients tap into the potential of their water!

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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.