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Borewell drilling tool stuck inside well, Remedies? Hoshiarpur, Punjab

A borewell has been dug up to a depth of 260 ft at Rodmarja village, Hoshiarpur District in Punjab. The location is the basin of a river & estimated depth required is 400 ft. A reverse rig was used to drill the borewell. At 260 ft the toll has been broken & we have not been able to fish out the same even with special tools employed by the foreman. The drilling cannot go on further in the present condition. The foreman is advising to install pump at this depth & is guaranteeing full success of borewell.  We had about 25' sand & 35' sand gravel stone. the foreman says that in sand gravel stone there is plenty of water. Should we install pump at 260' depth? Water level in the area is 150 '.

Kindly suggest what can be done in the present situation. Is there any special method that can be used or does the well have to be abandoned?

Poonam Joshi




Dear Poonam,

As you are seeking a solution due to the problem encountered in the drilling and further drilling at the site is not possible anymore, it is better to test the yield from the borewell by conducting a pump test. Dealers of pump offer the service for a cost. Using the pump hired you can study the water availability in the borewell and decide whether to use the borewell or not. Presence of sand and gravel indicate better chances of availability of water.




Dear Poonam Joshi,

Water ever may be the estimated depth before you actually start drilling and the depth at which further drilling can be stopped is totally dependent on the actual conditions while drilling.

First is what is your water requirement, and secondly wether you can get that amount of water from the well at the present depth.

In your case further drilling is not possible or difficult as the tool seems to have broken and is stuck in the well preventing you from drilling further.

Ideal in this case is to test the well for its yield at this depth, naturally you may have to install a pump for this purpose.

Trying to fish out a broken tool in a gravel formation which is saturated may be extremely difficult and time consuming, and also financially does not seem to be a a good option.

The drilling foreman usually do have a good idea of the kind of water that would be available, and if he is confident I feel you should give up the idea of drilling deeper and just install the pump at the present level itself.

If you do require more water you could then think of drilling a second borewell to supplement the source.

Dr. Anil Lalwani
Well & Water Works


Dear Poonam Joshi,

The best option is to fish the drilling tool by special mechanism and professional driller. Fishing can be done easily. The other option is to convert this well as recharge well and new well may be constructed.

With regards,

D. Chakraborty
Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA)
New Delhi


Dear Poonam Joshi,

As suggested earlier, the area where you are drilling bore well is embedded with boulder and gravel bed. The best way in these terrains is to negotiate with percussion type of drilling rig or combination type of rig. As the hydrostatic pressure cum transmissibility of the aquifer is more and the formation posses boulders and gravels largely without any cementing clay or sand in certain zones, the other type of rig will cause problem while drilling.

Since you have informed that you have drilled down to 260 feet and at 260 feet the toll got broke, I presume that the drilling bit got detached from the drill stem or broke away from the stem.

This is due to tardy, solid heavy and high dense boulder occurring in the zone o r high dense tardy, quartz pebbles sliding / gliding/ surfing the zone.
If the drill stem or drill rod is broken then it is advisable to abandon the drilling. If only the bit is detached then employ the percussion type with large casing throughout and or try to hammer it down the hole. Once the bit move away from the verticality of the hole you can drill further and complete with percussion type with full casing.

Later on you can remove the mask casing and insert appropriate casing pipe with pebble at appropriate depths and develop the tube well. A combination type of rig is most advisable.

Drilling a new bore well may be a cheaper alternative than trying to take out the bit or drilling stem or rod, as the aquifer is high pressure bearing boulder / gravel bed. In case if you feel that the site is most auspicious then employ a driller who have experience in oil well drilling who can design special tool and take the bit out which is a costly exercise.

With best wishes,

A.Rajamohamed Ambalam
Coastal Energen Pvt. Ltd

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