After 25 years of unknowingly living with a dangerously deep hole in his backyard, Skyrattler resident Brian Day filled the 15-metre abandoned well on Saturday.
“I’m feeling pretty happy here,” Day said when the job was done.
“We no longer have a 50-foot hole in our backyard. When the concrete dries overnight we’ll be able to backfill, put some sod down and have our yard back, which means we can let the dog out and not have to worry about people falling in.”
It took about six cubic metres of concrete – but just several minutes – to fill the old water well.
“It actually gave me chills,” Day said. “It’s pretty impressive that a hole that big can be filled that quickly. It took about five or six minutes.”
Day made the startling discovery in late July when a small depression formed on his lawn in south Edmonton. The depth concerned Day and he planned to dig out the sod and refill it. But when he peered underneath the sod, it wasn’t dirt he saw.
“I saw dark… real dark, dark.”
Day called the city but said he was told that under provincial legislation, he would be responsible for filling it since the well was on his property.
The water well was drilled in 1928. While the province has a website showing where old wells are located, the map incorrectly suggests the well that was actually in Day’s yard was located northwest of his property.
While the developer should have been responsible for filling the hole, Day decided to pay for the well to be filled and was just grateful nobody was hurt before he discovered it.
“Literally, what was only holding us up was 35 years or 38 years of grass roots that were intertwined in the centre of that hole.”
Day credits Ray Field from Big Iron Drilling for encouraging him to go public with his experience.
“When you find a depression in your yard that forms unexpectedly, you really need to investigate and be careful around it because it could be another 50-foot well,” Day said. “Just because the site points it at a different location…it may in fact be at your house. This one was about 200 metres away on the map and, as it turns out, it was in our own backyard.”
Day admits his mysterious well became the talk of the neighbourhood and the talk of his workplace.
“I hope it becomes the talk of the city for the awareness portion,” he added.
“It could have happened to anybody. A lot of people don’t think about all those wells. If you go to that website, take a look at where all the wells are in Alberta. There’s literally hundreds of thousands of them and quite a few of them I think have been abandoned, not back filled.”
Meanwhile, Day and his family are going to enjoy their new – filled – yard.
“I think my wife’s going to be happy today.”