It sounds like a more exotic place than it is. If “exotic” can be applied at all to a collection of 300 or so homes strung haphazardly alongside a highway outside of Poptun, Guatemala. If “homes” can be used to describe a shack with a few pieces of plywood and plastic or tarpaper, a dirt floor and no running anything except the dogs and a few chickens.
Into this place rolled our donated 1942 GMC military 6×6, with the Bucyrus Erie 22W and Gary Bartholomew at the wheel to the spot designated by the mayor of Poptun. He had chosen the location to be near a school which was being constructed but which lacked any sort of sanitary facilities. Gary had taken a quick peak into the outhouse that served the school grounds and found the ground water level was about 4 feet down. The surface seal and the casing would be critical to this well.
The work began immediately, placing timbers under the rig and placing the guy wires for the mast. The rig was started and with Brian Bott, a volunteer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Gary started the familiar process of beating a hole into the earth. Almost immediately there were curious people present smiling shyly but wanting their picture taken. The mayor had provided a water truck and 2 or 3 men were always present to remove the bailed muck in order to keep the area from becoming too muddy. The mayor also provided the necessary guards every night. The security of the rig is always a concern.
Static water level was 4 ft as the drill went down. At first the progress was slow, but soon the rig was making the expected 30- 35 ft per day. The well was cased with steel to 120 ft and then then drilled to 320 ft through the familiar creviced rock. PVC liner was placed to 320 and a pumpset. A test pumping showed 82 gpm with a drop in static level to about 12 ft and then holding there for 25,000 gpm.
With time for this visit growing short and the impending birth of a grandchild at home in Spokane, Gary and Brian drove the rig back to the ICAP campus. The rig was prepared as much as possible for storage through the hot humid summer before another season of drilling in the villages of the savannah lands of NE Guatemala.
If you would like to help us, please contact Gary or Lynn Bartholomew at 509 466 5085