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What do Well Drillers do?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Well drillers are professionals who handle the process of drilling holes that can be developed into various types of wells. A well driller may be contracted to drill at a given location in order to tap into a supply of groundwater, or as a means of extracting petroleum or natural gas from an underground chamber. In some cases, a well driller works with an existing well that has apparently ceased to function properly.

The drilling of water wells is not uncommon on ranches, farms, and sometimes even in small towns or communities. With this application, the drilling specialist is hoping to tap into a water supply that is not currently being utilized. Today, sonar equipment is often used to identify the position of underground water reserves, making it much easier for well drillers to determine the most beneficial location for the well to be drilled or sunk.

While well diggers once functioned mainly by digging wells manually, that is no longer the case. Well driller jobs today often include training on the use of heavy drilling equipment that can be moved into position and used to drill a straight shaft into the ground. The use of heavy equipment also makes it possible to create wells that are more narrow than wells dug by hand, which is sometimes considered an excellent safety measure.

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In terms of training, many well drillers are required to have completed a basic general education, as well as be certified in the use of the equipment involved in the trade. Many drillers today are also certified contractors. However, there are still drillers who learn the trade by apprenticing with an established driller, eventually taking over the existing business or moving out to establish a new drilling business.

As with many professions, well drillers are usually required to be licensed and bonded before they can offer their services to the general public. Since the early years of the 20th century, national and local associations have emerged in many countries, making it possible for well drillers to establish standards for their profession and also create training programs that help to ensure the proficiency of people entering the field.

There are well drillers who specialize in dealing with existing wells that appear to have dried up. Often, the driller is called upon to deepen the well in hopes of finding another underground vein of water, gas, or petroleum. By employing longer drill shafts, it is possible to break through the bottom of the existing well and hopefully tap into new resources that allow the old well to continue functioning.

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