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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Water Well Drillers (7373)

  • Read notes and e-mail about work-related topics from supervisors, engineers and co-workers. For example, they read instructions for job tasks on work orders. (1)
  • Read instructions for usage and handling on product labels. For example, they read instructions for using and storing disinfectants for water wells. When accidents occur, they may read about first aid treatments. (1)
  • Read memos from their organizations and agencies such as health and safety councils and workers compensation boards. For example, they may read memos about upcoming recertification seminars being offered by provincial ground water associations. They scan memos to learn about new procedures for setting up, maintaining and dismantling equipment. (2)
  • Read about new work procedures in trade publications. For example, they may read about new techniques for reconditioning wells in magazines such as the American Driller and about equipment maintenance tips in Canadian Ground Water Associations newsletter. (3)
  • Read well construction, safety and environmental codes, regulations and addenda. For example, they may read provincial water well regulations to determine requirements for abandoning water wells. (3)
  • Read about well construction methods in hydrogeological and water well construction reports. For example, they may read hydrogeological reports to learn about well casing requirements and grouting methods. They also note geological details such as overburden and bedrock materials. (3)
  • Read operating and training manuals. For example, they read operating manuals to learn how to maintain equipment and repair malfunctions such as fluctuating pressures on rotary drills. They read service and operating manuals in order to install and set up pumps, filters and other equipment. They read training manuals for geology, drilling systems and well construction to pass certification courses. (3)
Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notes and e-mail about work-related topics from supervisors, engineers and co-workers. For example, they read instructions for job tasks on work orders. (1)
  • Read instructions for usage and handling on product labels. For example, they read instructions for using and storing disinfectants for water wells. When accidents occur, they may read about first aid treatments. (1)
  • Read memos from their organizations and agencies such as health and safety councils and workers' compensation boards. For example, they may read memos about upcoming recertification seminars being offered by provincial ground water associations. They scan memos to learn about new procedures for setting up, maintaining and dismantling equipment. (2)
  • Read about new work procedures in trade publications. For example, they may read about new techniques for reconditioning wells in magazines such as the American Driller and about equipment maintenance tips in Canadian Ground Water Association's newsletter. (3)
  • Read well construction, safety and environmental codes, regulations and addenda. For example, they may read provincial water well regulations to determine requirements for abandoning water wells. (3)
  • Read about well construction methods in hydrogeological and water well construction reports. For example, they may read hydrogeological reports to learn about well casing requirements and grouting methods. They also note geological details such as overburden and bedrock materials. (3)
  • Read operating and training manuals. For example, they read operating manuals to learn how to maintain equipment and repair malfunctions such as fluctuating pressures on rotary drills. They read service and operating manuals in order to install and set up pumps, filters and other equipment. They read training manuals for geology, drilling systems and well construction to pass certification courses. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Scan signs and labels. For example, they locate part numbers, model types and other data on parts and product labels. They observe hazard warnings on equipment and container labels. (1)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, they find work locations and work order numbers in job lists. They find drilling speeds, air pressures, water flow settings, pipe sizes and clearances in specification tables. They locate part numbers, descriptions and quantities in material lists. They locate data such as well construction requirements, geological details and aquifer depths from tables in well records and hydrogeological reports. (2)
  • Locate data in work orders and tracking and quality control forms. For example, they locate job details such as well types, sizes, materials and equipment to use in work orders. (2)
  • Use troubleshooting, safety and maintenance flowcharts. For example, they use diagnostic flowcharts to troubleshoot the causes of reduced water flow from pumps. They locate procedures in safety flowcharts to manage job-site injuries. (2)
  • Complete work orders and tracking and quality control forms. For example, they fill out work orders to detail job progress, hours, materials and supplies used. They complete pump system inspection checklists to note that inspections were performed and to highlight any deficiencies. They complete well records to describe well locations, construction methods, overburden and bedrock materials, well yields, pumping rates and pump system details. Self-employed water well drillers fill in invoices and job quotes. (3)
  • Review assembly drawings to locate assembly sequences for well pumping systems. (3)
  • May review subdivision and property drawings to locate placements of proposed water wells and features such as septic beds, underground cables and pipes. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write brief notes and comments. For example, they write notes about low inventory and outstanding tasks in their personal logs. They write comments about unusual drilling situations and damages to properties on daily log sheets. (1)
  • Write descriptions and explanations on forms. For example, they describe safety concerns such as steep slopes and unstable ground and outline remedial actions taken on safety reporting forms. They describe accidents and incidents such as property damage on incident-accident forms. (2)
  • May write brief letters to customers about modifications to drilling projects. For example, self-employed water well drillers write letters and e-mail to customers to describe additional well construction requirements such as filters to prevent sand from entering domestic water systems. (2)
  • May prepare job quotes and proposals. For example, self-employed water well drillers write job proposals that describe well drilling jobs and propose drilling methods, equipment and systems. They set delivery and installation dates, describe equipment and service guarantees and outline maintenance requirements. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Calculate expense claims for travel to remote well sites and training events. They calculate expenses using per diem amounts for meals and per kilometre rates for the use of personal vehicles. (2)
  • May calculate amounts for job quotes and verify invoices. For example, self-employed water well drillers charge customers according to hours spent on jobs and depth drilled. They apply markups to equipment they have purchased and supplies they have used. They calculate discounts and taxes. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May schedule sequences of activities for well drilling and maintenance projects. For example, self-employed water well drillers establish timelines and staffing and equipment requirements for drilling projects. They set sequences of activities for small drilling crews. (3)
  • May create and monitor budgets. For example, self-employed water well drillers calculate annual budgets and monitor costs against budgeted amounts. They include costs of human resources, equipment purchases, maintenance, supplies and materials. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take measurements using rulers, tapes, gauges and graduated containers. For example, they confirm depths and diameters of holes, water levels and drilling depths. They place well and pump components by measuring depths, heights and widths. They measure material quantities to prepare solutions and mixtures. They identify operating levels of equipment such as shaft speeds and air pressures using digital displays and gauges. (1)
  • Set up and connect ohmmeters to test cables and splices when installing and repairing equipment such as submersible pumps. (2)
  • Set up and solve proportional calculations and determine quantities of ingredients for sanitizing solutions and mud and grouting mixtures. (2)
  • Calculate volumes. For example, they use well diameters and water depths to calculate volumes of water in wells. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare flow rates of wells and aquifers to customers' specifications to ensure that required water volumes are produced and maintained over time. (1)
  • Review equipment performance data in order to identify faulty and worn parts. For example, they compare variables such as pressure, amperage, speed and flow to specifications to identify components that need replacing and adjusting. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate aquifer depths in order to prepare job quotes. They consider factors such as geological formations and the depths of aquifers listed in well records and hydrogeological reports. (2)
  • May estimate times required for water well projects. They depend on experience with similar projects and geological formations, but unexpected difficulties such as difficult rock formations can affect drilling times. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Speak to parts and material suppliers. For example, they arrange deliveries of equipment and pump parts to drilling sites. Self-employed water well drillers negotiate prices and delivery times of materials and supplies such as mud, sand, well piping, pumps and safety fencing. (1)
  • Discuss ongoing work during jobsite and staff meetings. For example, during staff meetings they discuss current and upcoming jobs and receive instructions on new drilling practices and maintenance procedures. At the beginning of jobs, they discuss job tasks, regulations and jobsite safety with other members of their drilling crews. Self-employed drillers may lead staff meetings. (2)
  • May give instructions and provide directions to apprentices, junior well drillers and labourers. For example, water well drillers outline the selection and set-up of drilling equipment and give reasons for these choices. They give instructions and provide guidance to apprentices for operating equipment, preparing mud and grouting mixtures, drilling through difficult geological formations, and installing well pump systems. (3)
  • May provide their supervisors with updates on drilling projects and seek advice for handling uncommon workplace and drilling situations. They also discuss job assignments and receive instructions for well construction and equipment maintenance. (3)
  • May discuss well drilling jobs with customers. For example, they inform customers about drilling depths, geological formations encountered, and maintenance requirements. They also inform customers about broken well equipment and dry wells and discuss replacement options, and property damage and repairs. Self-employed water well drillers negotiate job costs and schedules with customers. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Face equipment breakages and malfunctions which reduce water flows at existing wells and prevent the drilling of new wells. For example, they may find that pumps are not working properly and customers' cisterns are running dry. They consult operating manuals for service and repair information. If necessary, they may arrange the lease and purchase of alternative equipment. (2)
  • Encounter hazardous drilling sites. For example, they find steep land slopes make stabilizing equipment difficult. They may speak with supervisors and other water well drillers for advice and suggestions on stabilizing the slope and the rig to ensure safe drilling. They may seek supervisors' approvals before they start drilling. (2)
  • Encounter dry holes when drilling. For example, they do not find water after drilling to depths where water would normally be found. They may discuss alternate well locations with supervisors and customers, review hydrogeological reports and ask for advice from hydrogeological engineers before continuing. They may employ the services of dowsers. (2)
  • Experience workplace accidents which result in injuries and fatalities. They inform supervisors, shut down equipment, assess injuries and administer first aid. If necessary, they may call emergency services to request medical advice and aid. (3)
Decision Making
  • Choose locations for wells. They consider how easy sites are to access, how far they are from septic drainage fields, buildings and roadways and how their elevations differ from points where the water is needed. They may ask customers and supervisors for approvals to drill in new locations. (2)
  • May select types of equipment to complete drilling and water well installations. They may be guided by specifications in hydrogeological reports but other factors such as mud losses, types of bedrock, customers' water requirements, cost and past experience are critical factors in equipment choices. They may seek customers' approvals before purchasing equipment such as pumps for water well. (2)
  • Select drilling methods and techniques. For example, they choose drilling muds and sands. They choose drill sizes and speeds, and choose to reduce drilling speeds and hole diameters when they think they are close to aquifers to avoid drilling past them. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • May judge the suitability of labourers and apprentices when hiring drilling crew and assigning tasks. They review the resumes and apprentice training plans when hiring. . They consider their personal observations of the performances of the workers they employ when assigning tasks. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of aquifers. They use criteria such as water clarity, yields per minute, static water levels and water recovery rates during and after pumping. In addition they consider the depths at which wells are drilled into rock beds and quality of the rock chips produced during drilling. (2)
  • Judge the safety of job sites. They inspect work sites using safety criteria such as proper clearances from hydro wires, adequate identification and containment of mechanical and chemical hazards, and proper placement and set-up of equipment. (2)
  • Judge the condition of drilling and water well equipment when completing daily vehicle inspections and performing general maintenance tasks. They inspect equipment visually and take measurements, which they compare to specifications to determine repair and maintenance requirements. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Water well drillers follow established drilling and well development procedures, with variations only in drilling sizes and time required to drill and develop water wells. They are assigned drilling jobs daily by supervisors and continue until they are completed. Self-employed water well drillers select and organize their own jobs but they have similar job task planning and organizing requirements. They are responsible for organizing their daily tasks. (2)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Water well drillers organize job tasks for labourers and apprentices. They may rotate job task assignments to maintain workers' skills. In addition, they may monitor apprentices' activities and assign tasks to meet their training and development requirements. (2)

Significant Use of Memory

Significant Use of Memory information was not collected for this profile.

Finding Information
  • Locate information about drilling and well construction jobs. They find information about initial drilling methods, mud mixtures, hole diameters and geological formations by reading well records, hydrogeological reports and by consulting supervisors and more experienced drillers. (2)
  • Find information about drilling and water well equipment by studying flowcharts, assembly drawings and operating manuals and speaking to other drillers. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May use communication software. For example, they may send and receive e-mail and attachments. (2)
  • May use Internet. For example, they may search for operating manuals, well records and troubleshooting procedures. They access articles from the Canadian Ground Water Association's web site. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Water well drillers are responsible for coordinating and integrating their job tasks with those carried out by other drillers, drilling labourers and apprentices. Some water well drillers work alone when operating cable drills. Self-employed water well drillers demonstrate procedures and assign tasks to other drillers, drilling labourers and apprentices. (2)

Continuous Learning

Water well drillers learn through their daily work experiences, by observing other drillers, speaking to hydrogeological engineers and reading industry publications such as American Driller and various newsletters from ground water associations. Certification and licensing requirements for water well drillers vary between provinces as do continuous learning activities. Most provincial ground water associations and some colleges offer certification programs and continuous learning opportunities. For example, they may participate in training for global positioning systems, well sanitation, pump testing and health and safety. (2)

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