This artesian well is located on the 400 block of 4th Ave East in downtown Olympia and is a 1.8 inch diameter well that flows at approximately 10 gpm. The well, which was constructed sometime between 1895 and 1915, is on a former railroad site according to the certificate of water right. During the hydro geological investigation the actual well-head was found approximately 40 feet south of where the existing above ground fountain or 'cistern' is currently located and is at a depth of 2.5 feet below the paved asphalt parking surface. Testing has confirmed that the water in this well is 2000 years old, and that the water source is 90 feet deep.
Nothing is known about who constructed the well or the exact date of its installation. Due to high water taxes in 1895 local business owners decided to drill their own water wells evidenced by early newspapers that cite the first successful well was constructed by Talcott Jewelers in April of 1895 followed by numerous other businesses; hence Olympia's "artesian legacy" and the drilling of over 90 artesian free flowing wells.
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Artesian wells are deep-drilled wells through which water is forced upward under pressure. The water in an artesian well flows from an aquifer, which is a layer of very porous rock or sediment, usually sandstone, capable of holding and transmitting large quantities of water. The geologic conditions necessary for an artesian well are an inclined aquifer sandwiched between impervious rock layers above and below that trap water in it. Water enters the exposed edge of the aquifer at a high elevation and percolates downward through interconnected pore spaces. The water held in these spaces is under pressure because of the weight of water in the portion of the aquifer above it. If a well is drilled from the land surface through the overlying impervious layer into the aquifer, this pressure will cause the water to rise in the well. In areas where the slope of the aquifer is great enough, pressure will drive the water above ground level in a spectacular, permanent fountain. Artesian springs can occur in similar fashion where faults or cracks in the overlying impervious layer allow water to flow upward. Water from an artesian well or spring is usually cold and free of organic contaminants, making it desirable for drinking. However, the presence of modern chemicals and pesticides is a constant concern and possibility.
In North America, the Dakota sandstone provides aquifers for an artesian system that underlies parts of the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and Saskatchewan and supplies great quantities of water to the dry Great Plains region. Many East Coast cities derive their water supplies from aquifers that are exposed along the edge of the Piedmont and dip downward toward the Atlantic coast.
The largest artesian system in the world underlies nearly all of east and South Australia. Other important artesian systems serve London, Paris, and East Algeria.
Entire cities have relied on giant underground aquifers to provide fresh, cold water when there are no above-ground rivers. In 1126, monks used a rod with a sharp end, called a bore, to penetrate a layer of impermeable rock. Their percussive drilling, just hammering on the end of the bore, broke through with sheer human force. The water that rose had percolated through the pores of the rock, so that many contaminants have been filtered out, and it proved safer to drink than standing or river water.
Currently, if a town or residency needs water closer to the top of a mountain, they might lie above the line where there is enough pressure to push the water all the way to the surface. In this case, the aquifer can be accessed by drilling a relatively shallow well and then pumping the water up to ground level. Our well-drilling has progressed from hammers and bores, to machinery that twists a giant drill into the ground. Sometimes, if the pressure is especially strong, because the well is lower in elevation, the water might thrust up like a fountain, and form a geyser.
Because artesian water is about as pure as water gets, the pH level should appear somewhere in the "good" range. That means it's good for you, chemically.
A pH Definition:
pH is a chemistry term. But that doesn't mean it can't be understood! A pH number indicates how acidic or alkaline a solution (liquid that something else is dissolved in like Kool-Aid) is. In a pH definition, "pH" stands for "potential of hydrogen." The "H" is capitalized because the symbol for hydrogen is capital H.
The pH of your body and other substances can be checked with pH strips.
pH is balanced when the amounts of acidity and alkalinity are fairly equal - around 7 on the ph balance chart. Since acidic substances and alkaline substances have opposite qualities, when they're balanced in fairly equal amounts, they "neutralize" one another. The ideal pH of the body's internal environment is about 7.4.
Balanced nutrition goes far in attaining pH balance in our bodies. For instance, red meats, fats, and sugars create an acidic pH and fruits, vegetables, and whole grains create an alkaline pH. A pH of 7.0 indicates neutrality; a pH of less than 7 indicates acidity, and a pH of more than 7 indicates alkalinity.
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To log This Earthcache you will need to do five things:
1) Go to the well and fill a small container with water from the well at the coordinates above.
2) Take a picture at the site. Post this picture with your on-line log.
3) Get some litmus paper or pH strips. They can be purchased at most pharmacies and health food outlets. They normally come with a color chart that tells you what the results mean.
4) Compare the pH levels of the well water and white vinegar. Bear in mind, you will need to do both of these test at the same time. When the test strip dries, you will no longer be able to tell what the pH level is.
5) E-mail me the following information:
---A) The pH levels of your two samples.
---B) Which one is neutral, and is the other acidic, or alkaline?
Do NOT post the pH levels or the answers to the questions in your log, either in the clear, or encrypted.
As required for Earthcache listings, incomplete logs will be deleted. An incomplete log is one that does not include one or more photos posted (as described in #2 above) and an e-mail to me with correct answers to both of the questions above (in #5 above).