Purdue University Graduate School
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Prototyping a Well-Driver PUP (Purdue Utility Project) to Install Low-Cost Driven Water Wells

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posted on 2019-06-11, 16:07 authored by Zackariah J HornZackariah J Horn

People living in developing countries or undeveloped regions often do not have proper access to quantities of safe, clean water to fulfill their daily needs. Certain members of the families, often women and children, walk miles every day to collect surface waters that are frequently contaminated. To improve water availability and quality, a sustainable mechanical solution to more safely access groundwater has been developed.

A well-driving attachment for a PUP (Purdue Utility Project) vehicle provides a low-cost means for installing driven type wells in areas of high to medium water table heights. PUP vehicles have a niche in developing countries, as they offer impressive value and utility in comparison to other powered machines. The vehicles are built and sourced using locally available materials with basic tooling. A hydraulic post driver has been attached to the rear of a PUP frame to serve as an impact mechanism, driving a well point and a series of inter-connecting pipes to serve as a permanent casing for the well.

Water wells were tested at four different test sites around central Indiana, with the deepest well reaching 23 feet. This suggests that the Well-Driver PUP can install driven water wells in areas of medium to high water tables and may be suitable for a development setting. Water wells can be installed on a communal basis, thus providing an increased level of hygiene and standards of living. Low-cost driven water wells will provide a drinking water supply that is better protected than a hand-dug well and will reduce the likelihood of disease caused by waterborne pathogens. Development of the Well-Driver PUP prototype and its applications will be discussed.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering


  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Robert Stwalley III

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. John Lumkes

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Vincent Bralts

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